Robert Osborne, the genial host of Turner Classic Movies, died on Monday. According to his obituary in The New York Times: “David Staller, a longtime friend, confirmed the death.” Towards the end is this carefully crafted sentence: “Mr. Osborne left no immediate family survivors.” I, among others, took issue directly with the public editor of The Times. It was reminiscent of obituaries of gay people decades ago. It seemed offensive. The Times responds:
We asked the writer of the obituary, Richard Sandomir, about the decision, and he said, “I reached out to David Staller and ultimately ‘close friend’ was how he said he wanted to be identified.”Osborne was 84 — Different era.