Bobby Rivers, pathbreaking TV host and film critic, dies at 70… as tributes roll in from stars including Whoopi Goldberg and Katie Couric

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Written By Maya Cantina
  • Rivers’ sister announced his death on Wednesday on Facebook
  • He broke barriers as Milwaukee’s first televised Black film critic
  • Rivers later graduated to hosting shows on VH1 and Food Network 

Bobby Rivers, the popular film critic–turned–talk show host, has died at the age of 70.

Rivers broke barriers as Milwaukee’s first Black film critic to have a regular presence on television, and he went on to have high-profile hosting gigs on Food Network and VH1, including his eponymous talk show Watch Bobby Rivers.

WISN revealed that Rivers had died on Tuesday in Minneapolis.

His sister confirmed his death on Wednesday in a Facebook that was subsequently deleted or set to private, writing that ‘Bobby passed away last night and is no longer in any pain,’ via Variety.

The late host was honored on social media by his friends and admirers, including The View co-host Whoopi Goldberg, Katie Couric and Sex And The City’s Mario Cantone. 

Bobby Rivers, the popular film critic–turned–talk show host, has died at the age of 70. He broke barriers as Milwaukee’s first Black televised film critic before graduating to host shows on Food Network and VH1; seen in 2002 in New York City

Rivers died on Tuesday in Minneapolis, according to WISN. Celebrity hosts, journalists and actors paid tribute to him, including Whoopi Goldberg and Katie Couric; seen in 2008 in NYC

Rivers died on Tuesday in Minneapolis, according to WISN. Celebrity hosts, journalists and actors paid tribute to him, including Whoopi Goldberg and Katie Couric; seen in 2008 in NYC

‘All hail this pioneer Bobby Rivers… He brought SO much to the table. R I P Bobby,’ Goldberg shared on Instagram with a years-old photo of herself and Rivers beaming next to each other.

Couric wrote that she was ‘so sad to hear this’ in a post on X (formerly known as Twitter).

‘Bobby was a terrific guy and wonderfully warm, funny and smart,’ she added.

Cantone’s post on X included a black-and-white photo of a young Rivers.

‘Rest in peace Bobby. You were such a wonderful supportive intelligent insightful man. You will be missed,’ he shared.

The legendary Village Voice columnist Michael Must referenced Rivers’ status as an LGBTQ icon.

‘Bobby Rivers was an openly gay trailblazer. He was funny, campy, knowledgeable and groundbreaking,’ he gushed on social media.

'All hail this pioneer Bobby Rivers… He brought SO much to the table. R I P Bobby,' Goldberg shared on Instagram with a years-old photo of herself and Rivers beaming next to each other

‘All hail this pioneer Bobby Rivers… He brought SO much to the table. R I P Bobby,’ Goldberg shared on Instagram with a years-old photo of herself and Rivers beaming next to each other

Couric wrote that she was 'so sad to hear this' in a post on X (formerly known as Twitter). 'Bobby was a terrific guy and wonderfully warm, funny and smart,' she added

Couric wrote that she was ‘so sad to hear this’ in a post on X (formerly known as Twitter). ‘Bobby was a terrific guy and wonderfully warm, funny and smart,’ she added

Katie CouricWhoopi Goldberg

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