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Robert Osborne Has Died - R.I.P.

Posted: March 6th, 2017, 2:14 pm
by Vecchiolarry
Dear Friends and Fellow Classic Movie Fans,

I have just heard that Robert Osborne has died.

He certainly was our leader in the knowledge of classic films and their stars.
For a while now, he has been missing from the TCM programming and the Film Festival; and I think we all knew, but didn't want to believe that he was seriously ill.
I hope he died peacefully; and along with you all, I wish him R.I.P.


Re: Robert Osborne Has Died - R.I.P.

Posted: March 6th, 2017, 3:35 pm
by Lomm
Saw this a few minutes ago and thought of you, my classic movie friends. I was not terribly familiar with him but I know he was beloved. RIP

Re: Robert Osborne Has Died - R.I.P.

Posted: March 6th, 2017, 4:32 pm
by moira finnie
For those of us who knew him on TCM or had a chance to meet him in person, he was a gentle man, a scholar and a little bit of a scamp. Thank you, Mr. O., for educating us about our vibrant heritage. My condolences to all his friends and family members.

Below is the full obituary for Mr. O. from his former employers at The Hollywood Reporter followed by a video posted by Turner Classic Movies this afternoon in tribute to their 23 year host (please click on the image to see the video): ... -84-727070
Robert Osborne, the former columnist for The Hollywood Reporter who as the genial and scholarly host of Turner Classic Movies became a beloved icon to a legion of groupies with gray hair, died Monday in New York, the cable network announced. He was 84.

David Staller, his longtime partner, told The Hollywood Reporter that Osborne died in his sleep in his apartment from natural causes.

"Robert was embraced by devoted fans who saw him as a trusted expert and friend," TCM general manager Jennifer Dorian said in a statement. "His calming presence, gentlemanly style, encyclopedic knowledge of film history, fervent support of film preservation and highly personal interviewing style all combined to make him a truly world-class host.

"Robert's contributions were fundamental in shaping TCM into what it is today, and we owe him a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid."

Osborne began his career as an actor, was mentored by the legendary comedienne Lucille Ball and became the official biographer of Oscar thanks to a series of books he wrote about the Academy Awards. Osborne missed the 2015 TCM Classic Film Festival, announcing at the last minute that doctors advised him to have an undisclosed medical procedure that he had planned to put off.

Attendees were extremely disappointed not to have him there. And then, less than three weeks before the start of the 2016 event, Osborne pulled out again, saying "a health issue has come up which requires attention."

A few months after he accepted a surprising invitation from Olivia de Havilland to escort her to a televised celebration of Bette Davis’ career, the journalist joined THR in September 1977 to write reviews.

He penned the paper’s must-read Rambling Reporter column from April 1983 until he left the publication in June 2009. When Ted Turner’s TCM debuted as a competitor to the American Movie Classics cable channel on April 14, 1994, Osborne was on the air to introduce the very first film, Gone With the Wind.

He stayed with the channel as primetime host from there, introducing and providing insightful tidbits for many of the 400 movies or so movies that TCM shows every year.

He also presided over the network’s Private Screenings series, interviewing such legends as Betty Hutton, Robert Mitchum, Jane Russell and Mickey Rooney, and hosted the TCM Classic Film Festival back in his old Hollywood stomping grounds when health permitted.

"He’s a scholar in classic film, he truly is,” actress Eva Marie Saint said of Osborne during a Private Screenings special that premiered in January 2014 and had Alec Baldwin, in a role reversal, interviewing the TCM host. “He’d make a wonderful professor. Wouldn’t you like to be in his class?"

When Angela Lansbury received her honorary Oscar at the 2013 Governors Award, the actress picked Osborne to introduce her. "I came to the conclusion that the one person who really knew my early work was Robert," she said in her acceptance speech.

Born on May 3, 1932, Osborne was raised in the farming community of Colfax, Wash. His father was a geography and history teacher. He enjoyed going to the movies and eventually worked at The Rose and The Roxy, the two movie houses in town. Once he fell while changing a film title on a marquee and broke both arms.

While attending the University of Washington, Osborne said he spent every Saturday "not drinking or partying or having a good time. I was at the library," he recalled in the Private Screenings special.

"I went through every issue of The New York Times for 20 years, taking notes on all the first-run theaters in New York, what was playing, when they changed the bill, how long a film played at Radio City Music Hall — or who was playing in it."

At a time before the Internet — heck, no one had even published a book that kept track of all the Oscar winners — and when nostalgia for Hollywood didn't exist, Osborne scribbled all his information onto pages of a loose-leaf binder he nicknamed Blackie.

"I was always into films, passionate about them, at a time when nobody was into that kind of stuff," he said. “I was getting this education about film — and there was no place to use it.”

Osborne pursued a career as an actor, and for a regional production in Seattle of the psychological thriller Night Must Fall, he landed the role of the duplicitous Danny opposite Oscar winner Jane Darwell (The Grapes of Wrath).

