Bob Dorian, Genial Guide to Old Films on AMC, Is Dead at 85


Bob Dorian, who displayed his lifelong zest for outdated Hollywood movies because the easygoing prime-time host of the American Movie Classics cable channel for practically 20 years, died on June 15. He was 85.

His daughter Melissa Parish confirmed the loss of life however didn’t specify the trigger or say the place he died. He had been dwelling in Palm Coast, Fla.

Mr. Dorian joined AMC in 1984 and was its undisputed star for about 16 years, till the channel changed its focus to original series like “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad.” He preceded by a decade the arrival of Robert Osborne as the favored host at the rival channel Turner Classic Movies. Mr. Osborne died in 2017.

Working from a comfy set with a smattering of Hollywood trinkets, Mr. Dorian launched movies from the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s, providing anecdotes that fed the appetites of film lovers with recollections of revered classics, B-movies and serials.

A gifted raconteur, he instructed tales — how the director Frank Capra had pitched James Stewart on starring in “It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946), the trouble Orson Welles had wearing the peg leg he used when he portrayed Long John Silver in “Treasure Island” (1972).

Mr. Dorian was extra a well-informed fan than a film historian, as his enthusiasm for the movies he mentioned made clear.

“The reason they hired me,” he instructed The Washington Post in 1998, “is there aren’t too many films that I don’t like. I can say something good about most of them.”

Mr. Dorian was an actor and magician whose position as Dracula in a business for a online game within the early 1980s led to the AMC job. The producer of the business, who had moved on to AMC, prompt that Mr. Dorian audition for the host job. He was initially employed for six months.

“I never realized it was going to last 10 years,” he instructed The Herald-News of New Jersey in 1994. It went on to last more than that.

“He was unequivocally the face of AMC,” Joshua Sapan, the president and chief govt of AMC Networks, mentioned in a cellphone interview. “He was a portal through which we all followed.”

Robert Paul Vierengel (he modified his identify professionally within the 1950s) was born on April 19, 1934, in Manhattan and raised in Brooklyn at a time when film followers flocked to ornate cinema palaces. He went as ceaselessly as he may, beginning at age 7 or eight, typically staying all day for as little as a dime.

“When I was 9, I went for my first suit,” he recalled in an interview in 1995 with The Baltimore Sun. “I wanted a black suit and my father said, ‘Why do you want a black suit?’ I said, ‘It looks like a tuxedo, I’ll look like Fred Astaire.’ ”

As a youngster he labored as a theater usher. That allowed him to see “Cyrano de Bergerac” (1950), starring José Ferrer, 86 instances by his depend.

It took him a long time to discover his method to AMC: He was a magician, a bass participant, a disc jockey on radio stations within the New York City space and an actor who did business voice-overs.

In his years at AMC, he got here to perceive that the half he performed in reviving the flicks he and his viewers adored had made a cultural impression.

“I think I made some sort of contribution, in a small way, to society,” he instructed The Herald-News.

In addition to his daughter Melissa, he’s survived by his spouse, Jane (Stack) Dorian; two different daughters, Jane and Robin Dorian; and two grandchildren.

Mr. Dorian continued performing whereas working at AMC. His credit included a task in a number of episodes of “Remember WENN,” the community’s first authentic scripted sequence, a couple of radio station in Pittsburgh within the 1930s, and both Uncle Henry and the Winkie general in a production of “The Wizard of Oz” at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in 1998. He additionally understudied Mickey Rooney because the Wizard.

After leaving AMC, Mr. Dorian acted within the Woody Allen movies “The Curse of the Jade Scorpion” (2001) and “Hollywood Ending” (2002). He additionally appeared in regional theater productions, amongst them “Funny Girl” at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, N.J., in 2001, by which he performed the Broadway impresario Flo Ziegfeld.



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