Robert Osborne was known by many as the Walter Cronkite of the movies. He was one of the foremost authorities on the history of Hollywood films. Graduating from the University of Washington’s School of Journalism isn’t solely what propelled him into that field. It was Lucille Ball.
Osborne had moved to Los Angeles in the late '50s in the hopes of becoming an actor. He was a contract actor at Desilu Studios, where Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz would train and develop young actors. Ball encouraged Osborne to combine his love of journalism with his love of acting. Osborne is sure she suggested this after seeing him act.
Osborne had small roles in shows such as “The Californians” and the pilot episode of the “Beverly Hillbillies.” But he eventually found his niche as a film historian. From 1982 to 2009, he was a columnist for the Hollywood Reporter and in 2008 he published his book “80 years of the Oscar: The Official History of the Academy Awards.”
Since 1994, he has been the official host for Turner Classic Movies. He also hosted the first Turner Classic Movies Film Festival in April 2010 in Hollywood. He lives in New York City.
Osborne died March 6, 2017, at his home in New York City. He was 84.