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Ernest Borgnine edges out George Clooney and other 'ER' returning regulars for guest actor Emmy nod

July 17, 2009 | 11:06 am

The official Emmy ballot listed 118 guest drama actors and voters were instructed that they could check off up to 10 names in each category. Three of the returning regulars of "ER" – George Clooney, Eriq La Salle and Noah Wyle – put themselves in the running for guest actor. Anthony Edwards – who appeared in an emotional flashback – decided not to toss his name into the mix. None of them made the cut, edged out by 92-year-old Oscar winner Ernest Borgnine ("Marty") who appeared on two episodes of the final season of the medical drama. 

Ernest Borgnine Emmy Awards ER Ernest Borgnine is the 21st performer to nab a guest acting nod for an appearance on "ER." He appeared in both Episode 19 – "Old Times" – as well as the series finale – "And in the End" – as a loving husband dealing with the death of his wife (Beverly Polcyn) after a long illness.

Over the first 14 seasons, 13 actors – including last year's nominee Stanley Tucci – have earned Emmy noms for guesting. Ray Liotta was the only winner among the group for his stunning 2005 portrayal of the last hours of the life of an alcoholic. And among the seven actresses to contend for their guest spots, only Sally Field won in 2001 for the first of her two nods as the bipolar mother of Maura Tierney.

All 20 of these past nominees – including bids by such luminaries as Alan Alda, Red Buttons, Don Cheadle, Swoosie Kurtz, Mary McDonnell, Ewan McGregor, Bob Newhart, Forest Whitaker, James Woods and George Clooney's real-life aunt, crooner Rosemary Clooney – are profiled in a photo gallery created for The Envelope by Paul Sheehan.

Ernest Borgnine won his only Oscar bid as best actor in best pic winner "Marty" in 1955. He also won the Golden Globe (drama) award as well as the BAFTA foreign actor honor for that role. However, he lost his previous two Emmy bids. In 1963, he got a nod in the expansive lead actor in a series category for the laffer "McHale's Navy" but lost to E.G. Marshall, star of the legal drama "The Defenders." And in 1980, Borgnine was bested in his bid for best supporting actor in a limited series or special for "All Quiet on the Western Front" by George Grizzard in "The Oldest Living Graduate."

Borgnine's competition in the guest actor drama race are all Emmy winners. Edward Asner picked up his 17th Emmy bid for an appearance on "CSI: NY." Asner already owns 7 Emmys won across 4 categories. Ted Danson earned his 14th Emmy nod for "Damages." He won two of his 11 consecutive lead actor bids for "Cheers." Michael J. Fox contended in this category in 2006 for a guest spot on "Boston Legal" (he lost to Christian Clemenson on that same show) and returns to the race with his recurring role on "Rescue Me." Of his nine other Emmy nods, Fox won three consecutive lead actor awards for "Family Ties" in the 1980s and another for his final season on "Spin City" in 2000. And Jimmy Smits reaped his 12th Emmy bid for his recurring role on "Dexter." He won his only Emmy for the fourth of his six consecutive supporting bids for "LA Law" in 1990.

Photo: NBC

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