May 18, 2008

Did You Know?

In the wild and wacky world of Hollywood marriages, most matches come with an expiration date - and this was true even, or especially, decades ago, when the pretty and privileged denizens of Tinseltown first began to intermingle romantically. Perhaps the oddest example of Movieland amore, though, was the 32-day nuptials of brassy Broadway star Ethel Merman and Oscar-winning actor Ernest Borgnine, who garnered Academy gold for his portrayal of lonely, titular bachelor in the 1955 film Marty, whom the character himself deems a 'fat, ugly man'.

Despite her brief foray into film in the 1940s, her immense status on the stage, and a strong fan following, Merman's celebrity was more or less restricted to American audiences, while Borgnine's film career and his role in the popular television series "McHale's Navy" afforded him a much broader geographic appeal. According to a 2007 interview with Borgnine, it was this disparity that soured Merman to the marriage after just a few short weeks. The couple divorced in July, 1964, after barely a month of marriage.

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