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Timeline and Marriages of Ernest Borgnine

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Ernest Borgnine's First Wife -- Rhoda Kemins (1949-1958)
Ernest Borgnine and Rhoda Kemins

Ernest Borgnine and his wife Rhoda Kemins at a movie premier in 1957.

Photo: Darlene Hammond / Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Born:

Rhoda Kemins: Abt. 1925.

When Rhoda and Ernie Met:

Ernie and Rhoda met while serving in the Navy.
Ernie: "When I hit Penn Station, I wasn't alone. I had a wife. Her name was Rhoda Kemins and she was a Navy Wave and a hospital corpswoman. She made an impression on me in 1945 when I was in the naval hospital with a cyst on my backside. And I made an impression on her ... We carried on a long-distance romance for four years. Finally, when I decided to try my luck on Broadway, we tied the knot."
Source: Ernest Borgnine. Ernie: The Autobiography. 2009. pg. 61. [Paperback]

Wedding Date:

Ernie and Rhoda were married on September 2, 1949.

Children:

  • Nancee Allison Borgnine: Born in 1952. She is a producer and casting director.

Divorce:

Rhoda and Ernie were divorced on August 26, 1958.
"She [Rhoda] charged cruelty, and the Academy Award winner did not contest her suit."
Source: "Ernest Borgnine Divorce Costly." Fitchburg Sentinel. 8/27/1958. pg. 10.
Rhoda: "He didn't know a woman never forgets getting beat up -- lips swollen, eye blackened' ... These words from Mrs. Rhoda K. Borgnine came as a bombshell to film actor Ernest Borgnine, and his fiance, actress Katy Jurado, yesterday. They were included in an affidavit in which Mrs. Borgnine asked a superior court judge to set aside a divorce decree she had obtained last August on the grounds it was obtained by fraud."
Source: "Mrs. Ernest Borgnine Fights Divorce -- Levels Charges." The Lowell Sun. 6/13/1959.
Ernie: "As far as our marriage is concerned, we were not happy for a long time prior to our separation and divorce. Miss Jurado, despite Mrs. Borgnine's innuendoes, had nothing to do with our divorce."
Source: "Mrs. Ernest Borgnine Fights Divorce -- Levels Charges." The Lowell Sun. 6/13/1959.

Other Marriages:

Rhoda later married Charles Sonne in 1965.

Quotations About the Marriage of Rhoda and Ernie Borgnine:

Ernie: "My present wife (Tova) will tell you that I've never got married to get divorced. Ever. Because I've always figured that you come home, you've got your kids, you're home and, hey, you have your dinner, you play with the kids, you do everything, like an ordinary human being. That's all we are. But somehow or other, my first wife, before we were married, we were living from hand to mouth practically and everything was wonderful. But when I got the Academy Award, she was the one to put on the dark glasses. And it was all right, but after a while it got to the point where you could hardly live with it, you know. So that was it."
Source: April MacIntyre. "Ernest Borgnine guests on Turner Classic Movies Jan. 26." MonstersandCritics.com. 1/18/2009.

Ernie: "My mother said she was a fine girl, so I married her."
Source: Suzanne Adelson. "With His Fifth Marriage, Ernest Borgnine Finally Has a Face-Saver: Wife Tove." People.com. 8/17/1981.

Ernie: "I met her [Rhoda] when I was in the hospital during the war. She was a pharmacist's mate and she took such good care of me that I figured I'd better marry her. And she has taken good care of me ever since."
Source: Bob Thomas. "Oscar Winner Said Man of True Humility." San Mateo Times. 3/27/1956. pg. 19.

Ernest Borgnine's Marriages

  • Ernie Borgnine and Rhoda Kemins
  • Ernie Borgnine and Katy Jurado
  • Ernie Borgnine and Ethel Merman
  • Ernie Borgnine and Donna Rancourt
  • Ernie Borgnine and Tova Traesnaes
  • Suggested Reading

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