Robert Osborne, the longtime host of Turner Classic Movies, has died at age 84, the network announced on Monday, March 6.
Jennifer Dorian, General Manager of Turner Classic Movies, released a statement reflecting on the iconic movie connoisseur’s contributions to the cable network. “All of us at Turner Classic Movies are deeply saddened by the death of Robert Osborne. Robert was a beloved member of the Turner family for more than 23 years. He joined us as an expert on classic film and grew to be our cherished colleague and esteemed ambassador for TCM,” she said. “Robert was embraced by devoted fans who saw him as a trusted expert and friend. His calming presence, gentlemanly style, encyclopedic knowledge of film history, fervent support for film preservation and highly personal interviewing style all combined to make him a truly world-class host.”
Osborne started off in the late 50s and early 60s as an actor and was mentored by Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. He appeared in the pilot of the Beverly Hillbillies, the stage play The Desilu Revue and a two-year traveling tour of the play Generation. The cinephile went on to combine his interests in movies and journalism to become the official historian of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He was also a writer for The Hollywood Reporter, and wrote the outlet's Rambling Reporter column from 1983 until 2009.
At TCM, he introduced many of the movies that the network aired and provided fun facts and trivia for viewers. He also hosted the TCM Classic Film Festival from 2010 to 2014, and dozens of “Private Screening” interviews with filmmakers. Recently, he appeared in the Fabulous Allan Carr documentary and the 20/20 special for Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher. He also made a cameo in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt in 2015.