As a pilot, he flew B-17s and B-24s over France and Germany, completing 30 bombing missions, one with Colonel James Stewart. Upon discharge, Ernie attended the Pasadena Playhouse for three years, before returning to New York and Equity roles in The Corn is Green, Pal Joey, and the lead in The Respectful Prostitute. (Of the former, Brooks Atkinson of the New York Times wrote: "...Ernest Gardetto again performing nobly as the gloomy and intense character that is always in the process of development.")
Turning to television, Ernie appeared in over 200 shows, among them The Phil Silvers Show, Jackie Gleason, Theatre Guild, Studio One, Hallmark Hall of Fame, Philco Playhouse, Omnibus, and Kraft Playhouse.
After working in Army Signal
Corps training films in Astoria, Queens, he returned to Los Angeles, appearing
in TV commercials and as a teacher of English as a Second Language - finally
returning to his first love, the warm feeling of live theatre, as a Colony