Excerpt: 'Ernie: The Autobiography'

Chapter One

In the Beginning . . .

One day in October 1950, while going from audition to audition, trying unsuccessfully to find a job, I was walking along Tenth Avenue grumbling to myself, "Dummy, why did you ever get into this business? You only work once a month, at best, because according to agents, 'People don't want to see your particular mug too much.'"

Well, I did not believe that. Movies were more than just pretty boys and leading men. Jimmy Cagney was not pretty. Neither was Eddie Robinson.

But I had a family and I needed work badly. If I couldn't find it in movies or on the stage, I'd have to find it somewhere else. As the horns of boats on the Hudson River reached my ears, I imagined myself working on a tug or loading cargo or just fishing for our dinner.

Suddenly I smelled hot chestnuts. Some vendor on the corner was selling them. It reminded me of my mother. When I was a youngster, she'd cut chestnuts, put them in a pan on top of the stove, and let them roast. The whole house would become permeated with that smell. It was wonderful. So I walked a little closer, not to buy any, because I didn't have any money, but just to smell.

Well, as fate would have it—and trust me, luck plays a big part in the life of any successful person—I saw a sign on that vendor's cart that became my philosophy. The sign read, "I don't want to set the world on fire, I just want to keep my nuts warm."

In other words, don't plan big. Go from step to step to step—forward. If you've got talent and perseverance, and fate is willing to lend an occasional hand, the rest will take care of itself.

Copyright © 2008 Ernest Borgnine

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means without the prior written consent of the publisher, excepting brief quotes used in reviews.

All Kensington titles, imprints, and distributed lines are available at special quantity discounts for bulk purchases for sales promotions, premiums, fund-raising, educational, or institutional use. Special book excerpts or customized printings can also be created to fit specific needs. For details, write or phone the office of the Kensington special sales manager: Kensington Publishing Corp., 850 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10022, attn: Special Sales Department; phone: 1-800-221-2647.

CITADEL PRESS and the Citadel logo are Reg. U.S. Pat. & TM Off.

-- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 5557845. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 5557845. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 5557845. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 5557845. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 5557845. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 5557845.
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston stopped a would be smuggler from bringing nearly 7 ounces of cocaine into the country in tamales, Aug. 22, 2014.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Real Housewife Phaedra Parks Lists Home in Suburban Atlanta
Real Housewives of Atlanta star, Phaedra Parks, has listed her 4,000-square-foot home with 5 bedrooms and 6 baths for $340,900.
In this image from video posted on Facebook, courtesy of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, former President George W. Bush participates in the ice bucket challenge with the help of his wife, Laura Bush, in Kennebunkport, Maine.
(Courtesy George W. Bush Presidential Center/AP)
Photo: While being a stay-at-home parent can beneficial, transitioning to a single income family can be difficult.
Lina Aidukaite/Getty Images