Roger Ebert: 1942-2013

The Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic was 70.

Roger Ebert, the Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic whose thoughtful, witty reviews defined the profession for generations of moviegoers, died April 4 after a long battle with cancer. He was 70.

Ebert began writing film reviews for the Chicago Sun-Times in 1967. His fame grew when he teamed with Chicago Tribune critic Gene Siskel for Sneak Previews (later renamed Siskel & Ebert & the Movies); launched in 1975 as a local program in Chicago, it went national in 1977 on PBS and featured intelligent (and often contentious) discussions about new films. Each movie was rated with a "thumbs up" or a "thumbs down," and for many viewers, "two thumbs up" was considered a seal of cinematic quality. When Siskel died in 1999, Ebert continued the show with guest critics before teaming with fellow Sun-Times columnist Richard Roeper in 2002; Ebert's last appearance on the show was in 2006, when his illness made it difficult for him to speak.

Born in Urbana, IL in 1942, Ebert began his journalism career in his teens, working as a high school sports reporter for the News-Gazette Champaign-Urbana. He studied at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he would eventually edit the school's campus paper, The Daily Illini. It was also where his first review was published -- he critiqued La Dolce Vita, a movie that would become one of his favorites.

Ebert's rise in popularity coincided with the auteurist "movie brats," a group of filmmakers that included Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, and others; like those directors, Ebert championed unique and unconventional cinematic ideas while maintaining a healthy enthusiasm for more traditional Hollywood fare. In 1975, he was the first film critic to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize.

In 1970, Ebert wrote the screenplay for Russ Meyer's exploitation classic Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, the trashy story of a female rock band. In addition to his newspaper and television work, Ebert published lengthy columns on politics and personal reflections on the web. He also wrote a number of books; his annual Movie Yearbook collected his newspaper reviews, and he also devoted volumes to his "Great Movies" columns, his most scathing reviews (I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie), and occasionally, to non-cinematic subjects (including The Pot and How to Use It: The Mystery and Romance of the Rice Cooker). His autobiography, Life Itself: A Memoir, was published in 2011.

Ebert is survived by his wife Chaz.

For all of Roger Ebert's reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, click here.

Comments

Alberto Zeeky

Alberto Zeeky

Arguably the greatest movie critic ever, and a favourite critic among many people who'd check reviews.

He will be missed.

Apr 4 - 02:15 PM

Jamey Burky

Jamey Burky

No doubt, Before I saw a movie, I always read his review first

Apr 4 - 07:16 PM

Joseph James

Joseph James

I also

Apr 5 - 03:16 AM

Nic Das

Nic Das

mee too :)

Apr 5 - 09:28 AM

Jonathan Meldrum

Jonathan Meldrum

me too

Apr 5 - 12:49 PM

Zachery Alan

Zachery Alan

as did i one of the only critics i trusted with reviewing my entertainment

Apr 5 - 06:22 PM

This comment has been removed.

Jack Pearl

John Pearl

The hell is wrong with you?

Apr 5 - 10:54 PM

Jonah Schneider

Jonah Schneider

You are so, so, stupid. He had one of the biggest influences on movie critics.

Apr 6 - 01:04 AM

THGhost

THGhost .

Now we'll never be able to do that again for a movie that comes out after The Host :(

Apr 6 - 04:56 PM

This comment has been removed.

Samya Mridha

Samya Mridha

i agree wid u. he gave good reviews to some very bad films. but overall he was a class apart. period.

Apr 4 - 11:09 PM

Observation 99

Observation 99

And you really feel the need to prove that, among all your rights, on his tribute column? Do your actual reviews just not get enough views?

Apr 7 - 12:59 AM

Observation 99

Observation 99

Must have accidentally clicked on Samya. I meant the guy Samya was responding to.

Apr 7 - 08:31 PM

Bob Smith

Bob Smith

I think you meant to say his tastes were different than yours. Welcome to the world of movie critics.

Apr 5 - 07:31 AM

todd123

Todd Garry

Couldn't disagree more...There are some films that he loved which I thought he would never even be able to relate to .

Apr 5 - 10:33 AM

Hud Wilson

Hud Wilson

he liked most movies most movies are bad

Apr 5 - 01:47 PM

Phil Miller

Phil Miller

I usually agreed more with Siskel.

Apr 5 - 05:27 PM

Leonardo Teles

Leonardo Teles

I like him but I prefer Peter Travers =D

Apr 5 - 01:52 PM

Mazyar Goodarz

Mazyar Goodarz

Was my go-to critic. Discovered him through this site many, many years ago (We didn't get At The Movies in Australia, but I've caught up somewhat on YouTube). R.I.P.

Apr 4 - 02:22 PM

Virginia Lee

Virginia Lee

Very, very sad. He changed the face of film criticism forever and he'll be missed.

Apr 4 - 02:23 PM

Matthew R.

Matthew Reimer

What a sad day for movie goers everywhere. Roger Ebert was my favorite critic of all time. :(

Apr 4 - 02:23 PM

Carrie Smack

Carrie Smack

Sad day for the film world. Roger's reviews rarely stoped me from watching a film(although I don't think I'll be watching North any time soon)but I watched many based on his praise. I know I'll still be having conversations with him in my mind for the rest of my life.

Apr 4 - 02:28 PM

Dave J

Dave J

The first time I saw him was in "Sneak Previews" and have owned almost all of his books- all I can say is that his reviews will stand throughout the test of time!