The actress took an interest in Osborne and convinced him to further his acting career in Los Angeles, not New York. He stayed with her at her home in the San Fernando Valley and soon earned a six-month contact at Fox, appearing in The Californians, a TV Western starring Paul Henreid.

He met Ball after overhearing that she was looking for actors for her company, Desilu Productions, and she invited him to her house for dinner on a Friday night. Actresses Janet Gaynor and Kay Thompson were there; at one point, the guests moved to the living room, where they watched Funny Face (1957) from a 35mm projector. When Thompson and Audrey Hepburn came on the screen doing a musical number, Thompson jumped up and mimicked the motions.

At this surreal moment, Osborne recalled, “I started to say to myself, 'Did you ever believe you would be in this [situation]?’ "Then I said, 'Wait a minute, I always knew I was going to.' "

He signed with Desilu and from Ball “received a year's master class from this great artist.” He did commercials for Falstaff and Carling Black Label beers, Folgers coffee and John Hancock insurance and appeared on the ABC soap opera The Young Marrieds and as a banker in the pilot for the sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies.

Remarkably, de Havilland — whom he had been introduced to by Ball — phoned and asked him to escort her to a televised AFI Life Achievement Award tribute to Davis in 1977 at the Beverly Hilton. He soon found himself at the head table with, among others, Henreid, director William Wellman and their wives.

He celebrated Feb. 27 each year — that’s the day de Havilland called to invite him to the Davis bash. (For many years afterward, he spoke to the reclusive actress, then living in Paris, on the phone every Sunday.)

Ball once gave him advice that would change his life: “We have enough actors,” she said. “We don’t have enough people writing about the industry.” So Osborne took up journalism.

He recalled that James Stewart would invite local journalists to a one-on-one lunch every year.

Actors like Stewart “weren’t really working. They were beyond their peak years. They had time to talk to you,” he recalled. “They loved somebody like me who had a background like mine because they didn’t have to explain who they were … they didn’t have to say, ‘I was a big deal.’ I knew that.”

When Osborne had difficulty uncovering which actress won an Oscar in some particular year, he decided to write the first in a series of reference books about the Academy Awards. He went on The Dinah Shore Show, and a friend from Seattle saw him and reviewed his book for The Reporter. That led him to a writing position at THR.

In 1987, the THR editor allowed him to write his Rambling Reporter column from New York — but only for a year — after he landed a gig to chat about movies on CBS’ The Morning Program, co-hosted by Mariette Hartley.

But when THR was sold to BPI Communications in 1988, the editor quit and Osborne, wanting to remain in New York, didn’t get around to reminding anyone about that agreement to return to L.A.

While working as a host for The Movie Channel, Osborne was invited by actress Dorothy Lamour to lunch with AMC execs Brad Siegel and Jim Wise. They offered him the afternoon AMC hosting slot when his Movie Channel contract expired (Bob Dorian was then AMC’s primetime host).

Siegel then called and said, scratch that: He was moving to Atlanta to start a rival network, Turner Classic Movies, based out of Atlanta, and wanted Osborne there. He jumped at the chance.

In recognition of his contributions to classic film, Osborne received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2006 and a special award from the National Board of Review in 2008.

Staller said there will be no funeral but a memorial service is being planned. He said donations in Osborne's name can be made to the ASPCA or the Animal Medical Center of New York.

Re: Robert Osborne Has Died - R.I.P.

Posted: March 6th, 2017, 5:02 pm
by Vecchiolarry
Thank you, Moira:

for posting that wonderful review from TCM.

He had a charmed life and managed to accomplish his desires with classic movies.


Re: Robert Osborne Has Died - R.I.P.

Posted: March 6th, 2017, 7:30 pm
by Professional Tourist
This has come as a shock. Although I wasn't too familiar with his work, a description of Mr. Osborne in The Los Angeles Times as "a delightful hybrid of Walt Disney and Walter Cronkite" sounds about right to me.

I know that several of the members here have met Mr. Osborne at the TCM film festivals or knew him personally. I'm very sorry for your loss. :(

Rest in Peace, Mr. Osborne.

Re: Robert Osborne Has Died - R.I.P.

Posted: March 6th, 2017, 7:51 pm
by Professional Tourist
From his early days as an actor, here is Mr. Osborne's appearance in the pilot of The Beverly Hillbillies: :)


Re: Robert Osborne Has Died - R.I.P.

Posted: March 6th, 2017, 8:15 pm
by Midge
A class act and a real gentleman. We will not see his like again.

Re: Robert Osborne Has Died - R.I.P.

Posted: March 7th, 2017, 3:26 am
by Rita Hayworth
I learned of this a day ago, and I wanted to share a couple of things about Robert Osborne in one of TCM Specials that was on a year or two ago, he had a journal/bible - sort of speaks that he has recorded bits of knowledge that he gathered all these years doing hosting on TCM and before that as well.

I wished that his family can take that journal/bible and make it into a book for all of us to enjoy.

I know it is a surprise for all of you that I made a rare appearance here in this forum and wanted to chime in about the death of Robert Osborne and he will be missed and he is a rare bird these days and I was sadden to learn of his death at the age of 84.

