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We in the world of motion pictures have lost a very dear friend. Through Turner Classic Movies, Robert Osborne brought to the attention of a vast audience the work of hundreds of actors and actresses who otherwise would never have been seen in their signature roles. I count myself among them.
I first knew Robert when he was a handsome young actor in the ‘50s. I was awed by his friendships at that time with the most glamorous of the great female stars of the day, including Joan Crawford, Greer Garson and Bette Davis. There was something about Robert that they trusted. Those friendships lasted and resulted in Robert’s ability to speak about them in future years with a real knowledge of their lives and work — often information that no one else was privy to.
We all trusted Robert, and rightly so. He was never a gossip. A confidant? Yes. So when, in 2013, it came time for me to choose an individual who would introduce and present to me an honorary Oscar, my thoughts flew right to Robert — after all, nobody alive at the time better understood those wonderful early years — and that night our friendship was sealed.
Robert knew our triumphs and our failures and spoke knowledgeably of our movie lives. Why? Because he knew us intimately. We were his friends. And he never betrayed that friendship. He was also the ultimate fan — and the ultimate friend — and our friendship will ever endure in my memory always.
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