For over two decades he was the genial host dispensing nuggets of film history to viewers of cable outlet Turner Classic Movies. But that voice was silenced today as news is breaking that Robert Osborne died earlier this morning. No other details of his death are immediately available. He was 84.
Osborne got his start in showbusiness as an actor, whose early career was mentored by Lucille Ball. In addition to several commercials he made a handful of appearances on early TV series such as Death Valley Days and One Step Beyond. By the mid-1970s he was a semi-regular staple of a number of day time talk shows, showcasing his vast knowledge of Hollywood history.
In 1977, Osborne was hired by the Hollywood Reporter as a film reviewer. In April 1983 he began writing his own column for them, the Rambling Reporter, which he continued until 2009 when he left the paper.
Osborne became the first on-air host when Ted Turner launched his cable venture Turner Classic Movies on April 14, 1994. The channel launched with an airing of Gone With The Wind with an introduction from Osborne. From then he was ever present on the channel with his hosting duties and interviewing Hollywood figures on the show Private Screenings. He made numerous personal appearances on behalf of the channel, though health issues had forced him to scale back his activities in recent years.