On May 3, which would have been Osborne’s 89th birthday, AFI.com will unveil The Osborne Collection, a microsite — to be located at AFI.com/Osborne — featuring dozens of Osborne’s famously smart and genial TCM introductions. Thenceforth, anyone who wishes to hear Osborne’s take on many classic movies will be able to do so with just a few clicks.
For instance, people participating in this year’s virtual TCM Film Festival, which will run from May 6 through May 9, will be able to refer to The Osborne Collection to see how the man himself introduced seven films that will be screening as part of the fest: Bringing Up Baby, The Thin Man, The Best Years of Our Lives, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Top Hat, North by Northwest and the 1954 version of A Star Is Born.
Osborne’s connection to AFI began in 1977 when Olivia de Havilland invited him to escort her to the AFI Life Achievement Award ceremony for Bette Davis. The AFI Catalog of Feature Films was later one of Osborne’s primary references as he wrote books and eventually TCM intros.
To mark the unveiling of The Osborne Collection, The Hollywood Reporter — where Osborne worked from 1977 through 2009, writing the “Rambling Reporter” column from 1982 through 2009 — will post an in-depth conversation about Osborne’s life and legacy featuring TCM host Ben Mankiewicz, who worked alongside Osborne for many years, and yours truly, a columnist heavily focused on the Academy Awards, about which Osborne literally wrote the book(s). This dialogue will become accessible here on May 3 at 2pm PDT.
“Bob’s passion for classic film was contagious, and he generously shared that passion with the world,” Bob Gazzale, AFI’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “His pioneering tenure as TCM’s host best illustrated his encyclopedic knowledge of film history and made his name synonymous with thoughtful film introductions. With this new Collection, AFI celebrates his impact on the world of film scholarship — and ensures that Osborne’s spirit endures at AFI.”