Turner Classics Movie host Robert Osborne was born May 3, 1932 in Colfax, Washington. While most people know Osborne for his wonderful hosting duties on TCM (and before that on The Movie Channel), Osborne had a diverse career and started out as an actor before later focusing on writing and journalism.
One of his television roles was an appearance on the pilot for a TV series in 1962. There was a possibility of a regular role, but Osborne did not think that the series, The Beverly Hillbillies, would be much of a success. “The show itself seemed so loony and unimportant,” he later explained, adding, “I was sure the pilot would never sell.” Of course, the series then ran for nine seasons.
In the clip below, you may see a young Robert Osborne in that pilot episode of The Beverly Hillbillies. Check it out.
If that segment makes you want to see the entire episode, you watch the entire pilot below, “The Clampetts Strike Oil.”
Osborne has also explained that Lucille Ball, who had put him under contract at her studio, eventually encouraged him to pursue a career in writing instead of acting. She was impressed by his vast knowledge about the history of Hollywood.
Due to health reasons, Osborne has cut back on his work at TCM, and he recently announced he would not attend the TCM Classic Film Festival due to health issues. I do like Ben Mankiewicz, who has filled in for Osborne in a number of roles, although I miss seeing Osborne more often.
Anytime I watch a movie on TCM and Osborne or Mankiewicz do not appear before or after the movie, I feel like I am not getting my full money’s worth. Osborne has become a part of the life of anyone who watches classic movies since he introduced the first film the network aired, Gone With the Wind, on April 14, 1994.
For one, I’m glad that his career with The Beverly Hillbillies did not quite work out. We wish Osborne a happy birthday and good health.
Leave your two cents in the comments.
(Some related Chimesfreedom posts.)