Following long cancer battle, Roger Ebert dies at 70
LOS ANGELES (CNN) — The last hand in the “two thumbs up” film critic team, Roger Ebert, died Thursday, two days after revealing cancer returned to his body.
Ebert and Gene Siskel co-hosted the iconic review show “Siskel and Ebert At The Movies” until Siskel’s death in 1999 after a battle with a brain tumor.
The Chicago Sun-Times, the base of operations for Ebert’s syndicated reviews, announced his death at age 70.
“I’ll see you at the movies,” were the last words Ebert wrote to his readers. It was published in an essay titled “Leave of Presence” on his blog Tuesday, in which he explained he was planning to slow down and reduce the number of movie reviews he wrote.
“My intent is to continue to write selected reviews but to leave the rest to a talented team of writers handpicked and greatly admired by me,” Ebert wrote. “What’s more, I’ll be able at last to do what I’ve always fantasized about doing: reviewing only the movies I want to review.”
Ebert had already lost his voice and much of his jaw after battling thyroid and salivary gland cancer.
He suffered a hip fracture in December, and it recently led to the revelations about cancer, he said.
Ebert started as the Sun-Times film critic on April 3, 1967, writing about 200 reviews each of those 46 years, he said. The last year, however, was his most prolific.
“Last year, I wrote the most of my career, including 306 movie reviews, a blog post or two a week, and assorted other articles,” he said. “I must slow down now, which is why I’m taking what I like to call ‘a leave of presence.'”
Ebert: The critical critic
Ebert, who won a Pulitzer Prize for film criticism in 2003, had a way with words and a sharp wit that is not easily matched.
— About Rob Schneider’s “Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo” in 2005: “If he’s going to persist in making bad movies, he’s going to — have to grow accustomed to reading bad reviews.”
— Concerning Schneider’s reaction to another critic who panned the film: “But Schneider is correct, and Patrick Goldstein has not yet won a Pulitzer Prize. Therefore, Goldstein is not qualified to complain that Columbia financed “Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo” while passing on the opportunity to participate in “Million Dollar Baby,” “Ray,” “The Aviator,” “Sideways” and “Finding Neverland.” As chance would have it, I have won the Pulitzer Prize, and so I am qualified. Speaking in my official capacity as a Pulitzer Prize winner, Mr. Schneider, your movie sucks.”
— Reviewing “Crocodile Dundee II”: “I’ve seen audits that were more thrilling.”
— Giving no love to “Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith”: “To say that George Lucas cannot write a love scene is an understatement; greeting cards have expressed more passion.”
Ebert: The film philosopher
— “Every great film should seem new every time you see it.”
— “No good movie is too long and no bad movie is short enough.”
— “If you have to ask what it symbolizes, it didn’t.”
— “If a movie isn’t a hit right out of the gate, they drop it. Which means that the whole mainstream Hollywood product has been skewed toward violence and vulgar teen comedy.”
— “I am utterly bored by celebrity interviews. Most celebrities are devoid of interest.”
— Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel: “Our whole city learned with sadness today of the passing of Roger Ebert, whose name was synonymous with two things: the movies and Chicago. In a Pulitzer Prize winning career that spanned more than four decades, thousands of reviews and countless acts of generosity to others, Roger championed Chicago as a center for filmmaking and critiques. With a knowledge of his subject as deep as his love for his wife Chaz, Roger Ebert will be remembered for the strength of his work, respected for his courage in the face of illness, and revered for his contribution to filmmaking and to our city. The final reel of his life may have run through to the end, but his memory will never fade.”
— Sun-Times Media Editor in Chief Jim Kirk: “The long relationship between Roger and his Sun-Times family speaks volumes about Roger’s commitment to his craft and to his fans around the world. Roger’s reviews were highly anticipated by readers and the film community. Film commentary was only one of several gifts. He was a reporter first, in every aspect of his craft. He could write as eloquently about world affairs as he could on the upcoming blockbuster. Roger will be missed not only by the Sun-Times family, but by the journalism and film communities. Our thoughts are with Roger’s wife, Chaz, and their family during this time.”