Bobby Rivers, who was best known for his hosting roles on the Food Network and VH1, has reportedly passed away at the age of 70.
According to WISN 12, RIvers was Milwaukee’s first black film critic on TV. He was a VJ on VH1 in 1985 with Rosie O’Donnell and hosted his talk show Watch Bobb RIvers in 1988. He then hosted Food Network’s Top 5 in the early 2000s.
Along with his hosting gigs, Bobby Rivers appeared in various TV shows, including The Sopranos and The Equalizer. He also had a role as an emcee in Identity Crisis in 1989.
Rivers further provided contributed segments for PM Magazine. Details about Rivers’ death have not been provided. Following the news of his passing, O’Donnell took to her Instagram to pay tribute to her former VH1 co-star. “IP bobby rivers – smart gay fabulous gay man i fell for in 1988 – when we would whisper homosexual secrets to each other – sure that this truth would ruin r careers – i love u bobby.”
Whoopie Goldberg also paid tribute to Bobby Rivers by writing, “All hail this pioneer Bobby Rivers… He brought SO much to the table. R I P Bobby.”
Bobby Rivers Once Opened Up About His Media Career’s Start
During an interview with Our Lives magazine, Bobby Rivers opened up about his media career’s start and how unexpected his success was.
“When I started, I was so nervous, you could hear the paper rattling in my hand,” Rivers explained. Among those whom he interviewed were Dolly Parton, Meryl Streep, Anne Rice, Shirley Mcclain, Whoopi Goldberg, RuPaul, Paul McCartney, and Sally Field.
Bobby Rivers also reflected on his childhood and how he didn’t exactly stand out. “ I was not the class clown,” he recalled. “I was an overweight, semi-popular kid. And I was shy. I was more of the class satirist. I used humor as a smoke screen. I was afraid of rejection.
He then recalled speaking to his parents about the lack of diversity on TV or film. “Both my parents loved old films. So they really cultivated and encouraged this in me. I was a kid in the civil rights era. You never saw black people talking about movies on television. You never saw black people hosting a TV show. And that was always in the back of my mind: why?”
Rivers, who had lived in Los Angeles since birth, added his first winter in Milwaukee was very different for him. “I’d never been in winter in my life. And I’d never been so cold in my life!”