Turner Classic Movies’ Robert Osborne Dead at 84

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Photo: Ben Gabbe/Getty Images

Robert Osborne, the film historian and prime-time Turner Classic Movies host, died Monday at the age of 84. The legendary classic-movie buff was a mainstay of TCM’s lineup, where he gave bits of film history and cultural context before movies that aired on the network. “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,” TCM general manager Jennifer Dorian said in a statement. “He joined us as an expert on classic film and grew to be our cherished colleague and esteemed ambassador for TCM.” Originally an actor under contract by Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz’s Desilu Productions, Osborne became an entertainment reporter at Ball’s suggestion. In addition to his on-camera work for TCM, he wrote several books about the industry, including 85 Years of the Oscar: The Official History of the Academy Awards, and hosted movies on the Movie Channel from 1986–1993. TCM’s statement and their “In Memoriam” tribute video praised Osborne’s influence on the network and his work in film preservation: “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.”

Turner Classic Movies’ Robert Osborne Dead at 84