How tall was Ernest Borgnine

Ernest Borgnine's Height

5ft 9 ½ (176.5 cm)

American actor, best remembered for roles in films like The Wild Bunch, Marty, From Here to Eternity, The Poseidon Adventure, Johnny Guitar, Bad Day at Black Rock, The Flight of the Phoenix, Ice Station Zebra and The Revenger's. In his book he mentioned his height, saying that "Given my size - Five foot Nine and hefty".
My doctor gives me shots from a pregnant woman's urine - they're supposed to cut the cholesterol - and I drink a lot of water to flush out the body. I'm six feet and I weigh 210 [pounds]. That's about right. When I was making McHale's Navy, I got up to 265 [pounds].
-- November 1973

How tall is Ernest Borgnine
Photos by PR Photos

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Add a Comment98 comments

Average Guess (26 Votes)
5ft 9.14in (175.6cm)
Jtm said on 11/Aug/20
He looked clearly taller than clift(but then again I question his listing) to me and was significantly taller than Sinatra.
Arch Stanton said on 11/Aug/20
Borgnine was taller than Clift by about an inch I thought.
Sinclair said on 9/Aug/20
I recall Borgnine looked very similar in height to Montgomery Clift in From Here to Eternity, Borgnine could have been taller than Clift. I agree 100% with the 5’9.5” listing for Borgnine. Borgnine could look over 5’10” but I cannot see any reason why he would lie about being 5’9” when he could claim so much as 5’11” and possibly get away with it. I thought Borgnine seemed taller than both Spencer Tracy in Bad Day at Black Rock and Roddy McDowall in The Poseidon Adventure.
Arch Stanton said on 2/Jul/20
The thing is, why would he have claimed 5 ft 9 if there wasn't some truth to it. It seems unlikely it was a printing error. Maybe that was his height in later years and he was citing that, but it seems bizarre to claim both 5 ft 9 and 6 ft.
Editor Rob
Maybe at one stage in latter years he did get measured around that mark?
Arch Stanton said on 30/Jun/20
Click Here

Rob, what do you think he looks there with big Sterling Hayden? In Johnny Guitar he looked taller than that in comparison, he might have worn lifts at times. looks about 6 inches shorter there I think. The question is whether Sterling was 6'4 flat or taller, I thought he looked taller than a guy like John Wayne.

Click Here

That was at the age of 87 with Bruce Willis.

And at a similar age with Morgan Freeman Click Here

5'10 flat is believable in his 20s I think.
Editor Rob
5ft 10 at least with Sterling
Christian 6'5 3/8" said on 29/Aug/19
He's underlisted IMO.
Arch Stanton said on 28/Aug/19
I'm going with 5'10.5, he consistently looked 5'10-5-11 too many times. 5'10 flat is believable but he was just too big for 5'9 range.
Arch Stanton said on 28/Aug/19
Rising - 174 cm said on 5/Jul/18
Frank2 actually estimated Borgnine at 5'11". He could honestly look more 5'10"-5'11" range to me than 5'9".

And I estimated him at 5'10.5-5'11 in a lot of his 50s films. How could he claim both 6 ft and 5'9, that's extreme. Go with somewhere in between that, somewhere in 5 ft 10 range peak more accurate.
Rich Paul said on 30/Jun/19
Borgnine needs a height upgrade.

