Beloved Turner Classic Movies host Robert Osborne died Monday, March 6, 2017, in Manhattan. Mr. Osborne was 84.
You’ll find links to several obituaries covering the life and career of Robert Osborne at the bottom of this post. I just wanted to chime in with my own memories.
I never met or had any personal contact with Robert Osborne, though he was such a regular presence in my home that you can count me among those who considered him a friend. He didn’t make his way to my television until 2006, when my cable company (finally!) began offering TCM in their basic package. Overwhelmed by access to all of these new movies, he was a comforting guide through many evenings over the next decade.
I considered Robert Osborne an arbiter of taste, his high opinion of certain films helping to boost my own confidence as a budding classic film blogger when I’d rave about The Razor’s Edge (1946) or Dodsworth (1936), two titles that ranked among his personal favorites. His on-air introductions were responsible for my paying extra attention to titles I didn’t know yet—like H.M. Pulham, Esq. (1941) or Roughly Speaking (1945)—but would come to love. And the occasional night of “Bob’s Picks” featuring movies like Evergreen (1934), My Name Is Julia Ross (1945), or the aforementioned H.M. Pulham, Esq., often touched upon fond old favorites or opened my eyes to unknown gems that I was seeing for the first time.
I know there are other factors involved, yet I don’t think it’s a total coincidence that my hours spent watching TCM have dwindled in recent years as Mr. Osborne’s on-air presence lessened.
What I would love—and what I believe would be fitting tribute to Robert Osborne’s massive contribution to Turner Classic Movies—would be a weekly or monthly feature recycling the extensive archive of Robert Osborne intros and outros to the movies he has hosted on TCM. Maybe I'm being greedy in hoping to keep Mr. Osborne alive on my TV, but it's also very easy to imagine his friendly warmth and presence continuing to attract new fans to classic film.
Rest in Peace, Robert Osborne.
Turner Classic Movies has set up a dedicated Robert Osborne tribute mini-site.
From the major news and entertainment outlets come obituaries from the Los Angeles Times and New York Times, Variety, and Hollywood Reporter, where Osborne penned his “Rambling Reporter” column from 1983-2009.
Fellow film bloggers who have already posted about Mr. Osborne’s passing include Terry at A Shroud of Thoughts, Kristen at Journeys in Classic Film, Laura (with even more links) at Laura’s Miscellaneous Musings, Jessica at Comet Over Hollywood, plus a unique perspective from recently retired New York Post film critic Lou Lumenick at his recently launched blog The Bad and the Beautiful.
The fond memories and tributes will no doubt continue for some time to come.