Monday, March 6, 2017

RIP Robert Osborne

I got home this afternoon to find that TCM host Robert Osborne had passed away. As a classic film fan, this comes as a blow. I never got to meet him. I did see him in person several times at the 2014 TCM Classic Film Festival (TCMFF) and got the following video of him in the Roosevelt Lobby doing a promo for TCM:

Robert Osborne was unable to attend TCMFF in 2015 and 2016 due to health concerns.

At the 2014 TCMFF, I didn't go out of my way to try to meet him. I didn't have a pass that included the meet and greet events, so there's no guarantee that I would have been successful had I tried. 

What I really admire about Robert Osborne is that he was a fanboy made good, before the concept of fanboy even existed. Let me explain. He always loved film. When he was in college, he kept notes of what films opened when, what theater they played at, and who starred in them. He did it just because he loved it. As a result, when he moved to Hollywood, he knew more about film than many working in the industry.  

He had moderately successful acting career, but soon switched to film journalism. One of his first jobs came about because of his thirst for knowledge. He wanted to know who won a certain award on a certain year. The records at the Motion Picture Academy were in such disarray that they couldn't tell him and ultimately hired him to create an archive of all awards going back to the very beginning. 

Later as a film journalist, he got to meet many of his golden age movie idols, many of whom were retired/semiretired. Because he had spent so much time documenting the movies he loved, he knew not only what films they made, but who starred in them, who directed, when they were released, etc. This was not some writer looking for a story. This was someone who knew and respected their work, and he became good friends with many of the greats of Hollywood's Golden Age.

When TCM started in 1994, he was the perfect on-screen host. He shared his love and knowledge with us for over 20 years. He will be missed. Rest in Peace, Robert Osborne.

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