Legendary Critic Roger Ebert Dies at 70 of Cancer

Get More: In Memoriam

Roger Ebert DeadRoger Ebert — whose At the Movies brought his legendary brand of film critique to viewers’ TV screens for over 30 years — died Thursday in Chicago after a lengthy battle with cancer.

On Tuesday, Ebert wrote an online column telling readers he was taking “a leave of presence” from his hectic schedule of writing some 300 reviews per year for the Chicago Sun-Times after learning that a “painful fracture” he suffered in December had turned out to be cancer. “I’ll be able at last to do what I’ve always fantasized about doing: reviewing only the movies I want to review,” he wrote with the optimism and frankness that was a hallmark of his fight with the disease.

Ebert worked as a critic at the Sun-Times for 46 years — starting on April 3, 1967 — and for the last 10, had waged a valiant fight against cancers of the thyroid and salivary gland.

He launched his TV career opposite Chicago Tribune movie critic Gene Siskel on a local show called Coming Soon to a Theater Near You; that morphed into a PBS series, Sneak Previews, and later into the syndicated At the Movies, where the duos “thumbs up/thumbs down” shorthand became part of the filmgoing lexicon.



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Comments (31)

  • Two thumbs down. :( rip roger.

    Comment by Ettie – April 4, 2013 12:52 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • My thoughts go out to his family, friends and co-workers during this sad time. You will be missed.

    Comment by jen – April 4, 2013 12:52 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • So sad. :( Prayers to his family.

    Comment by Babybop – April 4, 2013 12:53 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • This is so sad. I wish he could have gotten the chance to review only the movies he wanted to. He gave us so much to think about in every review he did.

    Comment by Kate – April 4, 2013 12:55 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • That would make him a fanboy/film snob,not a reviewer.

      Comment by Shaun – April 4, 2013 03:37 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • So sad. He is a legend and will be missed. He was one of the few movie critics that a person could really trust.

    Comment by Scottyb – April 4, 2013 12:57 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • So sad. Reading between the lines of his “Leave of Presence” blog post yesterday, I knew the prognosis wasn’t good, but I was hoping he’d have a chance to smell a few more roses along the way. Wasn’t to be, obviously.

    Comment by meme – April 4, 2013 12:57 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I can’t believe it, and it really only makes me sad because I partake in American media culture. I have no special connection with Ebert and in my life I’ve hardly thought much of him at all, but getting the CNN push notification was a sad thing indeed.

    Comment by B – April 4, 2013 12:59 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Roger and Gene Siskel with their At the Movies show redefined film criticism for the masses, esp. when they passionately disagreed on a movie. They definitely made people look at movies differently as well as put the spotlight on smaller independents when it wasn’t being done at the time. I didn’t always agree with either of them, but I was always entertained by their observations. No one who came after ever came close. RIP Roger E. and thumbs up for how you let us look at cinema differently.

    Comment by Roddy – April 4, 2013 01:04 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Ugh!

    Comment by Teag – April 4, 2013 01:10 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • He will be greatly missed. I remember staying up Sunday night (right after the nightly news here) to watch his reviews before going to bed.

    Comment by WingsStef – April 4, 2013 01:21 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • As someone on another blog wrote – “Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert are together again. We’ll save them the aisle seats forever.”

    Comment by majamababe – April 4, 2013 01:24 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Now he’ll be able to argue with Gene about Cop and a Half forever.

    Comment by TigerNightmare – April 4, 2013 01:26 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I needed that, thanks!

      Comment by RTW – April 4, 2013 08:39 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Roger Ebert fought the most valiant fight with dignity and grace. This makes me so sad. I was really hoping he’d have more time.

    Comment by Bobbi – April 4, 2013 01:30 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Rest in peace.

    Comment by Lisa – April 4, 2013 01:31 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Sad news. You will be missed.

    Comment by tripoli – April 4, 2013 01:34 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • he’ll never be equaled. RIP, you wonderful man. you were an inspiration.

    Comment by Betsy – April 4, 2013 02:01 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Reblogged this on iwatch2much and commented:

    Comment by nguber – April 4, 2013 02:07 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • This made me tear up. Another TV icon gone. RIP.

    Comment by Renee – April 4, 2013 02:10 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • RIP
    May not have agreed at times but always entertained

    Comment by Tusk – April 4, 2013 02:31 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • He fought a brave fight…very sad

    Comment by rebecca – April 4, 2013 02:51 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Roger was a great writer, whose reviews came from a true love for movies. He was intelligent, witty, and a champion of films of all kinds. He could appreciate a well-made popcorn film as much as a great drama.

    Rest in peace. My thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Chaz, and their family and friends.

    Comment by maggie – April 4, 2013 02:55 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • RIP Roger Ebert. You’ll always have a big thumbs up forever.

    Comment by Jack Bauer 2.0 – April 4, 2013 03:43 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • :(

    Comment by HitTheGroundRunning – April 4, 2013 05:25 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Siskel and Ebert reigning in heaven over movies once again. Sigh. Sob. RIP Ebert. You are one of a kind and will be truly missed.

    Comment by TVDIVA – April 4, 2013 06:11 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • RIP!! I always enjoyed reading your reviews, and “At the Movies” will always be a favorite.

    Comment by kelly – April 4, 2013 06:20 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • R.I.P Mr. Ebert… I only ever disagreed with your position on video games, but you were by far and away one of the best critics in the business. You will be missed.

    Comment by Danish Eqbal – April 4, 2013 09:11 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I really like your movie reviews. Rest in Peace.

    Comment by kevin – April 4, 2013 10:15 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Thanks for including this. You changed how the public assessed movies, Roger. We’ll miss you.

    Comment by MamaLis – April 4, 2013 10:50 PM PDT  Reply To This Post

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