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

007 crime thriller finale Premiere Dates vampires Adult Swim 2015 Reality Pop unscripted IFC Films Photos singing competition Interview Rom-Com Emmys Martial Arts Election Hulu The Arrangement CW Seed Opinion Rocky Disney TNT WGN Reality Competition Music Thanksgiving TCA DirecTV Sony Pictures APB CBS All Access Shondaland harry potter Red Carpet composers dramedy Fall TV Western Set visit Biopics Paramount war CNN IFC Fox News History Winter TV discovery YA Mindy Kaling Box Office Lionsgate supernatural GoT based on movie FOX Logo dceu USA Network TIFF BBC period drama TV romance National Geographic Video Games X-Men transformers Sci-Fi Mystery binge VICE American Society of Cinematographers YouTube Red USA Super Bowl Star Trek medical drama Mary Tyler Moore Pirates Marathons cinemax dc GLAAD social media Action FXX Trivia Comedy Central Britbox Countdown justice league Year in Review Polls and Games 45 spy thriller SDCC A&E Musical serial killer Sundance biography Character Guide Lucasfilm Writers Guild of America TCM festivals cops political drama Superheroe aliens DC streaming service Podcast ABC Comic Book Esquire ABC Family TBS Nominations FX cats Watching Series Nickelodeon Holidays cults AMC Tumblr Masterpiece Rock golden globes psycho NBC Ghostbusters sports See It Skip It DC Comics MSNBC TCA 2017 Oscars 24 frames Best and Worst Spike Schedule El Rey Ellie Kemper Country what to watch Tomatazos Warner Bros. Paramount Network Starz diversity Extras OWN boxoffice docudrama GIFs Cartoon Network Calendar TLC historical drama Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Drama thriller E! HBO comiccon DC Universe crime Sundance Now Universal VH1 police drama TruTV Grammys NYCC BET Horror LGBTQ President BBC America Lifetime Valentine's Day First Look TV Land Crackle Freeform Animation robots PBS Infographic Pixar Christmas Winners politics Acorn TV Showtime Disney Channel Syfy Spring TV Summer Nat Geo ESPN ratings E3 21st Century Fox Creative Arts Emmys The CW Sneak Peek RT History CMT sitcom talk show Certified Fresh zombie Cosplay ITV 2016 Food Network travel cooking zombies Bravo Teen crossover CBS crime drama PaleyFest Comedy 2017 Kids & Family Toys technology Amazon Superheroes Marvel Dark Horse Comics SundanceTV 20th Century Fox science fiction Trailer MTV adventure Awards Musicals Star Wars Fantasy Netflix SXSW hist