Hollywood is mourning the loss of another iconic member of the film community, with Robert Osborne, the longtime host of Turner Classic Movies, passing away at the age of 84 earlier today. He served as the host of Turner Classic Movies since the cable network was first formed in 1994. Here's what TCM's general manager Jennifer Dorian had to say in a statement about Robert Osborne's death.
"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. 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. 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."
Variety reported on the late host's passing, but no cause of death was given. One of the many shows Robert Osborne hosted on TCM was a weekly showcase and discussion series entitled The Essentials, which he co-hosted alongside Alec Baldwin, between 2009 and 2011. Shortly after the host's death was announced, Alex Baldwin gave the following statement about his old friend to Deadline. Here's what Alec Baldwin had to say about the passing of Robert Osborne.
"In his own way, Robert Osborne's contribution to the movies was as significant as Walt Disney or Spielberg or Cary Grant. What they all have in common is that their work drove people to see movies, appreciate movies and celebrate movies as the great American art form that they are. I loved Bob, and I'm sad to see him go."
Robert Osborne was born Robert Jolin Osborne in Colfax, Washington, who served two years in the Air Force as a lieutenant and graduated from the University of Washington's School of Journalism before getting his start in showbiz. He was a contract player for Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz's Desilu production company. Lucille Ball persuaded Osborne to write a book, which he did with Academy Awards Illustrated, which lead to stints as an entertainment reporter in New York and Los Angeles. He joined the staff of The Hollywood Reporter in 1977, and wrote the regular column Rambling Reporter from 1982 to 2009. Take a look at the new tribute video put together by TCM, to honor the late Robert Osborne.