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Robert Osborne, a film historian who became a household name and a television fixture for classic film aficionados by serving as a host on Turner Classic Movies, has died. The television personality was 84.
Robert Osborne's life revolved around film. Though he started his career as an actor (and actually was mentored by the legendary Lucille Ball), Osborne carved out his name as a columnist for the Hollywood Reporter, where he wrote the Rambling Reporter column for more than 25 years.
The man cemented his cinematic legacy, though, by introducing and concluding classic movie screenings on Turner Classic Movies, a gig that he started on April 14, 1994 with a screening of Gone With The Wind. Robert Osborne would draw on a wealth of personal knowledge -- and a calming demeanor that film fans embraced -- to set up the movie the network was about to screen. The gig at TCM led to numerous other television opportunities. Watch Osborne in his element, here introducing Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange on TCM:
The thing about Robert Osborne is that he fully admits that without Turner Classic Movies, he might never have found an outlet for his unquenchable thirst for obscure knowledge about cinema and the movie-making industry. In an interview with THR, Osborne talked about the notebooks he would fill with film-related trivia, saying:
I was always into films, passionate about them, at a time when nobody was into that kind of stuff. I was getting this education about film --- and there was no place to use it.
He eventually found the right places to use that knowledge, from the THR column to a reference book he wrote about theAcademy Awards, to hosting gigs on The Movie Channel and, eventually, Turner Classic Movies. Watching the greatest films of numerous generations on the cable network won't be the same without Robert Osborne's signature introductions. He will be missed by film fanatics far and wide.