Robert Osborne (1932-2017)

Robert coaches me through a “Critics Choice” intro at a June 2010 taping in Greenwich Village.

I’m deeply saddened by the death of Robert Osborne, who passed away in his sleep this morning (as his partner of 20 years, David Staller, told the Los Angeles Times). I can’t claim that we close friends, but I knew Robert well enough over a period of years that my life was changed for the better.

Robert was truly one of a kind — deeply knowledgable, unfailingly generous and everything you’d expect from his joyful Turner Classic Movies persona and much more. He was also a quintessential adopted New Yorker — he told me more than once that the smartest thing he’d ever done was to move away from Hollywood (‘’people are so superficial there’’) to the Big Apple, where he was a fixture at Broadway openings for decades. (He kept a pied a terre in Hollywood). For many years, he maintained three apartments at the Osborne Apartments on W. 57th Street (one for his office and one for his immense movie poster collection, which he began selling off in 2014).

I’d interviewed Robert several times on the phone when I was invited to lunch with him and TCM’s vice-president for programmer, Charles Tabesh, in 2009 to talk about TCM’s 15th anniversary. Robert was warm, friendly, and very enthusiastic when I impulsively decided to pitch a film series that my friend Farran Smith Nehme had been developing as a sort of movie-buff fantasy.

It was beyond thrilling when Robert introduced the first night of “Shadows of Russia’’ in January 2010 by saluting Farran and me for coming up a series that would trace Hollywood’s depiction of Russia from before the Revolution through the Cold War. Not long after that, I was invited to tape a couple of segments for another TCM series, “Critics Choice.’’

I had made quite a few TV appearances going back to the 1980s, but was never terribly comfortable in front of the cameras. Robert immediately set me at ease with a few words. My best video work ever was introducing THE LAST FLIGHT (1931) and ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT (1942) with Robert.

With Robert and Angela Lansbury at a reception before a screening at the SVA Theatre in Chelsea.

In early 2011, I was invited to a little reception at a restaurant across the street before Robert interviewed Angela Lansbury at a screening of THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE at the SVA Theatre in Chelsea. Her eyebrows arched upwards when I made the mistake of noting that Robert’s ex-boss and Lansbury’s bete noir Lucille Ball (think “Mame”) had reportedly been considered for Lansbury’s role in MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE.

“Not seriously!’’ Robert said with a laugh and demonstrated why he was the interviewer of choice for Hollywood’s legends. (Though he cheerfully admitted he couldn’t get much more than a “yes’’ or “no’’ out of Robert Mitchum).

Robert took an obviously unplanned leave — first announced as three months, it lasted eight — not long after that, and Ben Mankiewicz’ hosting duties began to be expanded after Osborne took another leave in 2012. At one of the TCM Classic Film Festivals, I was interviewed by Robert in the lobby of the historic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel about THE IRON PETTICOAT, a long-unavailable comedy with Bob Hope and Katharine Hepburn that I helped TCM clear the TV and video rights to.

A frame grab from THE IRON PETTICOAT video, which is now sadly out of print.

When TCM threw a 20th-anniversary celebration for Robertat the 2014 TCM Classic Film Festival (which turned out to be his last), it was pretty obvious that Robert’s

deteriorating health made it debatable if there would be a 25th. The last time I saw him was at a Manhattan taping in May 2015. He greeted me warmly, but was too tired for a scheduled interview afterwards. Robert’s final TV appearance seems to have been an interview with Mo Rocco of “CBS Sunday Morning’’ that aired the day before the 2016 Oscars (fittingly enough for the man who wrote the academy’s official history of the ceremonies).

Robert had a strict sense of ethics — he was very proud of the fact that while had known about Rock Hudson’s AIDS well before it became public, he had not informed his bosses at the Hollywood Report, where he wrote a column for a quarter-century. He also strictly kept gossip out of his TCM introductions, but let me tell you the man knew everything about everybody (he told me that Ida Lupino’s directing career declined much less because of sexism than her drinking problem).

Robert, Farran Smith Nehme and me in a promo shot for “Shadows of Russia” taken in December 2009 at The Post.

One of Robert’s big dreams was getting his close friend Olivia DeHavilland to appear at the 2014 festival for the 75th anniversary of “Gone With the Wind.’’ He described a frustrating attempt to tape a segment with her in Paris that fell apart because of health issues, but was still hopeful. It didn’t happen, but even after he could no longer appear on air, Robert wrote in TCM’s program guide that as she approached 100 last year, she had set the goal of living to 115.

