Robert Osborne, who became a familiar face on television as the longtime Turner Classic Movies host who provided the background on the films presented by the cable channel, has died. The Los Angeles Times reports that Osborne died in New York. He was 84.
Osborne stepped down from his on-air duties on TCM in early 2016 due to an undisclosed health issue. TCM announced his death today but did not provide the cause of death.
“Osborne was a former longtime columnist for The Hollywood Reporter and the author of the official history of the Academy Awards,” The Times notes. “The genial, silver-haired and dapper Osborne was a bonafide movie connoisseur, who displayed his wide knowledge of films on TCM since the 24-hour commercial-free cable network’s launch in 1994.”
Osborne, who has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, had a brief career as an actor, mainly in the 1950s and early 1960s, including appearances on “Whirlybirds,” “Death Valley Days” and “The Beverly Hillbillies.” He appeared as himself in an episode of “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” in 2015.
TCM began moving Ben Mankiewicz into Osborne’s hosting slots several years ago.
Here’s a clip featuring one of Osborne’s early acting jobs, on “The Beverly Hillbillies” …