Bobby Rivers (1953-2023)


Jim Spellman / WireImage

By Armando Tinoco | Deadline

Bobby Rivers, an entertainment reporter and television personality on the Food Network and VH1, has died. He was 70.

ABC affiliate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, WISN 12, shared the news about Rivers. The on-air host joined the station in 1979 “as the city’s first Black film critic on television.”

Rivers died on Tuesday, Dec. 26, with his sister, Betsy Rivers, confirming his death in a Facebook post, writing, “Bobby passed away last night and is no longer in any pain.”

He graduated from Marquette University in the 1970s and went on to be one of the VJs from VH1 in the 80s.

Rivers also hosted a series of Food Network specials with a show titled Top 5.

“Sticky buns, deep-fried candy bars, TV dinners and $20,000 cakes. From quirky to outrageous, Top 5 pays homage through food to the Top 40 countdown shows each generation has grown to love,” reads the show’s description on the network’s website. “Join host Bobby Rivers on his colorful trips back in time to see how your favorite treats made it to the American Bandstand of food.”

According to his IMDB page, Rivers also made on-screen appearances on shows like The Equalizer, The Sopranos and The Onion.

Actor and writer Gregory G. Allen paid tribute to Rivers in a Facebook post writing, “I am so sad to hear of the passing of Bobby Rivers. Bobby was more than just a tv personality with several shows he hosted. He was an amazing person: funny, kind, joyful, a bright light to so many on social media & life – and a walking encyclopedia of film & tv knowledge. I’m so lucky to have counted him as a friend for over a decade.”

Film critic Stephen Whitty took to X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, to express his condolences as well.

“A mutual friend just told me @BobbyRiversTV has passed. Bobby was a very funny, very knowledgeable journalist, and a tireless advocate for more diversity, particularly in the classic film world. (His piece on race and “It’s a Wonderful Life” was a keeper.) I miss him already,” Whitty wrote.