Robert Osborne, who served as the primetime host and anchor of Turner Classic Movies (TCM) since its launch in 1994, passed away in New York City. As the face of TCM, Osborne brought viewers out of their living rooms and into the world of classic movies, providing insider information, facts and trivia on TCM movie presentations. In recognition of his extensive career, Osborne received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in October 2006. And in January 2008, he received a special award from the National Board of Review for his contributions as a film historian.
I was shaped by the heroes in the films I saw, which you always want to emulate and be like.
ROBERT OSBORNE, 2014
In addition to his regular appearances on TCM, Osborne co-hosted TCM's The Essentials each week with such personalities as Alec Baldwin, Drew Barrymore and, most recently, Sally Field. For TCM, Osborne hosted special one-on-one interview series entitled, Private Screenings with marquee interviews including, Lauren Bacall, Angela Lansbury, Shirley MacLaine, Jane Fonda, Jane Powell, Jane Russell, Esther Williams, Mickey Rooney, Charlton Heston, Leslie Caron, Tony Curtis, James Garner, Debbie Reynolds, Patricia Neal, Robert Michum, Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, Anthony Quinn, Ann Miller, June Allyson and Betty Hutton.
A true ambassador for Turner Classic Movies, Osborne made countless public appearances for the network and served as the host of the annual TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood and the TCM Classic Cruise. He also penned a regular column for TCM's Now Playing magazine.
A Hollywood columnist and critic, Osborne was known as the official biographer of Oscar® thanks to a series of books he wrote on the subject of the film world's annual Academy Awards®. His last book, 80 Years of the Oscar, written at the request of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, was called the most comprehensive and definitive book ever done on the subject."
Osborne's many appearances included serving as a host-moderator with the Boston Pops, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. He hosted events in venues including New York's Radio City Music Hall, Town Hall, City Center, Alice Tully Hall, the Museum of Modern Art and Jazz at Lincoln Center; Los Angeles' Grauman's Chinese Theatre and the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn theatre; Wolf Trap in Vienna, Va.; Tanglewood in Lenox, Mass.; Chastain and the Verizon Amphitheatre in Atlanta; and the National Archives in Washington, D.C.
Born in Colfax, Wash., Osborne graduated from the University of Washington's School of Journalism, appearing in local plays in his non-study hours. He eventually went to Hollywood as an actor and soon after was signed to a contract by Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz for their Desilu studios. It was Lucy who encouraged him use his journalistic skills and interest in Hollywood history to pursue writing, which he considered "the best career advice" he'd ever been given. Lucy remained a friend and mentor to him until her death.
Osborne was a reporter and columnist for The Hollywood Reporter for more than 25 years, covering all aspects of the movie and television business. In 1982, he also began as the on-air entertainment reporter for the nightly news on Los Angeles' KTTV. In 1987, he was signed by CBS to make daily appearances on the CBS Morning Program, and from 1986-1993, he was also a regular host of The Movie Channel cable network prior to joining Turner Classic Movies in 1994.
From 1981-83, Osborne served as president of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA). He was a frequent guest on Good Morning America and other network shows; was twice a CableACE nominee for his "Osborne Report" segments for The Movie Channel; and was nominated for an Emmy® as Outstanding Host Moderator.
In lieu of sending flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to the ASPCA or The Animal Medical Center of NY (http://www.amcny.org).