Here's the Facebook post by his friend Nick Santa Maria:
It's my extremely sad duty to report the passing of one of my dearest friends, Bob Birchard. He passed away peacefully last night at the age of 66 from complications from a heart attack.
Bob was my first "film historian friend" in Los Angeles. Back in 2006 I was at a very crowded Christmas party in Venice, CA. It was literally packed to the rafters. To my right was a kind faced bald man who immediately introduced himself. Since I had just read his excellent book on Cecil B. DeMille, I recognized his name right away. He was impressed and always told me that THAT is what cemented our friendship. Well, it was more than that. Bob would come to my home very often for homemade Italian food and screenings of great films. He sometimes slept after dinner while I watched alone, but I didn't mind. His awake times made it well worth it.
He was an extraordinary film historian. I think he knew more about the subject than anyone I know.
Bob always supported my career. He came to practically every show I did. He was also one of the big champions of my show, REAL MEN, the musical. He came to see it 3 times, bringing different people with him each time. He always told me that he was intent on getting it the attention it deserved. That was like winning a Tony to me. He was true blue...a devoted friend, and a great companion. And though he was famous for not returning people's phone calls, he returned every one of mine. I was proud of that.
I last saw him when we dined at Paty's in Toluca Lake about 2 weeks ago. I wish I would have given him a hug when we said goodbye.
Farewell, my dear brother. I always called out to him as Jack Benny whenever I saw him, "OH BOB!"..and he would answer, "Yes, Jack?"
Someday we'll do that again. Sleep well, my dear friend. I miss you already.