Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Tcm's Robert Osborne: A Classic Gentleman

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Tcm's Robert Osborne: A Classic Gentleman

Article excerpt

LOS ANGELES - Lucille Ball took Robert Osborne under her wing more than 50 years ago when the Turner Classic Movies host was a fledgling young actor in Hollywood. The legendary "I Love Lucy'" star ended up changing the course of Mr. Osborne's life.

Mr. Osborne's acting career was slowly building in the late 1950s. He was under contract to Ball and Desi Arnaz's Desilu Productions and had guest-star roles on TV series. He even appeared on the pilot episode of "The Beverly Hillbillies."

But one day, Ball took the native of Colfax, Wash., aside and told him, "you could be an actor, and I think you could be a success at it," recalled Mr. Osborne, 81. "But it's not going to make you happy."

But she knew what would.

"She said to me, 'What you should do is write,'" he said. "'You were a journalism major at the University of Washington. You love to do research. You love old films. Nobody is writing about films. We have enough actors, but we don't have enough writers.' She is the one who kind of got me away from acting."

And the rest, as they say, is film history.

Mr. Osborne penned his first book, "Academy Awards Illustrated," with a forward by Bette Davis no less, in 1965. And since 1989 he has been the official "biographer" of the Academy Awards. The sixth edition of his exhaustive history, "85 Years of the Oscar," has just been published. Mr. Osborne joined the staff of the Hollywood Reporter in 1977; five years later he began writing the "Rambling Reporter" column, which he continued to do until 2009.

The silver-haired Mr. Osborne was the on-hair host for the Movie Channel from 1986 to '93 and has been the primary host of TCM since the nostalgia cable network began in 1994. Ben Mankiewicz came on board as the second host in 2003.

Mr. Osborne's hosting gig on TCM has made him a superstar among classic film buffs. A delightful hybrid of Walt Disney and Walter Cronkite, Mr. Osborne is the most gracious of hosts. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.