So on this day of reflection I say again, thank you for going on this journey with me. I’ll see you at the movies. -Roger Ebert, April 2, 2013

Forty-six years ago on April 3, 1967, Roger Ebert became the film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times. The journalist, famed film critic and screenwriter, died on Thursday in Chicago at the age of 70 years old, losing an excruciatingly long 11-year battle with cancer.

For almost five decades, Ebert wrote and critiqued film at the newspaper, simultaneously reviewing the motion arts on television for 31 years. He was, undoubtedly, the world’s most prominent and influential film critic. A pioneer, Ebert was the first film critic to garner the Pulitzer Prize.

In 1981, his movie review show with Gene Siskel (he passed away from complications of a brain tumor surgery at age 53, in 1999) was renamed At the Movies. In 1986, it evolved into Siskel and Ebert and The Movies and moved to Disney, where Ebert invented the über-famous “thumbs up/thumbs down” rating system. When the show was nationally syndicated, I would never miss it, watching it religiously on ABC, at 7:30pm on Saturday evenings. It was ritual, it cemented my love for film, and was a consummate companion and accessory guide to my film-going journey. It also introduced me to the notion and art of the critique. It was a half-an-hour of film school each weekend.

In 2002, Ebert was diagnosed with cancer of the thyroid and salivary gland. Part of his lower jaw had to be removed in 2006, losing the ability to eat or speak. Even with his sickness, Ebert continued to review movies. In addition, he was a prolific tweeter and blogger. The term “courageous” is too regularly bandied about, but the staunch liberal and democrat was fearless. He seemingly became more vocal, refusing to let his illness or physical deformity hold him back. In recent years, he had even become a humanitarian voice, of sorts, voicing his opinions on all realms of our social fabric.

Roger Ebert is survived by his wife Chaz Ebert. Our condolences go out to his family, friends and fans. He is already missed.

Two thumbs up, Roger, see you at the movies…






ebert 1 In 1975 Roger Ebert became the first film critic to win the Pulitzer Prize Roger Ebert 02 Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert 01 Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert 03