Mitzi Gaynor Remembers Robert Osborne: "He Is Irreplaceable"

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The star of Hollywood's Golden Age says of her friend, who died on Monday, "When Robert Osborne was on the air, you knew you were getting the truth."

I first became aware of Robert Osborne about 20 years ago when I discovered Turner Classic Movies, and I immediately liked him very much. The first thing that struck me was that he seemed like a nice man. Then I listened to him for a little while and it was clear he was no fool, either. And then I really knew he was something special when I'd turn on TCM and he wasn't there — I didn't like that at all. In other words, long before I ever actually knew him, he was like a friend.

I met Bob for the first time four years ago, and the first thing I said to him was, "I'm in love with you!" He turned a little red and said, "Oh, sure!" I said, "Do you understand what I mean? I'm in love with you!" He said, "Oh, you mean you love me?" I said, "No. I love you — but I'm also in love with you!" We had a good laugh. You know me — I just tell it like it is!

When Robert Osborne was on the air, you knew you were getting the truth. He didn't try to be anything that he wasn't, and he couldn't help but be what he was — a handsome, whip-smart, charming guy who was just wonderful with people, whether they were watching him through a screen or sitting in a room while he interviewed someone like me. He asked all the right questions — I remember saying after one, "Gee, no one's ever asked me that before," and he said, "C'mon," but it was true.

Ben Mankiewicz learned under Robert, and he'll do a great job carrying on his legacy. But I will miss Robert's presence and his choice of films. He is irreplaceable.