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Robert Osborne, who started out as an actor, shifted to writing, and finally ended up as the primary host and onscreen presence on the Turner Classic Movies cable channel, passed away yesterday at age 84.

Osborne was the cable network's human version of a genius bar - a seemingly inexhaustible source of contextual information about the movies of the past, the actors and actresses many of us grew up with, and the studio system that allowed them to blossom. And, he was a significant voice for film preservation, understanding that cinema is an enduring popular art form that has helped define America (and the world) through the decades, and that one never should be casual or complacent about the importance of art.
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