Re: Robert Osborne Has Died - R.I.P.

Posted: March 7th, 2017, 3:31 am
by Rita Hayworth
Favorite Picture of Robert O


Loved that Smile!

Re: Robert Osborne Has Died - R.I.P.

Posted: March 7th, 2017, 12:33 pm
by Sue Sue Applegate
More Memories from Robert's friends:


From Angela Lansbury: ... end-983834


From Eva Marie Saint: ... end-983834


From Leonard Maltin:

From Eddie Muller's Facebook page:


"THANKS FOR EVERYTHING, BOB. Excitement over beginning my new "Noir Alley" show on TCM turned to sorrow this morning with news that Robert Osborne has died. He'd been in failing health for quite a while, but we all held out hope he'd recover and reclaim his rightful place on the TCM throne. I called Bob the "Walter Cronkite of American Cinema," since he so brilliantly had earned the trust of the movie-loving public. He is, frankly, irreplaceable.

I first worked with Bob when he invited me to share hosting duties at his own film festival in Athens, Georgia. I was primarily there to introduce "Double Indemnity," but he surprised me by asking me to co-host a screening of "All About Eve"—his favorite movie! I knew a fraction of what Bob knew about the film, but he masterfully propped me up and made me look better than I deserved. I learned more about "hosting" from Bob in ten minutes onstage than I had in the previous years combined.

We had a great time a few years ago taping a segment for TCM called "A Night in Noir City," and once again I learned a LOT being able to watch him at work in the studio. Since then, it was always a pleasure to share time with him at TCM events, where he proved himself to be even more gracious and generous than anyone who only saw him on TV could really know.

A colleague at TCM called me this morning to share the news—he'd expected the call to be about the tremendous response to "Noir Alley." Instead, we commiserated about the network losing its iconic host, and I choked up when he said, "You know Bob adored you, right?" Well, it was mutual.
Robert Osborne was a wonderful man, and a brilliant light in all our movie-loving lives."

Re: Robert Osborne Has Died - R.I.P.

Posted: March 7th, 2017, 12:35 pm
by Sue Sue Applegate
I was lucky enough to meet Robert Osborne my first time at the festival, when Lzcutter, did a film introduction with him at the Hollywood Roosevelt.

Re: Robert Osborne Has Died - R.I.P.

Posted: March 7th, 2017, 8:51 pm
by Lomm
Something to look forward to.

TCM to honor Robert Osborne with 48-hour tribute

Turner Classic Movies will honor its late long-time host Robert Osborne with a 48-hour tribute celebrating his 23-year tenure with the network.

The tribute will feature long-form interviews conducted by Osborne, an interview of Osborne conducted by Alec Baldwin for the host's 20th anniversary and Osborne's very first movie intro, filmed for Turner Classic's first broadcast in 1994, for "Gone With the Wind."

Some of Osborne's interviews include sit-downs with Debbie Reynolds, Liza Minelli and Peter O'Toole.

On Monday, TCM recalled Osborne as "fundamental in shaping TCM into what it is today." ... w%3Dunread

Re: Robert Osborne Has Died - R.I.P.

Posted: March 7th, 2017, 10:24 pm
by movieman1957
Even when I recorded things to keep I always made sure I got his introduction. He was a guy who came to my house to visit and tell me things about movies. He took great joy in sharing what he knew. I appreciated the fact that he didn't pretend that some movies were good when they weren't. They were to be enjoyed for the fact that they weren't very good. It was very nice of him to stick around and tell me more after the movie. I especially enjoyed it when he told me things about people way down the cast list.

He seemed a gentle soul. He was terrific on the "Private Screenings." He wasn't a journalist or writer then; he was a friend come to spend some time with a star and I felt like he asked things that we would ask. He respected and, I think, often loved them. No dirt. No point in it. That wouldn't have made us love the stars or the movies. After all, that is what it was all about - the movies.

TCM won't be the same. It can't. You don't replace someone like Mr. Osborne. I would like to think somewhere along the way they might pull out some old intros for films they show often. It wouldn't have to be a regular slot but an occasional reminder of the man who helped make TCM more than a movie channel. He couldn't have done it alone but I bet some thought he did. Could anyone have loved a job more? Could anyone been better at it?

Now and again some friends want me to bring an old movie for them to see. They always ask me to share some trivia "like the guy on TCM." Even people who don't know him know of him. Now, let us not forget him. TCM, don't you forget him.

Re: Robert Osborne Has Died - R.I.P.

Posted: March 9th, 2017, 10:06 pm
by Professional Tourist
Here are details on TCM's 48-hour tribute to Mr. Osborne, coming up March 18 and 19: ... ur-tribute

Re: Robert Osborne Has Died - R.I.P.

Posted: March 10th, 2017, 9:43 am
by Professional Tourist
TCM has put up a special web page for Mr. Osborne:

There are some nice photos at the 'Images' link, including this one:


And here is the info on the upcoming tribute, same as what was linked above yesterday but on TCM's own site: ... ur-Tribute