Apr 4 - 02:40 PM

Gordon Franklin Terry Sr

Gordon Terry

I remember watching Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel in 1983 on the Phil Donahue Show griping and complaining about the exploitation of women in Slasher Films; they screened moments from TOOLBOX MURDERS and NIGHTMARES IN A DAMAGED BRAIN for us youngsters watching at home and the more Siskel and Ebert Griped and Complained about slasher films, the more I wanted to see them--I was 12 years old in '83 and went to the video store and rented I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE shortly thereafter (which has a styrong female lead in Camille Keaton [Buster Keaton's Grand-Daughter]). Incidentally, Siskel and Ebert both praised John Carpenter's Halloween for its portrayal of a strong woman.///Roger Ebert taught me how to watch films -- hey, SEVENTY-SEVEN THOUSAND PEOPLE have at some point or another viewed my R-T page so, Mr. Ebert must have had a good influence on me. 77,226 people wouldn't have clicked on my page if my stuff was boring - there must be some entertaining component to what I do.

Apr 4 - 06:34 PM

Dave J

Dave J

He did change how some movies were made because I remember he gave negative ratings on one of the "Friday The 13th" films while watching it with an audience, and in his review it said 'young teenage males were chanting - we want boobs- we want boobs", and of course producers of "Friday the 13th" also read Ebert's review and responded with not just gore but with more nudity this time!

Apr 5 - 12:56 PM

Lenin Plazas

Lenin Plazas

Every time when I would check movie reviews will would always look at his review only. Very sad that such a great man would die from such a painful disease. One of the greatest movie critics that this world will ever see. He's in a better place now. Goodbye Mr. Ebert and I give your career "two thumbs up". R.I.P. Roger Ebert (1942-2013).

Apr 4 - 02:48 PM

Chris Middleton

Chris Middleton

Well said my friend. Well said.

Apr 4 - 11:28 PM

Nicholas Dobson

Nicholas Dobson

<3

Apr 5 - 08:09 AM

todd123

Todd Garry

Well said indeed.

Apr 5 - 10:34 AM

SecondBest

This Guy

Great Film critic. RIP homes

Apr 4 - 02:48 PM

Connor Vallecillo

Connor Vallecillo

NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!! Now all I have let for movie reviews is Peter Travers :(

Apr 4 - 02:50 PM

Marco Chaudry

Marco Chaudry

Travers is no where near the heights of this guy.

Apr 4 - 05:21 PM

Eldest2005

Christopher Aull

Its a day of mourning for movielovers and film critics around the world. I may have had my disagreements with plenty of his reviews, but it's unfortunate that we will never see another review from him again. The world of cinema seems a less brighter place with him gone. R.I.P. Roger Ebert.

Apr 4 - 02:55 PM

Brian S.

Brian Smith

He and Siskel were criticized for shorthanding film criticism down to two thumbs, but that wasn't entirely fair. For those who wanted more, they could read past the rating. Meanwhile, many others discovered movies they never otherwise would have through their championing of underdog films -- and, yes, supplying a pair of upraised thumbs for these little movies to flaunt. I always thought he was a little soft on many mediocre movies, but his passion for film is hard to surpass. RIP, Mr. Ebert.

Apr 4 - 02:55 PM

Mark Angelini

Mark Angelini

Thank you Mr. Ebert, for all the thoughtful, quality reviews and your genuine love of movies. Rest in peace

Apr 4 - 02:56 PM

TrippSmyth

Tripp Smyth

Sad day indeed. My personal favorite of all time and one of the few which I actually paid attention. One of the titans of his industry, to say the least.

Apr 4 - 02:58 PM

Cinema-Maniac

Caesar Mendez

It's a sad day indeed. He was arguably the face of movie criticism. Even if I didn't always agree with his views I have a respect for him that no other professional film critic will ever have.

R.I.P. Mr. Ebert. Your legacy will not be forgotten.

Apr 4 - 03:00 PM

King  S.

King Simba

Terrible news. Ebert was my favorite film critic ever, and one I always respected ever when he gave negative reviews to films I loved. It's almost hard to believe that he's not going to be there reviewing films on their opening week anymore.

On a side note, doesn't this make The Host the last movie to ever be reviewed by Roger Ebert? Who would have thought? I get the feeling it's going to get a reputation as being the movie that "was so bad it killed Roger Ebert". As if it wasn't already the butt of jokes.

Apr 4 - 03:01 PM

Paul Sark

Paul Sark

Siskels last review was also a terrible film...interesting

Apr 5 - 02:25 PM

Dave Lin

Dave Lin

According to Jim Emerson, the film that enjoyed the privilege of being the last one he reviewed may have been To the Wonder.

Apr 6 - 07:44 PM

Observation 99

Observation 99

I think he released a couple reviews, including The Host, on the same day. But Simply Irresistible and The Host sort of go well together as the lame romances that Siskel and Ebert, respectively, ended their careers by telling us not to see.

Apr 7 - 01:04 AM

Nosa Iredia

Nosa Iredia

He actually gave the host film a 2.5 out of 4 which is actually an alright score when you think about it.

Apr 14 - 07:59 AM

Ivan Escobedo

Ivan Escobedo

It was so long ago when I read his first review and, while a didn't always agree with him, he gradually became one of my favorites. I learned about his accomplishments and international respect afterwards. It makes me proud to say that I'm a member of his fraternity. I will miss his humor and depth.

Apr 4 - 03:02 PM

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