I always liked old Ernie! In fact he and my Dad were almost look alikes. Broad nose, split tooth and all. My Dad grew up in So. Chicago in the 20-30's not a great time to be a kid ...school of hard knocks and all... He served in WWII as a B17 pilot from 19-21 years old, outside of the alcohol he drank back then he was in great shape (based on old photos) until the plentiful years of the 70-80's when he was eating to much of the SAD of the times. PErhaps he thought he was due... as much as the medical knowledge of the times was stirring us wrong. In the end he had a big gut, but always worked hard everyday and died 2 weeks after complaining of arm pain after painting his house at 74!
So I think old Ernie falls into that group (age wise born 1917) he was born to Italian parents, so may have a a varied meal growing up but who knows back then. All in all I think many of that generation had things going well for them and then life caught up.. when things get good we all tend to spluge abit aye?
(Info on Ernest Borgnine gained via Wikipedia)
Living the dream, inside a myth