Robert Osborne, the beloved primary host of Turner Classic Movies (TCM), has died at the age of 84.
Osborne passed away in his sleep Monday (6 March) at home in New York City of natural causes.
He is survived by theater director and producer David Staller who was his partner of 20 years.
Osbourne, a noted film historian, was with TCM since it launched in 1994.
‘All of us at Turner Classic Movies are deeply saddened by the death of Robert Osborne,’ 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.’
Osborne had rock star status each spring at the annual TCM Classics Film Festival in Hollywood.
The four-day event gives fans the chance to see classic Hollywood films in the giant screen and Osborne moderated many of the panels before or after the screenings.
‘Robert was embraced by devoted fans who saw him as a trusted expert and friend,’ Dorian stated.
‘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.’
Osborne was a one-time actor who was mentored by Lucille Ball.
He wrote several books on the history of the Academy Awards and was for a time the red carpet host at the Oscars who announced the arrival of the stars and had the first interview with them.
Osborne was so well-regarded that when Angela Lansbury was chosen to receive an Honorary Oscar in 2013, she chose Osborne to present it to her.
‘The one person who really knew about my early work was Robert Osborne,’ Lansbury said in her acceptance speech.
‘Thanks to Turner Classic Movies and Robert, those great films are shown and studied and discussed by students everywhere as well as seen by a huge general audience.
‘So thank you TCM and thank you Robert for keeping me alive all these years.’