Thursday, April 04, 2013

Roger Joseph Ebert (1942-2013)

One of the two greatest film critics of all time has passed away after an eleven-year battle with thyroid cancer. He was a few months shy of 71.

As movie reviewer for the Chicago Sun-Times since 1967, Roger Ebert and his counterpart at the Chicago Tribune, Eugene Kal “Gene” Siskel (1946-1999), hosted a popular television program, Opening Soon at a Theater Near You, later known as Sneak Previews, and later still as Siskel and Ebert At The Movies, from 1975 until Siskel's passing in 2000.

Roger once described his relationship with Gene:

Gene Siskel and I were like tuning forks. Strike one, and the other would pick up the same frequency. When we were in a group together, we were always intensely aware of one another. Sometimes this took the form of camaraderie, sometimes shared opinions, sometimes hostility.

... resulting in a love-hate relationship (or at least the pretense of one) that is the focus of a tribute at

As he knew the end was near, this was Roger's final blog entry, written earlier this week:

“So on this day of reflection I say again, thank you for going on this journey with me. I’ll see you at the movies.”

Movie critics on television have long been best described as the comic relief characters of a local or network news team or morning show, wearing their personality quirks on their sleeves. Then along come two regular guys from Chicago that look as if they might be your neighbors, and proceed to redefine their own profession. Yes, we still have court jesters for movie critics, but only because only Siskel and Ebert could ever have been Siskel and Ebert. And the cinematic world is poorer for their loss.

But we'll still save them the aisle seats, don't you think?

Or don't you?

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