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TCM host Robert Osborne taking a three-month break for surgery, vacation

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Osborne recently hosted a show with Liza Minnelli. CREDIT: TCM

Atlanta-based TCM host Robert Osborne is taking a three-month break from duties at the network for unspecified minor surgery and a well-deserved vacation, the network announced today.

Osborne recently signed a multi-year agreement with TCM.

Given that he has pre-taped a lot of material, he won’t disappear from the network. Otherwise, there will be guest programmers. Actor Robert Wagner will be around this week. Jane Powell, then Tippi Hedren will follow. TCM has not finalized future guest hosts.

Obsorne, a renowned film historian, has been the network’s host since 1994.

Join my Facebook fan page and Twitter.

By Rodney Ho, rho@ajc.com, AJCRadioTV blog

25 comments Add your comment

Melody M

July 12th, 2011
1:05 am

Robert, You are the “classic” in TCM. Take the time you need to get better and relax on vacation. We will continue to enjoy all the wonderful movies on TCM and support the guest hosts that will be graciously keeping your spot warm. All the TCM movie lovers will be thinking of you and sending good thoughts your way as you rest and heal. We’ll keep the TV on looking for your handsome face and bright smile. warm regards, Melody M

Lorraine

July 14th, 2011
12:14 am

Robert, I’ll be praying that your surgery goes well and that you enjoy your vacation. We all will look forward to your returning smile and wisdom.

Brian W

July 14th, 2011
1:22 am

I wish the best for Robert, hope the best for his recovery, and that he returns to TCM soon. When it comes to classic film his enthusiasm is only exceeded by this knowledge.

KJill

July 14th, 2011
1:26 am

Get better soon Robert – we’ll miss you. You ARE TCM !!!

Ingrid Robertson

July 15th, 2011
10:51 am

Great deal of respect for you, Robert. What a warm and winning personality you have! Love the guest hosts you have lined up, RW, JP, TH. Try to get Kim Novak! When will I see Ben being a guest choosing some movies and both of you talking to each other, instead of to us. Would be really interesting to see how comfortable you two are with each other. One of my very favorite movies which I’ve never seen on TCM is “Magnificent Obsession” with Jane Wyman and Rock Hudson. Is it at all possible to get this on air? Also, the Bette Davis movies starting in the 1940’s which you haven’t had on TCM. Thank you so much, Robert, and my very good wishes. Ingrid R from Tysons, Virginia

Carlestlene Johnson

July 17th, 2011
9:37 pm

Mr. Osborne,
Every night I look forward to seeing you host TCM and to give us those little know facts about the movies and the stars of yester year. Please know that as a fan of yours my prayers are with you. You deserve this well earned rest and recuperation. Take time to heal. Your audience will be waiting for you. I remain. A Fan

Tom Evans

July 19th, 2011
1:46 am

“we’ll miss you. You ARE TCM !!!”
This guy got it absolutely RIGHT!

Our prayers will be with you…enjoy your respite.

Barry Wright

July 20th, 2011
9:57 am

Dear Robert, you bring us back to the golden American age when manners and civility were the norm, you embody the best features of our hopefully only temporarily lost greatness yourself. Please take your time but
get well and strong. If I may, I’d like to suggest a daily 2 oz. of fresh wheatgrass juice to
maintain your health and rebuild your system. Thousands of us are praying for you, so
I believe you will be better than ever when you return.

Barbara and Gary Jentoft

July 20th, 2011
10:21 pm

Have missed you on TCM. Hope your surgery goes well and also hope you can ENJOY your well deserved vacation. We like your guest hosts, (Tippi Hedren is a cousin of my cousins from Minnesota) but will be looking forward to your return.

J.Osborne

July 20th, 2011
11:21 pm

Dear Robert Osborne, You are the pentultimate gentleman and if we worry it is only because it is easy to imagine you as a family friend and we wish you great health for many years to come. I’ve learned many facts of favorite movies that had evaded me before and therefore imagine people around the world watching a favorite B & W with more dimension and thank you for that. You are informative without being intrusive and as of the success of TCM we must include you as one of Hollywood’s Treasures. Truly and Sincerely, a quick recovery and return to strength so we may enjoy your insights for years to come. I the meantime we will enjoy your guest hosts and your abbreviated very sincere abbreviated schedule.

