Happy Birthday Robert Osborne!
Robert Osborne, primetime host of Turner Classic Movies since its inception in 1994, is celebrating a birthday today. Although a Washington State native, the film enthusiast made his way to Hollywood as a young man, and even though he never made his mark on the big screen as he had originally hoped, the dashing and dapper septuagenarian has made an indelible impact upon the history of classic cinema.
No one can question Osborne's deep, abiding love and knowledge of film. When it comes to film history the man literally wrote the book - multiple times. The Official History of the Academy Awards was first published in 1988 with the title, 60 Years of Oscar: The Official History of the Academy Awards. Subsequent updates follow every five years. If that isn't enough to establish the man as "THE" authority in movie history you should know he also wrote Academy Awards Illustrated in 1965, Hollywood Legends: The Life and Films of Humphrey Bogart and Greta Garbo in 1967, Academy Awards Oscar Annual from 1971–1976, Best Actor Oscar Winners Since 1927 in 1977, Best Picture Oscar Winners Since 1927 in 1977, Best Actress Oscar Winners in 1977, and 50 Golden Years of Oscar in 1978. And don't forget he wrote for The Hollywood Reporter for decades!
Osborne got his start working for Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. The ever-insightful Ball suggested that Osborne combine his interest in classic film with his training in journalism and write about the movies instead of acting in them. Although some may have taken these words as an insult, Osborne realized the wisdom of this advice and published "Academy Awards Illustrated" a book which led to his position at The Hollywood Reporter. And as we all know thies led to Osborne eventually becaming the official historian of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
An elegant and unassuming man, Osborne combines a startling facility with movie names, dates, and facts with the gift to tell a good story and the ability to be a gracious host. What a combination! Here's a very happy birthday wish for the man who is as welcome in the homes of classic film lovers as the films he introduces. And may there be many more!