With his recent announcement of his recurrence of Cancer recently, it’s very said news that Roger Ebert has died.
Earlier in the week Roger Ebert announced that he was “taking a leave of presence” to his Cancer coming back once again.
Roger Ebert (June 18, 1942 – April 4, 2013) was an American journalist, film critic and screenwriter, who was described by Forbes as “the most powerful pundit in America”. He was the first film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize, as well as the first to be awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Ebert was known for his film review column (appearing in the Chicago Sun-Times beginning in 1967, and later online) and for the television programs Sneak Previews, At the Movies with Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, and Siskel and Ebert and The Movies, all of which he co-hosted for a combined 23 years with Gene Siskel.
The Chicago Times announced the sad news about Roger Ebert on their twitter account this afternoon (Thursday)
It is with a heavy heart we report that legendary film critic Roger Ebert (@ebertchicago) has passed away
— Chicago Sun-Times (@Suntimes) April 4, 2013
Not many may now of Roger Ebert here in the UK, but for those of us who love film and particular reviewing films, we know him for his film reviews, he was certainly one of inspirations in becoming a film critic.
Roger Joseph Ebert was born in Urbana, Illinois, the son of Annabel (née Stumm) and Walter H. Ebert, an electrician. His paternal grandparents were German immigrants and his maternal ancestry is Dutch, Irish, and German. Ebert’s interest in journalism began as a student at Urbana High School, where he was a sports writer for The News-Gazette in Champaign, Illinois; however, he began his writing career with letters of comment to the science fiction fanzines of the era. He became involved in science fiction fandom, writing articles for fanzines, including Richard A. Lupoff’s Xero. In his senior year, he was co-editor of his high school newspaper, The Echo. In 1958, Ebert won the Illinois High School Association state speech championship in Radio Speaking, an event that simulates radio newscasts.
Regarding his early influences in film critiquing, Ebert wrote in the 1998 parody collection Mad About the Movies:
“I learned to be a movie critic by reading Mad magazine… Mad’s parodies made me aware of the machine inside the skin—of the way a movie might look original on the outside, while inside it was just recycling the same old dumb formulas. I did not read the magazine, I plundered it for clues to the universe. Pauline Kael lost it at the movies; I lost it at Mad magazine.”