Robert was a gentleman and a fantastic interviewer who brought joy into many lives — including my Aunt Rose. She unfailingly watched Robert introduce four different movies every single night of the week, and that continued when I joined her in the vigil Aunt Rose kept by the beside of her dying daughter at a Manhattan hospice.

But Robert’s audience was much bigger than the Aunt Roses of the world, who did not turn TCM into the beloved brand that it has become. Robert’s greatest and most enduring accomplishment was turning untold viewers in their 30s, 20s and younger on to the classic films he loved so much. As the man most identified with a single network since Walter Cronkite, Robert Osborne insured that the flame of classic Hollywood will burn brightly for generations to come.

The last time I saw Robert was in May 2015 at a taping for some intros with cinematographer Caleb Deschanel where I took this with my phone.

88 Replies to “Robert Osborne (1932-2017)”

  1. He kept a notebook in which were listed the titles, stars, and credits of the movies playing at each of New York’s theaters for more than 20 years.

  2. Sadly, I think his marvelous “Private Screenings” may now also go bye, y4e

    & a story he often spoke & wrote about regarding his very first star interview. It was at her home on Canon, Drive in B. Hills & NATALIE WOOD-(l938-l98l) was to be his debut star to be interviewed. She had her hair short & of course incredibally cute, per usual for that great lady & my candidate as Hollywoods all-time most beautiful actress! Natalie was in between 1965’s “Great Race” & about to do “Inside Daisy Clover” (NOTE: Leonard Maltin cites her appearance in Blake Edwards “GR” as her loveliest!) Well, he immediately dropped all his papers & questions all over her living rm floor, being so nervous of course & what did she do, instead of throwing him out as he thought she might do or something like that, Natasha got on the floor & helped him put his files back in order. Osborne ever since says he must always give a pvt “Thank You Natalie” after each “Pvt. Screenings” because she not only broke him in, but was such a cool lady in the process. THANK YOU

  3. To this longtime TCM viewer, his finest “Pvt. Screenings” was when he dug up Betty Hutton out of nowhere & got her to be on the show!

    & I’m prejudiced, so I must also cast my vote for WINONA RYDER’S-(NOTE: She was so popular they had her back to co-host/fill-in for Osborne when he was ill for a week. & just for the fun record Winona chose the (4)-(guests’ are limited to only four, due to time restraints)> “The Front” (l976) “12 Angry Men” (l957), “A Face in the Crowd” (l957) & “Ball of Fire” (l94l-RKO) However I know she since has a few other favs & her fav. actors/actresses are *Kate Winslet & Stanwyck & her director is without a doubt *Scorsese Who directed her in his 1993 “Age of Innocence”

  4. & who can leave out the “Pvt. Screenings” where they turned the tables on Robert & it was a 1 & 1/2 to 2hr special on him & with Alec Baldwin doing the interviewing.

    Pound for pound it is the best one I think the network did to date
    Besides the stories Osborne constantly came up with on his long career & life in Tinsel-Town. Baldwin asked him the epitome of drama & Robert said “A Place in the Sun”
    Comedy: “Libeled-Lady” & “This Is Spinal Tap”
    Adventure: “Adventures of Robin Hood” (l938)
    & so on

    (P.S. & look for in

  5. Pingback:
  6. A wolf in sheep’s clothing, says the citizen. That’s what he is. Virag from Hungary! Ahasuerus I call him. Cursed by God. Have you time for a brief libation, Martin? says Ned. Only one, says Martin. We must be quick. J. J. and S. You, Jack? Crofton? Three half ones, Terry. Saint Patrick would want toPlease visit my webpage : 바다이야기

  7. nd ashplant, stands irresolute. Then he bends to him and shakes him by the shoulder.) BLOOM: Eh! Ho! (There is no answer; he bends again) Mr Dedalus! (There is no answer) The name if you call. Somnambulist. (He bends again and hesitating, brings his mouth near the face of the prostrate form) Stephen! (There is no aPlease visit my webpage : 우리카지노

  8. period of 20 years, amounting to an annual rental of 64 pounds, headrent included, the titledeeds to remain in possession of the lender or lenders with a saving clause envisaging forced sale, foreclosure and mutual compensation in the event of protracted failure to pay the terms assigned, otherwise the messuage to becand visit my page : 슬롯

  9. ly. Most of all he commented adversely on the desertion of Stephen by all his pubhunting confreres but one, a most glaring piece of ratting on the part of his brother medicos under all the circs. And that one was Judas, Stephen said, who up to then had said nothing whatsoever of any kind. Discussing these and kPlease visit my webpage : 소라넷

