Roger Ebert, 1942–2013


Roger Ebert, the legendary film critic, died today, his long-time employer, The Chicago Sun-Times is reporting. Ebert had been wrestling with cancer for years. He had lost his voice and his jaw, but he still kept up an unrelenting pace, reviewing more than 200 movies a year for the paper. On his blog and on twitter, he chronicled his struggle with cancer and just two days ago, he penned a post saying he was taking a "leave of presence."



  1. I’ve had his movie review books on my shelves for many years. I realized long ago that I was a fan of his writing, even though he and I didn’t always agree on movies. Sometimes I take one down and just thumb through it for the pleasure of reading his words. This is very sad news.

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    1. Not only was Ebert the greatest film critic in history, he wrote the script for the greatest film ever made.

  2. His amazing review of ‘Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo':

    (Rob Schneider had been savaging a journalist who had dared to criticise him, saying he’d never won a prize and had no right to criticise.)

    “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

    is a work of art. I will always remember him for it.

  3. Rest in peace.  Say ‘hi’ to Siskel.  I probably wouldn’t love movies half so much if it wasn’t for the lively arguments you two had.

  4. I don’t care about movies, but found out that he was a prolific writer through his blog at His posts, especially the ones about life in general always made a huge impact on me. I will be spending some time re-reading posts this weekend for sure… Hell of a man. His last post makes it clear that he wasn’t expecting it to end today, and that makes me sad. I have spent a lot of time in front of his words in the last couple of years, and it feels like losing an old friend. Farewell buddy… 

  5. I didn’t always agree with him 100%, but he was a general, well-written, less-biased litmus test for many movies. He will be missed.

  6. He was the biggest influence on developing my love of movies – and writing – and I’m sure I’m not alone in that. I’ve read thousands upon thousands of his written reviews and other writings. A wonderful guy whose presence will be deeply missed.

    We all are lucky that in recent years he surrounded himself with a lot of very good reviewers and writers who put out high-quality material through his site daily, and no doubt they will continue. Ebert himself can never really be replaced, though.

  7. “The balcony is closed.” (I think lots of us are all thinking of that closing line from Siskel and Ebert at the Movies”

    I, too, didn’t always agree with his reviews. But I found him to be reliable and informative, and I’ve been impressed by many of his more recent articles. He really hung in there.

  8. He was my favorite movie critic, by far. I could almost always gauge how much I would like a movie by his reviews. Just a day or two ago he said that he was taking a break because his cancer had come back. That made me so sad since I knew how much pain he suffered before (he wrote about it on his blog). And now that he’s died …

    RIP Roger, and I hope someone can make a four star movie about you.

  9. So sad. I loved his blog and was so impressed with how he not only handled cancer but triumphed after his surgery to have a whole new impact on the world.

  10. Let us not forget his screenplay for the unforgettable “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.” Ima go home and listen to some Carrie Nations.

  11. An excellent writer, a heckuva newspaperman, an insightful film critic, and by all accounts a real “mensch.”

    Oh, and he wrote “Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens” and “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.” You can’t ask for more than all that.

    1. Everyone should read or listen to his memoir! He goes into so much detail.  It is long but well wroth it. He talks a lot about these two movies. Fascinating.

  12. I really enjoyed his writing — reviews, blogs, everything. I wrote to
    his “Answer Man” column twice and he responded both times. Like most
    everyone else, I didn’t always agree with his reviews, but he was so
    consistent in his opinions that I could tell if I would like a movie
    based on his reaction either way.

    He just said he was going to be
    taking a “leave of presence” on his Web site — I’m confused. Was this a
    sudden thing? I suppose we’ll find out. He will be missed. Rarely does it feel like you get to know someone through their writing as much as we did
    through Roger Ebert, especially in the past few years.

  13. I remember how I missed him when he last took an extensive leave of absence.  He has such an elegant way with words, and I was really looking forward to what he was going to do next with his “Leave of Presence”.

