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Author Donald Bogle, one of the foremost authorities on African Americans in Hollywood, will receive the fourth annual Robert Osborne Award at the TCM Classic Film Festival in April, it was announced Wednesday.
The honor recognizes an individual who has helped keep the cultural heritage of classic film alive for future generations. The first three recipients were director Martin Scorsese, film preservationist Kevin Brownlow and author-historian Leonard Maltin.
Bogle pioneered the study of Black artists working in cinema and is the award-winning author of nine books, including the groundbreaking Toms, Coons, Mulattoes, Mammies, and Bucks: An Interpretive History of Blacks in American Films, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.
He also wrote 2019’s Hollywood Black: The Stars, The Films, The Filmmakers for TCM as well as a definitive 1999 biography of Dorothy Dandridge, the star of Carmen Jones (1954) and the first African American to be nominated for an Oscar in a lead acting category.
Bogle first appeared on TCM in 2006 as Osborne’s co-host for TCM’s 38-film series Race and Hollywood, which traced the depictions of African Americans in Hollywood from the silent period through the 1980s.
“For more than five decades, Donald Bogle has been shining a light on the influence Black artists have had on cinema since the dawn of the medium. There has been no more important historian for the contributions of African Americans in Hollywood, making him the perfect candidate for the Robert Osborne Award,” TCM host Ben Mankiewicz said in a statement.
“We have relied on his extensive film knowledge on air and at the festival for nearly 20 years, and I can confidently say that Bogle is the only writer I’ve worked with to have had a book optioned by Whitney Houston.”
(The late singer optioned the rights to the book and was initially set to play Dandridge in a production for Disney.)
Bogle will receive his award at the festival before a screening of Carmen Jones. The 14th annual event takes place April 13-16 in Hollywood.
The author, who also wrote 2007’s Brown Sugar: Over A Hundred Years of America’s Black Female Superstars and 2011’s Heat Wave: The Life and Career of Ethel Waters, has appeared often at the TCM fest, introducing films and conducting interviews with the likes of John Singleton, Nancy Kwan, Spike Lee, Richard Sherman, Louis Gossett Jr., Richard Roundtree and Katharine Houghton.
Osborne, the longtime columnist for The Hollywood Reporter, served as the primetime host and anchor of TCM for more than 22 years. He died in 2017.
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