CHICAGO—(ENEWSPF)—April 4, 2013. Chicago’s beloved film critic, Roger Ebert died today after a long battle with cancer. He was 70 years old.
The Chicago Sun-Times described Ebert as “the nation’s most prominent and influential film critic.” He was the first film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Ebert had been a film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times since 1967. He also hosted a long-running television program alongside the late Gene Siskel until 1999. Following Siskel’s death in 1999, Ebert teamed with his Sun-Times colleague Richard Roeper to continue the television program. Ebert was known for his famous thumbs up or thumbs down trademark which had the power to influence a movie’s success or failure.
In his 1998 parody collection ‘Mad About the Movies,’ he discussed his early influences in film critiquing. Ebert wrote, “I learned to be a movie critic by reading ‘Mad’ magazine…Mad’s parodies made me aware of the machine inside the skin – of the way a movie might look original on the outside, while inside it was just recycling the same old dumb formulas. I did not read the magazine, I plundered it for clues to the universe.”
In 2002, Ebert was diagnosed with cancer of the thyroid, salivary glands and chin. He lost his ability to eat, drink and speak. He also lost most of his chin and had to use a feeding tube.
Despite all his physical impairments, Ebert continued to write reviews and commentary and even published a cookbook.
In his 2011 autobiography, ‘Life Itself’ Ebert said, “I have seen untold numbers of movies and forgotten most of them, I hope, but I remember those worth remembering, and they are all on the same shelf in my mind.”
Ebert is survived by his wife Charlie “Chaz” Hammelsmith who he married in 1992.