Roger Ebert: 1942-2013

The Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic was 70.

by | April 5, 2013 | Comments



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.

Tag Cloud

VH1 thriller History Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt PBS Fall TV Fantasy Action Dark Horse Comics singing competition TCM Logo RT History Marvel Netflix Hulu SundanceTV Sci-Fi Disney Channel Comedy Central Horror E! The Arrangement El Rey WGN adventure Disney First Look X-Men Amazon Nickelodeon social media what to watch science fiction Toys FOX Rocky MTV Food Network crime thriller travel Music President CNN Adult Swim Winners TV Animation Fox News Calendar BBC America Cosplay FXX OWN Rock MSNBC TIFF Musicals Trailer crime drama IFC zombie medical drama BET Pirates GIFs Star Trek diversity technology Awards Esquire Oscars Countdown serial killer romance Video Games Lifetime docudrama HBO Mary Tyler Moore Paramount 007 Biopics Trivia TruTV Opinion ESPN Premiere Dates LGBTQ Musical talk show Emmys politics Photos TV Land Writers Guild of America Drama Sneak Peek Character Guide Crackle The CW political drama NBC Ghostbusters ABC Family FX Bravo CBS All Access Nat Geo biography Sundance American Society of Cinematographers dramedy Set visit ITV Reality Competition Winter TV Warner Bros. Polls and Games Star Wars NYCC Reality Holidays USA Mindy Kaling Tumblr Watching Series YA Year in Review CBS discovery Comedy E3 Tomatazos dceu cinemax Spring TV Comic Book Western SDCC BBC Valentine's Day GoT Ellie Kemper ABC Box Office 2016 Starz supernatural cooking 2017 sitcom comiccon boxoffice Certified Fresh Election war Red Carpet Grammys Best and Worst Syfy 2015 21st Century Fox transformers VICE cops binge APB Cartoon Network Kids & Family Showtime Rom-Com Extras 24 frames composers 45 GLAAD based on movie period drama Lionsgate police drama justice league Martial Arts Mystery Freeform PaleyFest TBS A&E Country Schedule dc Infographic psycho Marathons cats Universal Masterpiece crime vampires aliens Pop Superheroes Teen harry potter TLC CMT DirecTV TCA 2017 DC Universe Summer AMC Interview historical drama Super Bowl TNT Nominations Thanksgiving DC Comics sports TCA Podcast