    But then, I have linked to one or two reviews on without actually realizing that they were written by Roper until someone pointed out the byline, so things will go on.

  14. I saw him do a frame by frame analysis of “Pulp Fiction” and then “Fargo” over the course of a week at the World Affairs Council at CU-Boulder.  Unforgettable.

    It so happens that the annual “Ebert Interruptus” is scheduled to start on Monday.  If you’re in the area, WAC is always free to attend.  They’re analyzing “Cuckoo’s Nest” with Terrence McNally as the host this year.

  15. Oh man, that hurts. I saw he was taking a break just yesterday and hoped there was more time.

    I will sorely miss reading his blog and reviews every week. I enjoyed reading his words as much (often more) as seeing the movies.

    But my thoughts go foremost to his wife Chaz. It seems they had such a wonderfully loving, supportive relationship; what a devastating loss.

  16. Ebert reviews taught me to not only read between the lines, but to read between the dialogue.

  17. Ironically as a German I had to learn about the genius of Werner Herzog from him.
    He also gave ‘Tampopo’ 4 stars which is all I need to know about a film critic.

  18. I grew up watching Siskel & Ebert on TV but it was in the 90’s when I started *reading* Ebert on the web that I realized just how intelligent, funny, insightful and just plain great he was. My favorite thing to tell people that usually blows their minds is that he spent time with Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious when he was going to write a Sex Pistols movie for Russ Meyer. Those plans ultimately fell through but what other American film critic had that kind of street cred?

  19. Very sad, he’ll be missed. 

    I just read a blog post by him talking about having written a script for the Sex Pistols movie that was to have been directed by Russ Meyers. That would have been pretty interesting; probably much better than the baffling hodgepodge that was “The Great Rock and Roll Swindle.”

  20. When I moved to Chicago as a teenager, I was pretty overwhelmed going to the big city from a small town. One of the things that I appreciated was this local TV show with two guys who would argue about the movies,  but always with respect for each other. I miss both of them.

  21. If ever one hoped for an afterlife, it’s now. Imagine, the two of them together again at the movies.

  22. Growing up I remember watching Siskel and Ebert on “Sneak preview” on PBS and it’s follow-up “At the Movies” to a lesser extent, partially due to time slots in syndication, often a follow-up on our NBC affiliate after SNL.

    The pair had great chemistry and introduced me to a lot of concepts and thought about ven how to view a films,  many of the films I wouldn’t actually see until years later.

    I felt like their approach was much better than Gene Shalit, Leoard Maltin (although Maltin’s movie guide was always on the coffee table to settle disputes before we had internet), and far superior to our paper’s local critic.

    As I grew older I began to think of him more as a pompous ass.  Partially, I think this due to young 20s being insulted when a film you love is panned, another all do to the nature of the film critics’ role. I remember thoroughly enjoying watching Howard Stern’s E show where Ebert was guest promoting I believe, “Questions for the Movie Answer Man’. And Howard was tearing him up, asking him questions from the back cover’s teasercopy and Roger being unable to remember the answers.  Then as  a bonus, Gene Siskel called in thoroughly insulted him.  It was like these guys had become Stalter and Waldorf of the Muppets.

    I never really followed him much after Gene Siskel died.  And I never read any of his writings, although now I plan to.

    NPR/All things considered  ran an amazing piece about him yesterday, that touched on how he worked on being public and human as possible in life after the cancer.

    Thanks for everything Roger!  You taught me a lot of how to deal with other people’s opinions.

  23. An excellent writer and an incredibly humane and sensible human being.  Rest in peace, Mr. Ebert.

  24. Him & Siskel are the only two reviewers of anything I ever respected. Because even if I disagreed with them, I respected them. And always got the sense that they were clearly of the mind of stating their opinion & not pretending their reviews should be treated like precious jewels. In contrast, most movie & media reviewers nowadays I find to be pompous & self-important to the degree I can’t stand them even if I agree with them.

    R.I.P. Ebert.

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