Film Critic and Author Roger Ebert (1942-2013)

EbertAfter a lengthy battle with cancer, Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic and author Roger Ebert has died at age 70.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, where he had been reviewing movies for 46 years, Ebert died in his hometown of Chicago after a decade-long battle with cancers of the thyroid and salivary gland, a struggle that included the loss of his lower jaw in 2006.

The first film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize, Ebert continued to review films and write books during his illness, even after losing the ability to speak or eat. As the Chicago Sun-Times put it, Ebert "passionately celebrated and promoted excellence in film while deflating the awful, the derivative, or the merely mediocre with an observant eye, a sharp wit and a depth of knowledge that delighted his millions of readers and viewers."

In addition to reviewing movies and writing movie guides, Ebert appeared on television for more than thirty years, including twenty-three years as co-host (with Gene Siskel) of Siskel & Ebert at the Movies. He was also a prolific author, and in his most recent book, Life Itself: A Memoir, he detailed his rise to the top ranks of Hollywood journalism; his struggle with and recovery from alcoholism; his friendships with people such as Studs Terkel and Oprah Winfrey; and finally his surgeries and the loss of his voice.

EbertKnown for his wit, his candid opinions of films (and actors), and his love of good food and a good dinner party, Ebert was an irascible bon vivant. Other book titles include Your Movie Sucks and The Great Movies II.

But above all, he was devoted to his craft, and loved his job.

From Life Itself: "I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn't always know this, and am happy I lived long enough to find it out."

Ebert's reviews were syndicated in more than 200 newspapers and the Online Film Critics Society named his website the best online movie review site.

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Comments (7)

I was so saddened to find out about his passing, and just 2 days after his "leave of presence" article...

Posted by: Bookworm Chick | Friday April 5, 2013 at 3:14 AM

The final curtain call on a virtuoso of film criticism. I grew up listening to his ideas and while I ultimately made up my own mind to screen a film or not, I, nonetheless appreciated his feedback. My prayers go out to his family. Rest in Peace.

Posted by: Abel T. | Friday April 5, 2013 at 11:22 AM

What a wonderful man. What power he had....being sick & still continuing in his life's work. Now if this is not wonderful, I do not know what else to say. Powerful, just powerful. Gives me a sense of inspiration, in continuing my work.

Posted by: Clare | Saturday April 6, 2013 at 6:07 PM

You'll be missed, Roger!

Posted by: Frank | Saturday April 6, 2013 at 9:47 PM

he was the nicest man that i met at the toronto film festival so sad he has gone best wishes to his family!

Posted by: Pam Franks | Sunday April 7, 2013 at 3:43 PM

Worked with Roger in college. I always knew he would do something great. A brilliant wit,

Posted by: Penelope Ditton | Sunday April 7, 2013 at 6:15 PM

So incredibly sad. I watched him and Siskel for years. Didn't always agree everything Roger Ebert said about a movie, but came pretty close.

He always seemed like such a genuinely nice man too.

Posted by: Graciella | Thursday April 11, 2013 at 12:19 AM

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