THE SHORTHAND VERSION:
Robert Osborne has been the primetime host and anchor of
the Peabody award winning TURNER CLASSIC MOVIES
television network since TCM made it's on-air debut in April
1994. He is also known as the official biographer of "Oscar"
because of a series of books he's written on the subject of the
motion picture industry's annual Academy Awards, his latest
being 80 YEARS OF THE OSCAR, an updated version of an
earlier edition and written at the request of the Academy of
Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He is also the host of the
annual TCM CLASSIC FILM FESTIVAL in Hollywood held at the
legendary Grauman's Chinese theatre and other festival
venues, a gathering of world-wide film enthusiasts which
launched in April 2010.
In 2005, Osborne was given an Honorary Doctorate from the
Academy of Art University in San Francisco. In 2006, he
received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame; in 2008,
he was presented the National Board of Review's William K.
Everson Award. In 2009 had the "pleasure" (?) of having a
Bobblehead made in his image. In 2010, he was honored in
the Grand Ballroom of New York's Plaza Hotel for his
contributions to preserving film history by Lighthouse
International. He has also been satirized five times on
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE: by Daryl Hammond as RO on Apr. 14,
2006, and by Jason Sudeikis as RO on Nov. 20, 2010,
Jan. 29, 2011, Mar. 5, 2011 and again later in 2011.
THE LONGER VERSION:
Robert O. was born in Colfax, Washington (population: 2700), graduated from the University of Washington's School of Journalism and eventually headed South to Hollywood where he was soon signed to a contract as an actor by Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz at their Desilu Studios. It was Lucy who encouraged him to seriously pursue writing ("especially after she saw me act," he says) and he considers that suggestion the best career advice he's ever been given. Lucy remained a friend and mentor to him until her death in 1989.
During his days as an actor, his credits include appearing in the pilot of the BEVERLY HILLBILLIES TV series, several movies including THE MAN WITH BOGART'S FACE, an episode of THE WHIRLYBIRDS directed by Robert Altman, a stage production produced by Lucy called THE DESILU REVUE, a two-year cross-country tour of a play GENERATION with Bob Cummings, and the first stage production of Paddy Chayefsky's THE LATENT HETEROSEXUAL directed by Burgess Meredith and starring Zero Mostel, done at the same theatre in Hollywood where, by a twist of fate, Osborne's Walk of Fame star now sits in the forecourt.
In addition to the numerous books he's written on the history
of the Academy Awards, for five years (2006-2010) he also
served as the official red carpet greeter for the Motion Picture
Academy at the annual Oscar ceremony at the Kodak theatre
in Hollywood. He also had a long association with the film
trade publication, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, joining the
staff there in 1977 and from 1982-2009 writing the paper's
daily column, "Rambling Reporter," in addition to reviewing
movies and Broadway plays for the paper, eventually reducing
his THR activities because of his increasing work schedule for
TURNER CLASSIC MOVIES, the same reason he later found it
necessary to curtail his red carpet activities in Hollywood on
Oscar night. From 2005-2010, he also hosted his own film
festival ROBERT OSBORNE'S CLASSIC FILM FESTIVAL annually
in Athens, Georgia, the home of the University of Georgia.
For TCM, in addition to hosting four primetime movies every night seven days per week, he also hosts special one-on-one PRIVATE SCREENING interviews which has so far included numerous legendary filmmakers such as Lauren Bacall, Angela Lansbury, Shirley MacLaine, three famous Janes (Fonda, Russell and Powell), the late Betty Hutton, Anthony Quinn, Jack Lemmon and Robert Mitchum, also producer Walter Mirisch and directors Sidney Lumet, Stanley Donen and Norman Jewison. He also co-hosts (currently with Alec Baldwin) TCM's on-going ESSENTIALS series of films considered to be "essential viewing" for anyone wanting a well-rounded knowledge of the best films ever made. Osborne also co-hosts TCM's GUEST PROGRAMMER franchise and it's new monthly half-hour NOW PLAYING: THE TV SHOW.
He also has recently appeared as a host-narrator with several
Symphony Orchestras around the country, including the
Hollywood Bowl Orchestra at the Hollywood Bowl in California;
with the National Symphony Orchestra at Wolf Trap in Vienna,
Virginia; the Boston Pops Orchestra at Symphony Hall in
Boston and at Tanglewood in Lenox, Mass.; with the Atlanta
Symphony Orchestra at the Chastain Park Amphitheatre and
at the Verizon Amphitheatre in Atlanta.
He has also hosted events at such venues as (in New York)
the Radio City Music Hall, Carnegie Hall, Town Hall,
City Center, Jazz at Lincoln Center's Rose theatre, Alice Tully
Hall, Lincoln Center's Walter Reed theatre, the Museum of
Modern Art, the Paley Center, the Academy Theatre at the
Lighthouse, the Directors Guild of America theatre and the
Ziegfeld theatre; (in Los Angeles) at Grauman's Chinese
theatre, the Egyptian theatre, the Music Box, the Academy's
Samuel Goldwyn theatre and the L.A. County Museum of Art
theatre; (in Washington D.C.) at the National Archives;
(in Chicago) at the Symphony Center Orchestra Hall, the
Music Box and the Drury Lane theatres; (in San Francisco)
at the Castro; (in Atlanta) at the Fox, the Rialto and the
the Plaza theatres; (in Philadelphia) at the Prince theatre;
(in Davenport) at the Adler theatre; (in Wichita) at the
Orpheum and the Warren theatres, (in Seattle) at the
Egyptian, SIFF Cinema Center and Harvard Exit theatres and
(in Florida) at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach, the
Four Arts Center in Palm Beach, the Van Wezel Performing
Arts Hall in Sarasota, the Riverside theatre in Vero Beach
and the Crest theatre in Delray Beach.
Osborne has lived in New York City since 1987 and also
travels extensively to Atlanta where he tapes his TCM
segments, to Los Angeles and - whenever he can swing it --
to his home state of Washington for family reunions and
where he is one of the investors in a movie theatre called
The Rose (158 seats) in Port Townsend, Washington, which
has since acquired a sister-theatre, the Rosebud (83 seats).
He is also an avid collector of movie posters. Little known RO
fact: he spent two years in the Air Force as a Lieutenant.
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