  10. Prove that he was a jew, John Eglinton dared,’expectantly. Your dean of studies holds he was a holy Roman. Sufflaminandus sum. He was made in Germany, Stephen replied, as the champion French polisher of Italian scandals. A myriadminded man, Mr Best reminded. Coleridge called him myriadminded. Amplius my site : 야동

  11. t in a quandary, as he couldn’t tell exactly what construction to put on belongs to which sounded rather a far cry. The rebuke of some kind was clearer than the other part. Needless to say the fumes of his recent orgy spoke then with some asperity in a curious bitter way foreign to his sober state. Probably the homelifand visit my page : 아시안카지노

  12. positor’s favour: 18/14/6 (eighteen pounds, fourteen shillings and sixpence, sterling), net personalty: certificate of possession of 900 pounds, Canadian 4 percent (inscribed) government stock (free of stamp duty): dockets of the Catholic Cemeteries’ (Glasnevin) Committee, relative to a graveplot purchased: a local preand visit my page : 우리카지노

  13. t idea when. Being a levelheaded individual who could give points to not a few in point of shrewd observation he also remarked on his very dilapidated hat and slouchy wearing apparel generally testifying to a chronic impecuniosity. Palpably he was one of his hangerson but for the matter of that it was merely a questionPlease visit my webpage : 인터넷바카라

  14. lad to see you looking fit, he said. Meet you knocking around. Yes, Mr Bloom said. Tell you what, M’Coy said. You might put down my name at the funeral, will you? I’d like to go but I mightn’t be able, you see. There’s a drowning case at Sandycove may turn up and then the coroner and myself would have to go dowPlease visit my webpage : 소라넷

  15. company, highkickers, coster picnicmakers, pugilists, popular generals, immoral panto boys in fleshtights and the nifty shimmy dancers, La Aurora and Karini, musical act, the hit of the century. I was hidden in cheap pink paper that smelt of rock oil. I was surrounded by the stale smut of clubmen, stories to disturb caPlease visit my webpage : 다모아19

  16. Hugh asked, coming to the editor and laying a firm hand on his shoulder. That’ll be all right, Myles Crawford said more calmly. Never you fret. Hello, Jack. That’s all right. Good day, Myles, J. J. O’Molloy said, letting the pages he held slip limply back on the file. Is that Canada swindle case on today? TPlease visit my webpage : 스포츠토토

  17. at he did last night? Her hand ceased to rummage. Her eyes fixed themselves on him, wide in alarm, yet smiling. What? Mr Bloom asked. Let her speak. Look straight in her eyes. I believe you. Trust me. Woke me up in the night, she said. Dream he had, a nightmare. Indiges. Said the ace of spades wPlease visit my website : 온라인카지노

  18. All who wish you well hope this for you. All desire to see you bring forth the work you meditate, to acclaim you Stephaneforos. I heartily wish you may not fail them. O no, Vincent Lenehan said, laying a hand on the shoulder near him. Have no fear. He could not leave his mother an orphan. The young man’s face grew darkAlso visit my webpage : 사설토토

  19. name. Van. Keep his cane clear of the horse’s legs: tired drudge get his doze. That’s right. Clear. Behind a bull: in front of a horse. Thanks, sir. Knows I’m a man. Voice. Right now? First turn to the left. The blind stripling tapped the curbstone and went on his way, drawing his cane back, feeling agaand visit my page : 온라인카지노

  20. Great article! This is the type of info that are supposed to be shared around the internet. Shame on Google for now not positioning this put up higher! Come on over and consult with my website . Thanks =)

  21. You are so cool! I do not think I have read through a single thing like this before. So great to discover someone with a few genuine thoughts on this subject matter. Seriously.. thanks for starting this up. This web site is something that is needed on the internet, someone with a bit of originality!

  22. I’ll immediately grasp your rss as I can not to find your email subscription hyperlink or newsletter service. Do you have any? Kindly allow me understand in order that I could subscribe. Thanks.

  23. We’re a bunch of volunteers and opening a brand new scheme in our community. Your web site offered us with useful information to work on. You have performed a formidable process and our whole group will be thankful to you.

  24. Hello! I simply would like to give you a huge thumbs up for your great info you’ve got here on this post. I will be returning to your web site for more soon.

  25. When I originally commented I clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that service? Thanks!

  26. I as well as my guys happened to be examining the nice items on your site then all of a sudden got a terrible suspicion I had not thanked the web site owner for those tips. Those ladies were definitely totally stimulated to learn them and have seriously been tapping into those things. Many thanks for turning out to be so helpful and for considering varieties of terrific tips millions of individuals are really wanting to know about. My very own honest regret for not expressing gratitude to sooner.

