The Chicago Sun Times announced Thursday that Roger Ebert, the legendary Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic, has died at the age of 70, following a long battle with cancer. Earlier this week, Ebert had announced a “leave of presence” from his website, disclosing that his cancer had returned.
Ebert spent nearly five decades reviewing movies, for the Sun-Times and later on the web, as well as in a large volume of bestselling books. He was a trailblazer in delivering film criticism on TV, hosting a series of shows with longtime partner Gene Siskel, and continuing with other partners following Siskel’s death, also from cancer, in 1999. And towards the end of his life, especially after cancer took away his ability to speak, Ebert became a prolific blogger and social media star.
On a personal note, I met Ebert once, occasionally traded emails with him for several years, beginning when I was in high school, he gave me several quotes for my senior thesis in college, and I had a question published in his “Movie Answer Man” column about ten years ago. I can confidently say that I wouldn’t be doing what I do today if it weren’t for Ebert’s influence. He will be greatly missed.