Click Here

Or Telly needs to have his height shaved a bit.
Jtm said on 7/Jul/18
i forgot to add the frank2 clone part or maybe that's his crazy brother lol.
Rising - 174 cm said on 5/Jul/18
Frank2 actually estimated Borgnine at 5'11". He could honestly look more 5'10"-5'11" range to me than 5'9".
Jtm said on 30/Jun/18
did that frank2 really convince that many people he was struggling with 5'9 even at peak? he made so many people looks clearly shorter than their listed height. the truth is he wasn't under 5'10 and would have been taller than russell crowe, brad pitt, and george clooney.
James said on 25/Nov/17
Hackman wasn't a full 6'2", and Borgnine was probably wearing lifts.
Anonymous said on 1/Sep/17
He looked around 5'10/ 5'11 next to Gene Hackman ( 6'2) in The poseidon adventure.
RisingForce said on 17/May/17
Clift probably was 5'9". He wouldn't be the first 5'9" actor to go with 5'10", maybe he and Borgnine should have switched claims! Though I think Borgnine was listed 5'11" in his heyday. Frank2, who thought Borgnine was 5'10"-11" and downplayed his height mentioned once that Borgnine claimed he was shorter than Clift, but they made him taller for the film, though I haven't seen the film in years.
James said on 30/Dec/16
Borgnine was 5'7" but wore lifts.
Shredder said on 12/Dec/16
This guy was taller than Monty Clift , Clift must have been 5'9 max
Sandy Cowell said on 11/Dec/16
Ernest was in one of my favourite 'Little House on the Prairie' episodes! He played an ethereal character who seems to have been sent by God to reason with 8-year-old Laura!
On the other, rather nastier end of the scale, he was in a frightening film called 'the Devil's Rain', which scared me senseless when I first saw it!
Ernest was a fantastic all-rounder, and I am not referring to his girth!
I will happily go along with 5ft9!
Arch Stanton said on 15/Oct/16
If you watch him in a few westerns he could not only look 5 ft 10 but a weak 5 ft 11 at times. He pulled off looking 180 with big Sterling Hayden in Johnny Guitar! Strange for him to claim 5 ft 9 flat!
jervis said on 24/Jul/16
Maybe he was just being honest about his height in an job full of height inflaters?
Tom said on 28/Jun/16
Either Brian Keith was a lot shorter than his official height of 6-1 or Borgnine was a lot taller than 5-9. Click Here
Tom said on 18/Jun/16
In this photo Borgnine is almost as tall as 6 foot Jack Elam and towers above Charles Bronson who some believe was 5-9. Click Here
Borgnine was at minimum 5-10 and probably 5-11. Why he claimed being only 5-9 is a mystery. He never looked 5-9.
Anthony the great said on 29/Apr/16
I saw him in R.E.D. Standing next to Bruce Willis who is a solid 6 feet ,definitely 3 inches shorter but the man was already 91. Ernest was probably 5,11 as a young man and 5,9 at this point
Tom said on 31/Mar/16
Borgnine looks like a solid 5-10 next to 6-1 Ray Milland and 6-2 Dean Jagger. Click Here
Tom said on 23/Mar/16
Take a look at the video of Borgnine winning his Oscar for Marty. He and Jerry Lewis appear to be the same height on stage. I think Borgnine was an honest 5-10.
Tom said on 22/Jan/16
Marvin was less than 6'2", so Borgnine was no more than 5'9".
Bandjoe said on 23/Aug/15
Usually when someone is 5'9.5 they round to 5'10, probably just a person not really concerned with height.
Arch Stanton said on 22/Jul/15
Borgnine had to have worn lifts in a good number of films, that's the only way we can explain him looking a weak 5 ft 11 at times! I think a strong 5 ft 9 is the best shout and 5'9.5 is the best guess.
Arch Stanton said on 22/Jul/15
Borgnine forgot his lifts in The Last Command, finally I caught him looking 5 ft 9 range with big Sterling Hayden! In Johnny Guitar the previous year he pulled off looking 5 ft 11 with him!
Tunman said on 7/Jun/15
he still looked only a flat 5'9 with Robert Ryan but yeah 5'9.5 is more likely the more I watch of him.Actually rather 5'10 unless Marvin is under 6'2.
In Marty he could push near 5'11.Possibly 5'10.5 but with 1" lift?
Anyways one of the very rare who downgraded themselves.
Steve said on 13/May/15
Borgnine was the same height as Glenn Ford in both Jubal and Torpedo Run. And no lifts on Borgnine. And yes, depending on Ford's posture, Borgnine did look slightly taller in some shots. But what surprised me was Borgnine being the same height as Bill Holden. And taller than Danny Thomas.
Arch Stanton said on 28/Apr/15
@Steve In some films actually you'd guess Borgnine about the same sort of height as Glenn Ford, if not a bit taller!
Arch Stanton said on 28/Apr/15
Agreed he could pull of looking in 5'10.5-5'11 a lot!! Can't explain it..
Steve said on 26/Apr/15
Check this out. Click Here

I believe it helps to prove Borgnine was at least 5'10" and could have been 5'11". He wasn't that much shorter than Cary Grant.
Steve said on 14/Apr/15
I was watching an old episide of Make Room for Danny starring Danny Thomas. Borgnine guested playing a policeman. What surprised me was Borgnine appeared about an inch taller than Thomas who was supposedly 5'10". Thomas was the same height as Dean Martin and Bob Hope. And an inch shorter than 5'11" Jack Albertson.