  27. I intended to write you that very little word so as to thank you again relating to the superb advice you have provided above. It has been simply remarkably open-handed with people like you giving unreservedly all that most people could possibly have made available for an e-book to help with making some money on their own, principally now that you might have done it if you ever desired. The inspiring ideas likewise acted to become fantastic way to be sure that most people have the identical dreams similar to my personal own to realize whole lot more around this matter. I am sure there are a lot more pleasant periods up front for people who check out your blog.

  28. I not to mention my guys have already been checking out the good helpful hints on your site then suddenly came up with a horrible feeling I never expressed respect to you for those strategies. The women happened to be absolutely happy to read through them and have unquestionably been using these things. Many thanks for genuinely very considerate and then for obtaining varieties of decent useful guides millions of individuals are really desperate to be aware of. My personal sincere regret for not saying thanks to you sooner.

  29. I would like to express my love for your generosity in support of women who need assistance with this concept. Your special dedication to getting the solution all through has been especially advantageous and have truly permitted somebody much like me to arrive at their objectives. The important report indicates a whole lot to me and extremely more to my office workers. With thanks; from each one of us.

  30. I would like to convey my affection for your kind-heartedness supporting people that must have help on this one concept. Your personal commitment to getting the solution around appears to be extraordinarily good and have without exception encouraged others much like me to arrive at their ambitions. Your own important advice signifies a great deal a person like me and extremely more to my peers. Many thanks; from everyone of us.

  31. My husband and i felt now peaceful Peter managed to finish up his basic research with the ideas he received while using the site. It’s not at all simplistic just to happen to be offering guidance which some others have been selling. We really understand we have the blog owner to thank because of that. Most of the illustrations you have made, the simple website navigation, the relationships you can make it possible to promote – it is all great, and it is helping our son in addition to us do think this situation is fun, which is certainly very indispensable. Thanks for everything!

  32. I actually wanted to write down a small remark so as to say thanks to you for the awesome tips you are posting here. My particularly long internet research has at the end of the day been honored with brilliant ideas to talk about with my friends and family. I ‘d express that many of us site visitors actually are rather fortunate to exist in a notable community with many lovely people with insightful points. I feel truly lucky to have used your weblog and look forward to some more thrilling moments reading here. Thanks a lot once again for all the details.

  33. I want to express thanks to the writer for rescuing me from this crisis. As a result of exploring through the the net and meeting thoughts which were not powerful, I was thinking my life was well over. Living without the presence of solutions to the problems you have fixed by means of your good short post is a crucial case, and the ones that would have in a wrong way damaged my entire career if I hadn’t encountered your blog. The ability and kindness in maneuvering all the things was precious. I’m not sure what I would have done if I had not discovered such a subject like this. I can at this moment relish my future. Thanks for your time so much for the skilled and amazing guide. I won’t hesitate to propose the website to any person who requires care about this issue.

  34. I am glad for commenting to let you know of the helpful encounter my wife’s princess experienced using yuor web blog. She picked up a good number of issues, with the inclusion of what it’s like to have an ideal teaching heart to let other individuals effortlessly grasp selected complex issues. You actually exceeded people’s expected results. I appreciate you for delivering these powerful, dependable, informative and easy tips on that topic to Janet.

  35. obviously like your website but you have to take a look at the spelling on quite a few of your posts. Several of them are rife with spelling issues and I find it very troublesome to tell the truth however I will certainly come again again.

  36. I have to convey my love for your generosity in support of those individuals that absolutely need help on in this content. Your real commitment to getting the message along had been wonderfully helpful and have regularly allowed guys just like me to reach their ambitions. Your own warm and helpful guidelines means much to me and somewhat more to my office colleagues. Best wishes; from all of us.

  37. I want to point out my love for your kindness giving support to men and women who actually need help with in this question. Your special dedication to passing the solution all around turned out to be remarkably important and have really permitted women much like me to realize their pursuits. Your entire useful publication denotes this much to me and somewhat more to my mates. Regards; from each one of us.

  38. I really wanted to send a quick comment to be able to say thanks to you for some of the awesome recommendations you are showing at this site. My time-consuming internet lookup has at the end of the day been honored with extremely good points to talk about with my friends. I would tell you that most of us visitors are undoubtedly lucky to exist in a useful website with very many marvellous individuals with very beneficial opinions. I feel somewhat privileged to have discovered your entire web site and look forward to really more excellent minutes reading here. Thanks again for everything.

