Graham Hill, our roving correspondent, had a few words to say about the late Robert Osborne which we thought we’d pass along.
“Robert Osborne was indeed the finest, the most well known of all television presenters.
He introduced, and re-introduced more people to classic movies than anyone else, simply because he was the last of a dying breed of host that so many small independent TV stations throughout America used to have.
The type of family host with a great personality, that made those old, grainy and faded movies much more acceptable for both their viewers and advertisers.
Whether it was for those ‘Late Night,’ ‘Million Dollar,’ or your basic afternoon non-primetime matinees, they made those mixed bag of movie offerings come to life with behind-the-scenes stories, and trivia they researched in old bookstores and celebrity shows.
I first came across Robert Osborne at one such show near where I live in North Hollywood, California. He was checking out the latest books, movie stills and posters. Back in the late 1990s, he was still doing his own research for ‘Turner Classic Movies’, just like he had been doing writing for ‘The Hollywood Reporter.’
But as age was beginning to take it’s toll, and with so many of the TCM audience becoming more informed, and more fussy above trivial details, the silver-haired gentleman of the silver-screen had to have a full-time paid researcher to make his two-minute introductory monologues, just as natural and un-rehearsed that his legions of fans had come to love him for.
I covered the TCM Film Festival for Cinema Retro for a few years, and I would see Mr. Osborne at the Hollywood Roosevelt and the Chinese Theater (pictured above) opposite. He always ‘looked the part,’ and whatever Time Warner was paying him, he certainly earned every penny and then some.
Indeed, Robert Osborne was TCM. A living logo, and the best they will ever have. He was their most valuable asset, next to their owning the world’s largest film library of course.
He had both class and style, just like the Academy Awards used to have. And that takes my tribute full circle, as it was his book on the Oscar shows back in the 1960s that set him on the path to fame and fortune, movie presenter immortality…
And we can just see him now, up there in HOLLYWOOD heaven with all those stars he interviewed and became friends with, and with all those he never got to meet. What a show that would make!”