Tracy C.

July 21st, 2011
11:39 am

Mr. Osborne – Watching TCM has not been the same without you! I hope your surgery goes well and you get some much deserved R&R!

Thank you for your passion and knowledge of classic films!

Tracy C.
Texas

Stephanie K

July 21st, 2011
8:08 pm

Dear Robert, Best wishes for a good outcome for your surgery and good health. Please enjoy your well-deserved vacation. We will miss seeing you at Wolf Trap next Saturday, when the National Symphony Orchestra accompanies ‘Casablanca,’ but we understand! I look forward to again seeing you daily on TCM next fall. Your thoughtful comments are the best part of TCM.

Mike Ward

July 23rd, 2011
11:23 pm

Hi there!

Not just in print, but even his current guest host, Jane Powell, is using the worn phrase, “well-deserved vacation,” to describe Bob Osborne’s surprise leave of absence from TCM. The guy spends two days every two months taping his movie intros in Atlanta–that’s it! Who wouldn’t deserve a vacation busting it like Bob O does 12 days a year? What’s wrong with you, Ho, huh? Please dispense with the cliche’d nonsense…

As to the “minor surgery” bit–if it’s so “minor,” why all the secrecy and the “Q-T–hush, hush” treatment from TCM and pandering moron writers like you, Hoo–er, Ho? Is the lip-lock a gambit to fuel speculation and a blogging buzz? Is it possible that TCM wants to learn to what extent Osborne will be missed should his leave be extended to a permanent absence? Why wouldn’t they want to know the age and gender of those who miss him most?–especially if they want to attract younger viewers and those who angonize over the parade of musicals on Bob’s “film picks” nights…

Rodney Ho

July 24th, 2011
12:36 pm

@Mike Ward A little angry, aren’t you? “Pandering moron writers like you”? Honestly, I did take the press release at face value because I don’t think it’s worth my time to question it otherwise. Sure, he could be sicker than they are conveying but does it matter that much in the grand scheme of things? And sure, his job isn’t exactly construction work but he is good at what he does. Why be so mean about it?

Terry W

July 24th, 2011
8:18 pm

I have noticed for some months now (as I’m sure everyone else has) that Mr Osbourne has gotten much thinner in appearance. And he’s also been sitting recently rather than standing. So something with his health has been very fatiguing and also having him lose weight. I wonder if it’s a little bit of cancer? Very few people his age get thru life without some sort of cancer scare.
It’s a good thing to hear that TCM has signed him for several more years, so it appears that his recovery is expected.

what’s wonderful about Osbourne’s hosting is that he provides much historical information involving the movies–their production, the stars, etc. And that’s what I love about TCM is that it deals with the history of film, not just a modern video junkbox to run film after film without showing why it’s a good film or knowing the creation about the films.

I was hoping that Robert Wagner would also provide some historical insight into some of the films he introduced. He is one of few remaining actors still alive from when the studios were the bosses.

Another aspect of why we probably love the old movies is that it was a reflection of a different time. Seemingly a more civilized time, certainly one more polite. Watching these old movies is also a way to examine the history of America at that time period–clothing, language, architecture, etc. To learn where we are headed, we need to learn where we came from. Studying what’s in the movies helps me to understand where we came from and where we can be going. It is increasinly hard to consider great movies in this day and modern age. But Hollywood of the 30’s and 40’s also cranked out thousands of “b” movies and pretty senseless ones, too.

As with everyone else, I sincerely hope Mr Osbourne overcomes his “health problem” whatever it may be. God bless him for his strength, his knowledge, and devotion to old Hollywood.

chicagosue

July 25th, 2011
5:38 pm

As a “classic” movie fan, I’ve been grateful to Robert and TCM for the showing of films from past eras on cable TV. As many others, I noticed a change, both in Robert and in the nature of the film venues that have been offered perhaps as attempts to broaden the classic fillm audience.