  39. I precisely wished to thank you very much once again. I’m not certain the things that I would’ve undertaken without the actual information contributed by you over my problem. It became the challenging case for me personally, but being able to view the specialised fashion you handled that took me to leap over contentment. Extremely happy for this assistance as well as sincerely hope you find out what a powerful job you happen to be carrying out training people today through the use of your blog. Most probably you have never got to know all of us.

  40. I wish to show some appreciation to the writer just for rescuing me from this particular scenario. Right after surfing around throughout the the web and finding tricks which were not beneficial, I believed my life was done. Living without the solutions to the issues you’ve sorted out by way of your entire report is a critical case, and the kind which could have in a wrong way affected my career if I hadn’t come across the blog. Your own expertise and kindness in dealing with all things was tremendous. I’m not sure what I would have done if I had not come upon such a solution like this. I’m able to at this time relish my future. Thanks a lot very much for your specialized and effective help. I will not be reluctant to refer your web site to any person who wants and needs counselling about this topic.

  41. I wanted to send you that little remark to help say thanks yet again for your personal awesome tips you’ve discussed in this case. This has been really incredibly open-handed with people like you to deliver freely precisely what a few people could have supplied for an ebook to end up making some profit for themselves, notably since you could have done it if you ever decided. The secrets as well served as the fantastic way to be sure that other people online have similar interest similar to mine to understand many more with respect to this condition. I am sure there are millions of more pleasurable situations in the future for many who view your blog.

  42. I have to express my affection for your generosity for those people that really want help with that question. Your very own commitment to passing the solution all over appeared to be incredibly practical and have continuously made those much like me to get to their objectives. This warm and friendly recommendations indicates a whole lot a person like me and especially to my peers. Thanks a lot; from all of us.

  43. I would like to convey my appreciation for your kindness in support of men who have the need for guidance on this question. Your very own dedication to getting the message throughout had been pretty good and have regularly helped others much like me to reach their goals. Your new warm and friendly publication entails this much to me and even further to my fellow workers. Best wishes; from each one of us.

  44. I intended to post you that bit of observation to help say thanks a lot as before considering the marvelous tips you have shared at this time. It is shockingly open-handed of you to offer extensively all that numerous people could possibly have offered for an e book to help with making some dough on their own, certainly considering the fact that you might well have done it if you ever wanted. These inspiring ideas in addition worked to be the great way to understand that some people have the identical keenness like my own to know many more in terms of this problem. I am certain there are lots of more enjoyable times up front for folks who looked over your website.

  45. Heya great website! Does running a blog similar to this take a massive amount work?

    I have absolutely no expertise in computer programming however I was hoping
    to start my own blog soon. Anyhow, should you have any
    ideas or techniques for new blog owners please
    share. I understand this is off subject but I simply needed
    to ask. Thanks a lot!

  46. I have been exploring for a little for any high quality articles or weblog posts on this
    sort of space . Exploring in Yahoo I at last stumbled
    upon this site. Reading this information So i’m happy to express that I’ve a
    very excellent uncanny feeling I discovered exactly what I needed.
    I so much undoubtedly will make sure to don?t put out of your mind this website and
    provides it a look on a constant basis.

  47. Good post. I learn something new and challenging on sites
    I stumbleupon every day. It will always be interesting to
    read content from other writers and practice a little something from
    their sites.

  48. Hello there! This post could not be written any better!
    Reading through this post reminds me of my good old room mate!

    He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this write-up to him.
    Fairly certain he will have a good read. Many thanks
    for sharing!

  49. Wow, superb blog layout! How long have you been blogging for?

    you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your web site is great,
    let alone the content!

  50. Today, I went to the beach with my children. I found a sea shell and
    gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put the
    shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear.
    She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is completely off topic
    but I had to tell someone!

  51. I was excited to uncover this web site. I want to to thank you for ones time for
    this particularly wonderful read!! I definitely enjoyed
    every bit of it and I have you bookmarked to look at new
    things in your website.

  52. My brother suggested I might like this website. He was totally right.

    This post truly made my day. You can not imagine simply how much time I had spent for this information! Thanks!

  53. Howdy, I do believe your website could possibly be
    having internet browser compatibility problems. Whenever I look at your web site in Safari, it looks fine however, when opening in I.E., it’s
    got some overlapping issues. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up!
    Other than that, excellent website!

  54. First off I would like to say wonderful blog! I had a
    quick question which I’d like to ask if you do not mind.
    I was interested to know how you center yourself and clear your thoughts before
    writing. I have had a tough time clearing my thoughts in getting my ideas out.
    I do enjoy writing but it just seems like the first
    10 to 15 minutes tend to be wasted just trying to figure out
    how to begin. Any suggestions or tips? Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.