Wednesday, March 8, 2017
ROBERT OSBORNE (1932 - 2017)
I would be remiss in not mentioning the passing of Robert Osborne, the genial, long-time host of Turner Classic Movies, on March 6th at the age of eighty-four. Before joining the network in 1994, Osborne previously served as a host for another premium cable station, The Movie Channel. He later was commissioned by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to write a book on the history of The Oscars in 1988 with it being updated six times since.
Not much of a surprise, Osborne began his career as an actor, working under contract for Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball's Desilu Studios. With a kind suggestion from Ms Ball, he soon decided to pursue his college major, journalism and wrote his first book in 1965, "Academy Awards Illustrated". In 1977, Osborne began writing for The Hollywood Reporter for many years before his move to becoming a television personality.
What I admired most about Mr. Osborne was his deep knowledge and great affection for the movie business. Warm and charming, he brought his experience, insight and personal anecdotes to his introductions shown before many of the classic films screened on TCM.
It seems Osborne almost single-handily kept the spirit of old Hollywood alive. With many millennials thinking an "old movie" is something from the 1980's, I'm concerned that with Mr. Osborne's passing no one will be around to champion these important and timeless films from the early days of Hollywood. I hope I am wrong and perhaps all the wonderful times Mr. Osborne spent discussing his enduring passion for the glory days of cinema will have influenced and inspired a new generation of viewers.