“Hi, I’m Robert Osborne.”
After a long day of school, work, or life in general, there was nothing more comforting than hearing our beloved Turner Classic Movies host speak those words. There is nothing more heartbreaking than realizing we’ll never hear them again.
I don’t remember the exact moment Robert Osborne first graced my television screen, the movie he was introducing, or what he even said about it. What I do remember was how he made me feel. As a young girl who felt more at home watching Singin’ in the Rain than Saturday morning cartoons, seeing someone so enthusiastic about classic movies and the “useless information” about them—things I thought no one else cared about—was reassuring. I felt less alone.
Robert Osborne was my first film “professor” and his introductions and The Essentials were my first film school. As I watched TCM over the past 17 years, he not only introduced me to some of my favorite movies and stars, but he also compelled me to take a chance on movies and stars I never would have given a second thought. Robert Osborne’s segments never resembled a school lecture, however. His easygoing, personable demeanor made his lessons feel like you were catching up with an old friend.
It’s tough to have a passion for something others may not understand. For years, I struggled with being open about my passion for classic movies. Robert Osborne taught me that it’s okay to share that passion. As long as you’re enthusiastic and it means something to you, who cares what others think?
Seeing the outpouring of comments, tweets, essays, and stories people have been sharing illustrates the enormous impact Robert Osborne has had on classic movie fans. Whether you had met him or not, you knew he was exceptional.
I never had the honor of meeting Robert Osborne, nor had the guts to write him a letter (gosh, how I wish I did). If I had, I would have thanked him for his wisdom. His energy. For helping me feel accepted. And for his gift of sharing the legacy of classic movies with the world.