Robert Osborne, the longtime host of Turner Classic Movies since its inception in 1994, has died. He was 84.
Jennifer Dorian, general manager of TCM, made the announcement Monday. "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," said Dorian in a statement.
"Robert's contributions were fundamental in shaping TCM into what it is today and we owe him a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this time."
Born in Colfax, Wash. in 1932, Osborne earned a degree from the University of Washington's School of Journalism. He began his career as an actor, working as a contract performer for comedienne Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz's Desilu Studios. After making a guest appearances on The Beverly Hillbillies and appearing on stage in The Desilu Revue, Osborne turned his efforts to writing.
In 1977, he joined the staff of The Hollywood Reporter and wrote its "Rambling Reporter" column from 1983 until 2009. He eventually became the official biographer of the Academy Awards, writing 50 Years of the Oscar: The Official History of the Academy Awards in 1978 and adding multiple updates over the years. Prior to joining TCM, Osborne was a host on The Movie Channel from 1986 until 1993.
Osborne was awarded the Publicists Guild of America 1984 Press Award. In 2006, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in honor of his contributions to classic film.