Bobby Rivers, renowned television host and actor, passes away at 70

Bobby Rivers, a trailblasing television host, radio personality and actor, has died at the age of 70. The news of his passing was announced by Milwaukee’s WISN 12, the same station where Rivers made history as the city’s first Black film critic on television in 1979.

In a heartfelt Facebook post, Bobby’s sister, Betsy Rivers, confirmed his passing, stating, “Bobby passed away last night and is no longer in any pain.”

Rivers, a Marquette University graduate, was a multifaceted talent, contributing segments to the nationally syndicated PM Magazine, breaking stereotypes about Milwaukee. His influence extended to national platforms, where he hosted shows like Food Network’s Top 5 and VH1’s Watch Bobby Rivers.

Upon learning of his death, tributes poured in from industry peers, including Whoopi Goldberg and Katie Couric, who remembered him as a warm, funny, and intelligent personality. Mario Cantone, known for Sex and the City, shared a touching tribute, emphasising Rivers’ support and insightful nature.

Turner Classic Movies acknowledged Rivers’ impact, expressing sadness at the loss of the trailblazing television personality. Milwaukee native and Fox 6 reporter Gino Salomone praised Bobby’s wit and groundbreaking role as one of the first African Americans to host their own show.

The Wisconsin LGBTQ History Project, which interviewed Rivers earlier this year, thanked him for his contributions. As condolences flooded in, the organisation tweeted, “2023 has been a cruel, cruel year. Today, we say goodbye to Bobby Rivers (1953-2023.) We raise a martini to a pioneer who unapologetically broke all the rules.”

The cause of Bobby Rivers’ death has not been announced, leaving fans and colleagues mourning the loss of a true television pioneer.

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