Since I find the caliber of offerings on much of television and film to be seriously lacking appeal to me, I have “visited” TCM many evenings, and find Robert’s film narratives to be quite fascinating, which adds interest to noting certain aspects of films as these are viewed. Sometimes, though my interest is minimal in the film selections, Robert’s comments will “hook” me into watching a film I might otherwise have missed, and I find I often enjoy a film that I didn’t anticipate liking at all.
I suspect that other fans may be likewise enticed by Mr. Osborne’s knowledge of film background and trivia.

So, while I’m enjoying seeing the stand in guest hosts, especially Ms Powell, I wish Robert Osborne the best, and hope that his “break” will accomplish what he hopes, and that his fans will learn much more in many years to come.

Alice G.

July 25th, 2011
11:46 pm

I remember the first time that I tuned in to TCM. I was so amazed and happy to have found this wonderful channel . I worried for a long while that someone was going to take it away. Here we are all these years later and still going strong and loving it and looking forward to it just as much as I did in the beginning. You are my friend Robert whether you want to be or not. I would like to thank you for all the pleasure you have brought to me and my granddaughter, who has learned about the “Golden Age” and loves the musicals mostly. Our thanks go to TCM too who picked the perfect host. I will be looking forward to seeing you when you return and in the meantime please be well and as happy as you have made all of us. Really enjoyed seeing Jane Powell. I never miss her movies.

Mary D.

July 28th, 2011
1:05 am

Robert hope and pray you are well, enjoy your much needed time off, even though I miss you very much. Hurry back to us. God bless you. Mary

TCM Fan

July 28th, 2011
2:52 pm

I think Mr. Osborne is the perfect host for the type of programming that TCM has; I think that his demeanor, background, and knowledge add so much to the channel.
Thank you Rodney for letting us know what is up with Robert, and I wish him a restful vacation and a speedy recovery from his surgery.
As a reminder, Robert is 79 years old, and we aren’t privy to any health issues he might have; perhaps 12 days of work IS taxing, we can’t know, and to post such mean-spirited comments (”Mike Ward”) is really petty, juvenile, and ignorant.

Kevin

July 29th, 2011
11:21 pm

I don’t think that recording the intros and outros (however long it may take to record) for TCM represents the limits of Mr. Osborne’s duties for TCM–didn’t he participate in a TCM film festival in Hollywood recently? I have heard many of his interviews, some of these unedited before being edited for television, run two hours or longer. Robert Osborne is a valued voice in my life and I hope he can relax and recharge well–the world is poorer without him!

Paula Gjerstad

July 30th, 2011
12:31 pm

I, too, was delighted to find TCM with commercial-free wonderful old movies, and a host who knows all kinds of illuminating stories about the planning and making of them. I enjoy his interviews with stars from the old days talking about their experiences. People get to retire with full Social Security at 65 (those Robert’s age), and at 79 he is way past that. So it’s definitely not surprising that he could be suffering from something, anything. As someone who welcomes him into my kitchen on a daily basis and listens to his stories with fascination, I wish him a good rest, successful resolution of whatever his health problem is, and welcome back to my kitchen ASAP.

RALB BERTOLUCCI

July 30th, 2011
8:30 pm

Enter your comments here WHAT EVER THE HEALTH CONCERNS MR OSBORN IS DEALING WITH HE HAS THE PRAYERS OF MANY OF US THAT ADMIRE MR OSBORN’S WORK ON TCM. I WISH FOR A SPEEDY RECOVERY SO THAT HE WILL FEEL GOOD AND RETURN TO TCM FOR MANY YEARS TO COME.
I HAVE NOT BEEN VERY IMPRESSED WITH THE GUEST HOSTS THAT TCM HAS USED SO FAR. IF ANYONE IN TCM’s BRAIN TRUST READS THIS COMMENTS, I SUGGEST TCM UTILIZE FORMER AMC HOSTS NICK CLOONEY AND BOB DORIAN.

