What’s the most commonly referenced “what were they thinking?” Hollywood marriage? The tempestuous five-and-a-half week union between Ernest Borgnine and Ethel Merman, right? Married in Beverly Hills on 6.27.64, separated on 8.7.64.

Merman’s career as a Broadway belter and occasional Hollywood musical costar had surged in the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s, but in ’64 (when Merman was 56 and Borgnine was 47) things had begun to wind down for her, and one of the differences she reportedly had with Borgnine was that he, star of ABC’s McHale’s Navy hit series, was better known than she was. Their time together “was mostly spent hurling profane insults at each other, and both would later admit that the marriage was a colossal mistake,” according to one account.

Borgnine and Merman’s matrimonial calamity had a great run in the public mind (55 and 1/2 years) but the reign is over. Because they’ve just had their asses handed to them by producer Jon Peters and actress and personality Pamela Anderson.

On or about 1.21 Peters and Anderson were quietly (and somewhat impulsively) married in Malibu, and 12 days later (2.1.20) they announced their separation. Or Anderson has, I should say.

This means at least one of them has a tempestuous personality, and is possibly a wackjob. Maybe both. I’m guessing it was Anderson who called it off, and probably over monetary issues. Sustaining a marriage is hard but these guys obviously didn’t even try. Breaking up is relatively easy if you’ve a mind to go there.

Anderson statement: “I have been moved by the warm reception to Jon and my union. We would be very grateful for your support as we take some time apart to re-evaluate what we want from life and from one another. Life is a journey and love is a process. With that universal truth in mind, we have mutually decided to put off the formalization of our marriage certificate and put our faith in the process. Thank you for respecting our privacy.”

Likely translation: “Spiritual communion is all well and good, but money and security are bottom-line concerns, and I thought…well, I’d rather not say anything more at this time.”