Bobby Rivers of VH1 and Food Network Dies at 70

Bobby Rivers of VH1 and Food Network Dies at 70: Bobby Rivers, recognized for his roles as an actor, TV host, and radio figure, passed away at 70 years old.
WISN 12 in Milwaukee, where Rivers notably became the city’s first Black television film critic, confirmed his demise in a report updated on Wednesday.
In 1985, he took on the role of a VJ on VH1, sharing the screen with Rosie O’Donnell, and launched his celebrity talk show, “Watch Bobby Rivers,” in 1988. Additionally, Rivers hosted the Food Network’s “Top 5” series during the early 2000s.

Bobby Rivers of VH1 and Food Network Dies at 70

On the acting front, he portrayed a news journalist in the first and third seasons of “The Sopranos” and assumed the character of Chris Perley in the inaugural season of “The Equalizer.” He also featured as an emcee in the 1989 comedic film “Identity Crisis.”
Rivers’ last known acting appearance was between 2008 and 2009, making guest appearances in two episodes of the satire-driven sketch show “The Onion.”

According to reports, Rivers pursued film journalism and communications at Marquette University in Milwaukee.
Additionally, he lent his talents to “PM Magazine,” a widely syndicated television series focused on news and entertainment that aired from the late 1970s to the 1980s. As highlighted by WISN, Rivers expressed that the program played a pivotal role in showcasing Milwaukee beyond mere stereotypes.
Condolences and tributes from the entertainment world continue to emerge as colleagues and peers remember Bobby Rivers.

Whoopi Goldberg shared a heartfelt tribute on Instagram, posting a photo alongside Rivers with the caption, “Remembering the trailblazer Bobby Rivers… His contributions were immense. Rest in peace, Bobby.”
Katie Couric also expressed her sorrow, stating on X, previously known as Twitter, “It’s deeply saddening news. Bobby was not only a remarkable individual but also exuded warmth, humor, and intelligence.”

Milwaukee-born critic Gino Salomone expressed his grief for Rivers on X, remarking on Wednesday how Rivers’ “keen intellect and knack for posing unique questions to celebrities truly distinguished him.”
Salomone added, “As one of the initial African Americans to helm his own program, ‘Watch Bobby Rivers’ on VH1, his legacy is undeniable and will be deeply felt.”

As reported by Wisconsin’s LGBTQ publication, Our Lives Wisconsin, in their July interview with Rivers, the TV personality engaged in conversations with notable figures ranging from Goldberg and Dolly Parton to Meryl Streep, RuPaul, Paul McCartney, and Sally Field. Describing Rivers, the outlet honored him as “a pioneering figure in Milwaukee’s Black and queer media landscape.”
Details regarding the cause of his passing remain undisclosed at this time.

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