VINNIE

July 31st, 2011
4:05 am

JUST NOT THE SAME WATCHING TCM WITHOUT ROBERT TELLING YOU ABOUT THE MOVIE MISS HEARING HIS VOICE ,BUT WISHING FOR HIM TO HAVE A FAST RECOVERY SO WE CAN ALL SEE HIM AGAIN ON THE AIR…….TCM NEEDS YOU ROBERT AND SO DO WE..
GET WELL SOON CONSTANT VIEWER

Gayle Haffner

July 31st, 2011
11:53 am

Hello, Mr. Osborne, I join TCM and film friends above in sending best wishes and prayers for your recuperation. I hope my news in this post will encourage you in anticipation of a parcel I’ll be sending you in a few weeks.

After 12 long years of research (and my own family eldercare duties) I have finished the only authorized biography of actress ZaSu Pitts! Her story has needed a good airing for a very long time and when I interviewed her son, Don Gallery, for some length in 1999, I was so pleased at his interest and support. In approximately a month (late Aug.-early Sept.) Outskirts Press, Inc. will have my book on ZaSu ready for ordering, a copy of which I’d like to send you trusting your office will forward it to your home. Famous for her fluttery hand and arm movements, but unheralded for her dozens of quiet charities, it only seemed appropriate that her biography be titled:
HANDS With a HEART: The Personal Biography of Actress ZaSu Pitts (c.2011)

This is a library-quality reference for its indices (indexes) as well as the telling of her personal rise from poverty to being an international favorite. Over 700 references were used including Court records, Presidential libraries and FBI records. I left no stone unturned, including her family history dating back to 1836, the year of her father’s birth and the important correlation of the Pitts and Shay family values and their influence on the woman ZaSu became.

Readers will also be pleasingly surprised at the incredible comparisons between Miss Pitts and her modern-day counterpart, the astounding singer Susan Boyle, to whom the book is lovingly dedicated! If classic filmgoers have not yet discovered Miss Boyle’s music, they will want to follow her own saga on the internet and in her own autobiography, The Woman I Was Born To Be (c.2010). If you need a tidbit of Susanisms, contemplate this thoughtful tribute to Susan Boyle from one of her major fans from France: “Miss Boyle’s music will reveal your pain, then proceed to heal it.” — I could go on and on about Susan Boyle would need an entirely separate page if I kept on!

Returning to ZaSu, however — she also had taken early Hollywood by storm during the silent film era and with the advent of Talkies, she and her neighbor and friend, Shirley Temple, offered American filmgoers the best in HAPPY entertainment, melting away their Depression Era Blues. Readers of ZaSu’s HWAH bio will also discover new revelations regarding Louise Fazenda, Madge Meredith, Ben Lyon, Barbara La Marr, Jackie Cooper, Thelma Todd, Nancy Davis Reagan and many more national figures.

Furnished in the back of the book are complete listings for films, radio, TV, stage productions, monologues, and vaudeville. The main manuscript, however, is written for the average filmgoer, with an emphasis on the actual words and humor of actress Pitts herself. And Don Gallery’s input and referrals assisted in obtaining propriatory information from first-hand witnesses never before associated with his mother.

My thanks to you also, Mr. Osborne, for hosting the most popular film network on cable television. With the aid of watching dozens of ZaSu’s vintage films on your network, I was able to glean even more information regarding her body of work than has been previously noted by historians. From her landmark silent film, GREED, up to her smashing success as Gale Storm’s co-star on TV’s OH! SUSANNA (1956-60), ZaSu entertained 3 generations of movie fans. It is with considerable humility that I also include cover blurbs of endorsements from comedy actress Ann B. Davis, and the co-founders of the Gale Storm Appreciation Society, Ron Baker and Edd Bayes.

So, watch your mailbox Mr. O. for your book on ZaSu: I trust it is just the Good Medicine that will, indeed, perk you up!

Candice McAfee

August 1st, 2011
1:28 am

I suppose he did an OK job , in his day , but all the little tidbits I have read before on wikipedia , nothing new .Also TCM should put more CC under the movies not Bobs dialogue. The same movies are shown over and over . I much more enjoy watching my “classics from netflix amazing selection .