So could Borgnine have actually been 5'11" then played down his height?

In that episode of the old Danny Thomas Show, Borgnine doesn't seem to be wearing lifts. There's a full shot in it.

Very puzzling.
Arch Stanton said on 13/Feb/15
I agree on 5'8.5 for Brando, an inch on Sinatra in Guys and Dolls and about the same on Sophia Loren in Countess from Hong Kong.
Steve said on 12/Feb/15
Arch, Brando was 5'8 &1/2".
Arch Stanton said on 11/Feb/15
I think it's unlikely he'd say he was two inches shorter than he was, so 5'9" range is probably right, it doesn't explain how he pulled off looking 180cm a lot though...
Arch Stanton said on 11/Feb/15
Rob, this guy really baffles me. Check out 19 minute range with Mature!! Click Here
He could pull off looking near 5 ft 11 with guys like Mature, Bronson and Hayden! The biggest 5'9" guy I've seen put it that way. I don't know why he'd downgrade himself though!
[Editor Rob: anwyhere in 5ft 9-10 range I think could have been possible. It's possible he went with a measured height maybe after he'd dropped some, but you'd think he would talk about his height through his career.

It's like Dirk Bogarde - medical measured 5ft 8.5 but could look 5ft 9-9.5 a lot of the time.]
Arch Stanton said on 28/Jan/15
Rob did you check out some of his films? In Johnny Guitar he could pull off looking 5'11 with Sterling Hayden but I think they intentionally made Hayden look shorter in that movie. From Here to Eternity is a good one where he looked noticeably taller than Clift, but somebody said he wore lifts in that film.
[Editor Rob: I think he sometimes could give a bigger appearance than he was. Certainly I seen him in his old age and he was shorter than me.]
Arch Stanton said on 28/Jan/15
Haha if Glenn Ford was just 5'10 though Brando was no more than 5 ft 8!! Ford could look 5'10.5 with Sidney Poitier and a few others, I think 180 which is about 5'10.75 anyway is about right.
Arch Stanton said on 28/Jan/15
Rob do you have a photo to add too? 177 is a lot better than 175 anyway, he can look 180 in some of the westerns, but he wasn't really that tall.
Steve said on 15/Jan/15
I've watched Jubal closely. Borgnine appears to wear cowboy boots with low heels. No lifts. Yet he and Glenn Ford are the same height.

On the other hand, Ford did wear lifts. I've seen photos of him showing them. Somperhaps Ford was in reality only 5'10".
Arch Stanton said on 14/Jan/15
Perhaps he got measured at 5'9 in a medical in older years and just wrote that in the book? Aren't there are listings of him in the height books? There's really a wealth of comparisons to support 5'10.
Arch Stanton said on 14/Jan/15
Rob, what do we do about this one? I've always said he looked 5'10 and he had a good 2 inches on Spencer Tracy too and looked much taller in comparison to guys like Sterling and Ryan. He might have worn big heels in westerns to pull of 5'11 but I think he's be nearer 5 ft 10. Perhaps his book was written when he had lost a bit of height in older age? He consistently looks taller than this to the point it's really questionable.
[Editor Rob:
when I seen Ernest 5 years ago he was shorter than me, but then he wasn't walking well himself.
it's possible he was 5ft 9.5 range]
Arch Stanton said on 14/Jan/15
Borgnine looked 5'11 in the westerns and 5'10 in most others. Why would he downgrade himself though?
Sam said on 12/Jan/15
Borgnine could look 5'10" I thought more so than anything else. 5'9" is what he claimed though and I don't know why he'd downgrade himself really.
Steve said on 11/Jan/15
If Borgnine was only 5'9", then so was Bill Holden

Click Here

Click Here

Click Here

And if Borgnine was only 5'9" then Jack Elam was no more than 5'10" while Charles Bronson couldn't have been any more than 5'5"

Click Here
Steve said on 8/Jan/15
In The Dirty Dozen, Borgnine wasn't that short next to 6'4" Robert Ryan. If he had been merely 5'9" we'd have seen a bigger descepency. In the film he looks only four four to five inches shorter. Sometimes, not even that much.

