Robert Osborne Biography
Robert Osborne has been the primetime host and anchor of TURNER CLASSIC MOVIES television network since TCM made it's on-air debut in April 1994. Since 1977 he has also been a writer for the daily show business trade publication THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER and in 1983 he began writing the paper's lead column "Rambling Reporter," which covers all aspects of the movie, television and Broadway worlds.
He is also known as the official biographer of "Oscar" because of the series of books he's written on the subject of the motion picture industry's annual Academy Awards, his latest being 75 YEARS OF THE OSCAR which was written at the request of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and was praised by The Weekly Observer as "A scholar's dream, a researcher's paradise, a movie buff's heaven." An update on his book, covering 80 YEARS OF THE OSCAR was published by Abbeyville Press in the fall of 2008.
In 2005, Osborne received an Honorary Doctorate from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco (Doctor Osborne?). On Feb. 1, 2006, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (located in front of the former Huntington Hartford theatre, now the Ricardo Montalban) on Vine Street. Since 2006 he has been the official red carpet greeter for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' at the annual Acdemy Awards ceremony at the Kodak theatre in Hollywood. Another "distinction" came his way in April 2006: he was satirized on "Saturday Night Live."
Osborne was born in Colfax, Washington (population: 2700), graduated from the University of Washington's School of Journalism and eventually headed South to Hollywood where he was soon signed to a contract as an actor by Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz at their Desilu Studios. It was Lucy who encouraged him to seriously pursue writing ("especially after she saw me act," he says) and he considers that suggestion the best career advice he's ever been given. Lucy remained a friend and mentor to him until her death in 1989.
For TCM, in addition to hosting four primetime movies seven days per week, he also hosts special one-on-one PRIVATE SCREENING interviews which has so far included such legendary filmmakers as Lauren Bacall, Angela Lansbury, Shirley MacLaine, three famous Janes (Fonda, Powell and Russell), Esther Williams, Mickey Rooney, Charlton Heston, Leslie Caron, Tony Curtis, James Garner, Debbie Reynolds, Patricia Neal, directors Sidney Lumet, Stanley Donen and Norman Jewison, and the late Robert Michum, Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, Anthony Quinn, Rod Steiger, Ann Miller, June Allyson and Betty Hutton.
During 2007-08, he co-hosted with Carrie Fisher the TCM series of films considered "Essentials" to anyone wanting to see the best of the best films ever made. Alec Baldwin has also served as a co-host with Osborne for The Essentials since 2009 and the popular duo will co-host the third season of Essentials in 2011. Osborne also cohosts TCM's "Guest Programmer" series where guests have included a long list (among them: Mia Farrow, Bill Cosby, David Mamet, Buck Henry, Hugh Hefner, Barry Levinson) and, in November 2007, will further include Whoopi Goldberg, Gore Vidal, Tracey Ullman, Neil LeBute, Alec Baldwin, James Elroy, Graydon Carter, Renee Fleming, Harvey Fierstein, Alfred Molina, Brian Dennehy, John Sayles, Thelma Schoolmaker, Charles Busch, Charles Grodin, Matt Groening, Cybill Shepherd, Rose McGowan, Danny DeVito, Donald Trump and Martha Stewart (but not together).
Osborne has lived in New York City since 1987 and also travels extensively to Atlanta where he tapes his TCM segments, to Los Angeles and - whenever he can swing it -- to his home state of Washington where he is one of the investors in a movie house called The Rose (158 seats) in Port Townsend, Washington, which has since acquired a sister-theatre, the Rosebud (83 seats). Since 2005, he has also been hosting his own film festival ROBERT OSBORNE'S CLASSIC FILM FESTIVAL which is held once a year in Athens, Georgia, the home of the University of Georgia. The festival's fourth edition was held in April 2008.