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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Remembering Roger Ebert 1942 - 2013

Film critic Roger Ebert, who died earlier today at age 70, began reviewing movies in 1967 at the Chicago Sun-Times. On September 4, 1975, he and Gene Siskel (film critic for the Chicago Tribune) began co-hosting the monthly Chicago-produced film review show, Opening Soon at a Theater Near You, which was renamed Sneak Previews in 1977 when PBS picked it up for national distribution. In 1982, Siskel and Ebert got their own syndicated TV series, At the Movies, and in 1986, they created Siskel and Ebert and The Movies, which they appeared on until Siskel's death in 1999. Chicago Sun-Times columnist Richard Roeper then became Ebert's new co-host until 2006 when Ebert left the show due to illness.

In 1975, Ebert became the first film critic to win the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism, and he was also the first critic to be awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2005. In 1999, he began hosting his own annual film festival called Ebertfest in Champaign, Illinois (and the 15th annual festival will take place as scheduled April 17-21). However, my favorite thing about the man - in addition to his talent as a critic - is that he co-wrote the screenplays for four films - the crazy 1970 cult classic, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls; the 1976 sex comedy, Up!; Who Killed Bambi? (this movie - starring the punk rock band, The Sex Pistols - was shut down in 1977 after only a day and a half of filming); and the 1979 sexploitation film, Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens.

Below you can watch Siskel and Ebert on the first episode of Opening Soon at a Theater Near You in 1975, on an episode of Sesame Street, in a 1986 appearance on The Tonight Show with host Joan Rivers, in a 1987 20/20 interview, in a 1988 appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show (whom Ebert once dated), and Ebert in a 1985 interview with David Letterman.

1 comment:

David said...

He was always one of my favorite film critics of all-time, and he always will be.