Roger Ebert – beloved film critic dies at the age of 70

Apr 09, 2013 No Comments by

After fighting salivary gland and thyroid cancer for a decade, the famed film critic Roger Ebert died on the morning of April 4 in Chicago at the age of 70. Just two days prior to his death, Ebert announced a “leave of absence.” The closing sentence on his last blog post is as follows: “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.”

Since 1967, the American journalist and screenwriter became the most influential film critic in the United States, bringing into popular culture the “thumbs up” review to highly rated movies. The Chicago Sun-Times said he “was without question the nation’s most prominent and influential film critic” and Forbes magazine said that Ebert was “the most powerful pundit in America.”

Ebert began his career reviewing for the Chicago Sun-Times in 1967 and later expanded his brand  to include highly rated televisions shows such as Sneak Previews (1975-1996), At the Movies with Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert (1986-1987), and Siskel and Ebert and The Movies (1987-1999) and in the 90s popular online reviews. In 1975, Ebert was the first film critic to receive a Pulitzer Prize.

Ebert was also responsible for his “best of the year” movie list which included titles such as “The Godfather” (1972), “Platoon” (1986), “Almost Famous” (2000), and “The Social Network” (2010).

For 24 years beginning in 1975, Ebert teamed up with Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune, who co-starred in their highly popular TV review programs until 1999, when Siskel died at the age of 53 to a cancerous brain tumor. Afterwards, Ebert rotated co-hosts until September 2000 when Ricard Roeper, Sun-Times columnist, became the permanent co-host of the show Ebert & Roeper. 

He is without question the most famous film critic of his time and the most trusted. His reviews generated a fan base of movie goers who would turn to Ebert’s suggestions on his blog and his Twitter page that generated 800,000 followers. His personal favorites included a wide variety of American films such as “Superman” (1978), “The Big Lebowski” (1998) and “Lost in Translation” (2003) to the Japanese animated film “Sprited Away”, German expressionist horror classic “Nosferatu” and his personal favorite, “Citizen Kane” who called it the greatest film ever made.

Funeral services began at 10 a.m. on April 8 at Chicago’s Holy Name Cathedral. It was open to both friends, fans, and guest speakers including Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Illinois, Gov. Pat Quinn, Jonathan Jackson and former Suns-Times publisher John Barron.

Movies, People

About the author

I was born in Guadalajara, Mexico – a very Americanized city where the people are powered by Starbucks, available conveniently on every street corner. Then I moved, and grew up in the strangest place on Earth, Humboldt County. I was only three when I moved to the States, however I did come back to Guadalajara every summer up until my teen years. The two places are polar oposites – you can imagine my difficult time trying to find a personality in home influenced by Mexicans and a social life influenced by Americans. Today I live in San Rafael, California studying Communications. But enough selling out – I’m a laid back guy who loves pizza.
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