I worked with the late Robert Osborne — not closely but editing-wise — during my time at the Hollywood Reporter in 1983 and ’84, back in the clackety-clack era of typewriters and white-out and red-ink pens. This was when the Reporter headquarters were on Sunset at the corner of Las Palmas…Tichi Wilkerson, Bruce Binkow, Lynn Segal, Jefferson Graham, Hedy Kleyweg, Jeff Ressner, Duane Byrge, Ruth Robinson, et. al.
Osborne wrote a daily column back then. He had a desk in the outer area, but now and then he’d saunter into the main news room and shoot the shit.
He got angry with us once when we mistakenly corrected what we thought was a misspelling of Michelle Pfeiffer‘s name, only to find out Bob was referring to some guy whose name was similarly spelled, Michael Pfeffer or something like that. He really let us have it, but then again we couldn’t reach him when we were debating what to do so it was at least partly on him.
The great Osborne passed last night at age 84, and I’m sorry. He was a good, sharp, amiable fellow who really knew his stuff. I loved his TCM summaries as much as the next guy, but he was best when he was off-camera and really spilling the beans among friends.
In an L.A. Times story Osborne’s partner of 20 years, David Staller, said two things — one, that Osborne died of natural causes in his sleep at home in New York City, and two, that “he made the choice to call it a day, and he wants everyone to know that he’ll see them at the after party.” Hold on…you can pass from (i.e., get taken out by) natural causes or you can choose to call it a day, but you can’t do both.