Then there's this revealing photo showing him taller than 5'9" Jack Lemmon.

Click Here
jtm said on 8/Jan/15
he is probably one of few actors that was rounding down his height. nothing under 5'10 imo.
Arch Stanton said on 7/Jan/15
Borgnine looked 5'11 with Sterling Hayden in Johnny Guitar too Steve!!
Steve said on 7/Jan/15
I think Borgnine was taller than 5'9". He appeared as tall as 5'11" Glenn Ford in Jubal.

As for lifts, the only film I ever spotted him wearing them was in From Here to Eternity. They made him appear taller than Monty Clift. Other than that movie, I never saw lifts on the man.
David Miller said on 25/Nov/14
Borgnine wore lifts in Airwolf.
Vibram said on 21/Nov/14
Like Dirty Dozen days, he was 5ft10.25 even in the mid 80's Airwolf days when he was 65 or so. He had his 5'9 co-star JM Vincent by about 1.5' inches. Click Here

Did he downplay his height? Or was his own 5'9 admission in his book/autobiography (2009) due to his then current height at advanced age? (87 to 88 years during writing)??
John said on 20/Nov/14
Borgnine was 5'9" but he was notorious for wearing lifts.
Arch Stanton said on 1/Sep/14
@Ian he looked rather good in old age, more handsome actually grey with a tash as the detective in Convoy than he was in his younger years and had lost weight by then. I realized what a terrific actor he was after watching Marty.
Ian C. said on 25/Jul/14
Borgnine lived to be 95. I love that, as he was paunchy overweight. I'll bet he never ran a mile in his life, and ate whatever he wanted. When you watch any of the movies he made in the fifties and sixties you can marvel that he is destined to live longer than anyone else in the movie, including the handsome guys and beautiful women that he mostly supported.
Arch Stanton said on 9/Jul/14
He must have worn lifts a lot then! Clearly not the same height as Spencer Tracy or shorter than Monty Clift.
Arch Stanton said on 16/Jun/14
Rob can you add American actor, best remembered for roles in films like The Wild Bunch, Marty, From Here to Eternity, The Poseidon Adventure, Johnny Guitar, Bad Day at Black Rock, The Flight of the Phoenix, Ice Station Zebra and The Revengers. Can you at least upgrade him to 5'9.5"? There's no way he was shorter than Monty Clift in From here and looked a bit taller if anything but 177 would definitely be a nearer peak shout. He managed somehow to look 5'11" next to Sterling Hayden in Johnny Guitar but I think they did all they could to make Sterling seem shorter in that film.
[Editor Rob: he did claim this 5ft 9, maybe at times he wore lifts, or I guess he could have been a 5ft 9 and change guy and didn't bother with that part...]
Gonzalo said on 13/Jun/14
I see him more at 1`78
Arch Stanton said on 10/Jun/14
Rob he had an easy 2 inches on Spencer Tracy in Bad Day (although in cowboy boots I think) and was also taller than Monty Clift in From here. Did you really think he only looked 5 ft 9 peak? I think 5 ft 10 would be nearer. See 53:10 onwards Click Here briefly you can see he was quite a bit taller than Tracy. I think his 5 ft 9 claim might have been later on.
[Editor Rob: the 5ft 9 is what he had claimed, although he could of course have shrunk and be talking about a height in his 60's.]
Zediah said on 13/Mar/14
Borgnine was often listed as 5'11".
avi said on 14/Feb/14
@Arch Stanton

