Legendary Critic Roger Ebert Dies at 70 of Cancer

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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  1. Ettie says:

    Two thumbs down. :( rip roger.

  2. jen says:

    My thoughts go out to his family, friends and co-workers during this sad time. You will be missed.

  3. Babybop says:

    So sad. :( Prayers to his family.

  4. Kate says:

    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.

  5. Scottyb says:

    So sad. He is a legend and will be missed. He was one of the few movie critics that a person could really trust.

  6. meme says:

    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.

  7. B says:

    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.

  8. Roddy says:

    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.

  9. WingsStef says:

    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.

  10. majamababe says:

    As someone on another blog wrote – “Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert are together again. We’ll save them the aisle seats forever.”

  11. Now he’ll be able to argue with Gene about Cop and a Half forever.

  12. Bobbi says:

    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.

  13. Lisa says:

    Rest in peace.

  14. tripoli says:

    Sad news. You will be missed.

  15. Betsy says:

    he’ll never be equaled. RIP, you wonderful man. you were an inspiration.

  16. nguber says:

    Reblogged this on iwatch2much and commented:

  17. Renee says:

    This made me tear up. Another TV icon gone. RIP.

  18. Tusk says:

    May not have agreed at times but always entertained

  19. rebecca says:

    He fought a brave fight…very sad

  20. maggie says:

    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.

  21. RIP Roger Ebert. You’ll always have a big thumbs up forever.

  22. HitTheGroundRunning says:


  23. TVDIVA says:

    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.

  24. kelly says:

    RIP!! I always enjoyed reading your reviews, and “At the Movies” will always be a favorite.

  25. Danish Eqbal says:

    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.

  26. kevin says:

    I really like your movie reviews. Rest in Peace.

  27. MamaLis says:

    Thanks for including this. You changed how the public assessed movies, Roger. We’ll miss you.