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1956: Lancaster flips for ‘Marty’

Hollywood celebrates the little film that could

GOOD MORNING and congratulations Oscar (and Daily Variety poll) winners … Nomination for the most excited man in the theatre went to Burt Lancaster who nearly did a full flip each time a “Marty” winner was announced. Kim Novak, who made one of the last of the grand entrances, would have won the cleavage award if there was one … Most emotional winner was Ernest Borgnine, who thanked his mother, father and lovely wife for their support of his acting career. And on the next morning (March 23): “Marty’s” Party: H-L (Hecht-Lancaster) coulda won another award Wednesday night for the best party of the season. Their Crystal Room-Beverly Hills Hotel post-Academy romp was something a Bronx butcher dreams about. Even Bernie Richards augmented his combo from three to eight musicians. Jack Benny didn’t waste any time when dancing with Kim Novak … Borgnine was so happy, he was even dancing the rumba with his mother-in-law. Mr. B. has a piece of “Marty.” That, it seems, must be a choice cut … (2007 Update: Ernie is now savoring the success of his performance in Hallmark’s “A Grandpa For Christmas” which garnered him a Golden Globe nomination (he won a Globe for “Marty”). He will be 91 Jan. 24 and tells me “The minute the Writers Guild strike is over, I’m going back to work. I’m now again ‘Mr. Borgnine’.” He now tells me he never got “a piece” of “Marty.” “I got a seven-year contract with H-L and they wanted to put me in small parts — one of them was in ‘Sweet Smell of Success’ with Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis. I refused and took a suspension — and paid them off — to get out of my contract. All I got for ‘Marty’ was $5,000.” He’s writing his autobiography for release (by Kensington) in October. The title: “I Don’t Want To Set The World On Fire — I Just Want To Keep My Nuts Warm.” The title, he laughs, is inspired by his own life, standing in front of a chestnut vendor on Fifth Avenue on a cold, wintry, hungry day 50 years ago.)

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