I think its a fair listing he was 5'8 by his death peak a strong 5'9. If you threw him next to Bea Arthur he'd be a quarter inch bigger tops. 5'9.5 is most he was I think.
Arch Stanton said on 30/Jan/14
Yeah like George Kennedy Borgnine was one of those overweight guys you'd have expected to die a good 30 years ago. Kennedy's still going and Borgnine only died 2 years back!
Arch Stanton said on 30/Jan/14
Somehow pulled off looking at least 5'10.5" -weak 5'11 sort of range next to Sterling Hayden in Johnny Guitar but they did make Hayden look a few inches shorter in that film. Superb actor, a war film in 1953 (From Here to Eternity), a western in 1954 (Johnny Guitar) a romantic drama (Marty) in 1955, he could play so many roles well!
Arch Stanton said on 14/Sep/13
Rob there's absolutely no way he was shorter than Montgomery Clift, quite the opposite. I doubt you'll look into it but if you have a moment the link is on the Clift page. His films need updating too, Marty was one of his biggest successes.
Arch Stanton said on 30/Aug/13
Rob I think you have him too low. I thought he was a bit taller than Clift in From Here to Eternity. He also looks near 5'10 in Marty. Maybe an upgrade to 5'9.5"?
FredSG said on 24/Aug/13
When I first read about his height and saw "1.75" I was very surprised. I always thought that he was taller than 1.75 ... Now I know it sure - I compared him to Terence Hill (1.83) in movie "Superfuzz" - they looked almost identical, when they stayed on straight floor. So now I think that he was minimally 1.80 (5'11) tall. But it's strange, that on alls pages about him is 1.75 :D
talker said on 11/Jun/13
Borgnine was around 5'11",i sent a "dirty dozen" photo to the editor a few years back where he towers over Charlie Bronson.Good actor.Charlie was 5'7".
Arch Stanton said on 10/Jun/13
I think he looked more 5 ft 10 next to Gene Hackman in Poseidon Adventure.
Knowitall said on 7/Mar/13
Borgnine was at least five ten. I think he downplayed his height. I read that he claimed Monty Clift was taller than him in From Here to Eternity so to make him appear bigger they used camera tricks. I see no evidence of this.

Also, Borgnine was the same height as both Glenn Ford ( five eleven) and William Holden (five eleven).

He towered over most of the cast of McHail's Navy.
Matt said on 4/Aug/12
So sad to hear that he passed away. 95 is a very long life though. I always thought he was taller than 5'9"...Maybe in his prime he was 5'10" ish.
YoYoMa said on 22/Sep/11
Just met Ernie a couple of months ago at a booksigning. I'm 5'8 1/2", and even at 94 or 95, Ernie's got a good inch on me. I say he's at or near 5'10". And yes, he's one of the nicest guys in show business.
The Horse of FUNK said on 5/Apr/11
I'm in agreement with most of the other posters here. I just can't believe this man was ONLY 5'9" for most of his life. I watched a couple of his movies recently, 'The Poseidon' and 'All Quiet on the Western Front', and this man easily looked bigger than 5'9", ESPECIALLY in Western Front. In fact, if one did not know any better, you would've figured Borgnine to be at LEAST 6' in Western Front.
Shadow2 said on 25/Dec/10
Ernie was about 5'10.5" in his movies in the 1950's, and still looked that during his McHale and Airwolf TV work. He did a Magnum PI in his 60's with (close to) 6'4" Tom Selleck, and in their confrontation scenes, didn't look short next to Selleck. Obviously through his 70's, 80's, and 90's he's now lost a lot of height. Ernie is regarded as one of the nicest people in show business!
RisingForce said on 24/May/09
yeah which is why he looked shorter though both of them were probably the same, 5-9.
Brad said on 24/May/09
Ernie didn't wear that boot that Kurt wore.
RisingForce said on 24/May/09
he does look 5-6, 5-7 there! i did get the impression that he was claiming his peak height as well. i always thought that he was more like 5-9 than 5-11. from what i remember in escape from new york, 5-9 kurt russell was taller than him.
RisingForce said on 24/May/09
the poster below is right. he did claim 5-9.

