The legendary film critic, Roger Ebert, passed away Thursday morning after a long battle with cancer. His lengthy career in film criticism is renowned nation wide, beginning with his 46 year stint for the Chicago Sun Times. With his original partner, Gene Siskal, Ebert created the thumbs up or down system of rating the movies. In later years he began his television series Ebert & Roeper with new partner Richard Roeper. Film enthusiasts regarded his opinion with esteem, it was unlikely for a film to succeed without his approval.
Hollywood and the world of film mourned the loss through Twitter and various media outlets. Directors Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese had nothing but wonderful things to say about the critic’s life and career. Even President Obama made offered his condolences to Ebert’s wife, Chaz, and family. The loss will be felt for anyone who loves movies.
President Obama said:
“Michelle and I are saddened to hear about the passing of Roger Ebert. For a generation of Americans – and especially Chicagoans – Roger was the movies. When he didn’t like a film, he was honest; when he did, he was effusive – capturing the unique power of the movies to take us somewhere magical. Even amidst his own battles with cancer, Roger was as productive as he was resilient – continuing to share his passion and perspective with the world. The movies won’t be the same without Roger, and our thoughts and prayers are with Chaz and the rest of the Ebert family.”
“Roger loved movies. They were his life. His reviews went far deeper than simply thumbs up or thumbs down. He wrote with passion through a real knowledge of film and film history, and in doing so, helped many movies find their audiences. Along with Gene Shalit, Joel Siegel, and of course Gene Siskel, Roger put television criticism on the map. Roger’s passing is virtually the end of an era and now the balcony is closed forever.”
Lastly Scorsese spoke of his friend:
“The death of Roger Ebert is an incalculable loss for movie culture and for film criticism. And it’s a loss for me personally. Roger was always supportive, he was always right there for me when I needed it most, when it really counted – at the very beginning, when every word of encouragement was precious; and then again, when I was at the lowest ebb of my career, there he was, just as encouraging, just as warmly supportive. There was a professional distance between us, but then I could talk to him much more freely than I could to other critics. Really, Roger was my friend. It’s that simple.
Few people I’ve known in my life loved or cared as much about movies. I know that’s what kept him going in those last years – his life-or-death passion for movies, and his wonderful wife, Chaz.
We all knew that this moment was coming, but that doesn’t make the loss any less wrenching. I’ll miss him — my dear friend, Roger Ebert.”
We are saddened to learn of the loss of Roger Ebert. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.