"Given my size
mike c said on 16/Feb/09
See Ed. Rob's pic. below: Borgnine was easily 2+ inches taller than 5'9" Lemmon.
RisingForce said on 31/Oct/08
I think he was shorter than Kurt Russell in Escape From New York but Kurt was in boots. I also believe that Kurt is a legit 5'10" as well.
glenn said on 31/Oct/08
read anonymous below.i read the same.5-11?
RisingForce said on 31/Oct/08
Looks a little taller than Glenn, when you consider his posture, he still looks around 5'9" now.
Yisraelee said on 11/Aug/08
In Airwolf, Borgnine clearly stands an inch taller than Jan Michael Vincent, yet Vincent is listed as 5'11! No way is Jan 5'11, more like 5'9" or 5' 10" the most?
Anonymous said on 27/Jul/08
Borgnine has a new autobiography out (called "Ernie"). In it, he described himself as "five-nine and stocky". This was done to show how his size tended to dictate the type of roles he was offered.

This also keeps in step with reports that he's a bit beneath that height now; not surprising given his age.
Ms. Sunshine said on 23/Aug/07
Met him in person-I'm 5'9" & he seemed to be an inch shorter than me.
Ken said on 23/Jan/07
While I was in the U.S. Navy and assigned to the U.S. Defense Attache Office at the American Embassy in Oslo, Norway.....Had pleasure to meet him when he and his wife came to the embassy to premire the SOS Posident Adventure in Norway at U.S. Embassy. Im six foot two and standing next to him, hard to realize how short he was. But, very polite and nice man..biggest smile in world...
Brad said on 18/Nov/06
My aunt edited shows at Universal. She said Borgnine was bombed most of the time doing McHales Navy. All that booze on McHale's Island was the real thing from Ventura Boulevard!
Anonymous said on 19/Sep/06
Borgnine always has been a fave, thought he was close to 5-11, sure. Watch him in 'From here to Eternity' for example near Sinatra etc.

[Editor Rob: saw this Chronicle Telegram 1969 quote:

"BORGNINE at 52 is a 5-foot-ll, 212- pounder with heavy brows", so he might have]
Clark said on 22/May/06
Borgnine had both knees replaced in 2000, I believe he has also had spinal surgery. It's no wonder he has lost so much height!
John said on 28/Apr/06
Someone please explain how one can lose so much height in a lifetime (>2"s).

[Editor Rob:

cartilage/spinal disc wear and tear - compressed, thinning, degenerative discs, bone density loss, microfractures, verterbrae fractures, doweger's humps...]
Frank2 said on 21/Mar/06
Here's Borgnine with Cliff Robertson: Click Here
They look about the same height.
Here's a shot from The Wild Bunch where Borgnine is right next to Bill Holden: Click Here
And another one: Click Here
From The Poseidon Adventure: Click Here
Glenn said on 4/Mar/06
wow.your are right on bronson being 5-7.never met friends did.
Frank2 said on 3/Mar/06
I once had the pleasure of dinning with Borgnine and his previous wife (before Tova) in Las Vegas at a charity event sponsored by the Friar's Club. Back then Ernie was my height which is five-eleven. I really enjoyed his company. Charles Bronson was around five-seven and wore one shoe with a higher heel which compensated for having had one leg shorter than the other. Whether he was born that way or got it through an injury is something I don't know. But I did notice the difference in his shoes the two times that I saw him in person. Once was at The Golden Boot Awards and the other was at some black tie charity event.
talker said on 4/Oct/05
Go to Bronson page and see"vera cruz" photo of him standing next to 5'7"Bronson.He is at least 3-4 inches is listing him shorter(!!!)than Bronson.
Mr. Klaus said on 2/Aug/05
Yeah I agree with Talker, this guy was in his heyday close to 5 ft 11, in the most of his movie's he is (a lot) taller than his co-stars. He looks 3 or 4 inches taller than Frank Sinatra.
talker said on 12/Jul/05
When young,Borgnine must have been around 5'11" i think.I have a photo of him standing next to Charles Bronson from the movie "Vera Cruz" where he looks about 4 inches taller than Bronson.I think Bronson was about 5'7''then.The difference in height between them is huge in this photo and its funny that he is listed usually as shorter than Bronson!!!!
GPM said on 12/Jul/05
Did you see, "From Here To Eternity," Ernest Borgnine looked about four inches taller than Frank Sinatra, and Sinatra is listed at 5'8-1/2". What did he wear lifts, or is Sinatra that short?

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