Roger Ebert


Roger Ebert was a renowned film critic, journalist, and writer known for his work as a film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times and his television program with Gene Siskel, "Siskel & Ebert At the Movies." Ebert gained fame for his insightful reviews and the popular "thumbs up, thumbs down" rating system that became iconic in the world of film criticism. His reviews were widely read and trusted by audiences and filmmakers alike, and he was the first film critic to win the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism. Ebert's influence extended beyond the realm of film criticism, as he also wrote books, hosted a popular website, and was a vocal advocate for social issues and the arts. His impact on film criticism and popular culture is undeniable, and his legacy continues to inspire and shape the world of cinema criticism today.

Early Life and Background

Roger Ebert, the renowned journalist and film critic, was born on June 18, 1942, in Urbana, Illinois, USA. He grew up in a close-knit family, with his father Walter being an electrician, and his mother Annabel working as a bookkeeper. Ebert's childhood was spent in Urbana, where he developed a love for writing and storytelling from a young age. He attended Urbana High School, where his passion for journalism was further nurtured.

After graduating from high school, Ebert went on to study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he continued to hone his skills as a writer. It was during his time at university that Ebert began his career in journalism, writing for the student newspaper, The Daily Illini. This early experience laid the foundation for his future success as a film critic and cultural commentator.

Career Beginnings

Roger Ebert started his career in journalism by writing articles for his high school newspaper. He developed a passion for film criticism at a young age and honed his writing skills by reviewing movies for his college newspaper. Ebert's talent for analyzing and articulating his thoughts on cinema caught the attention of the Chicago Sun-Times, where he landed his first job as a film critic. His insightful reviews and engaging writing style quickly made him a respected voice in the world of film criticism.

Breakthrough and Rise to Fame

Roger Ebert rose to fame through his work as a film critic, establishing himself through his insightful movie reviews and engaging writing style. Ebert's breakthrough came when he joined the Chicago Sun-Times as a film critic in 1967, where he gained a loyal following for his reviews. In 1975, he teamed up with Gene Siskel to co-host the film review television show "Sneak Previews," which later evolved into the popular "Siskel and Ebert At the Movies." The show's success catapulted Ebert to national fame and he became a household name known for his thumbs up/thumbs down rating system.

Throughout his career, Ebert wrote numerous books on film criticism and won a Pulitzer Prize for Criticism in 1975. He also became the first film critic to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Ebert's influence extended beyond just reviewing movies, as he was a vocal advocate for social issues and a champion of independent and foreign cinema. His legacy continues through the annual Ebertfest film festival held in Champaign, Illinois, which celebrates overlooked films and filmmakers.

Ebert's key performances include his insightful and relatable reviews, his partnership with Gene Siskel on television, and his prolific writing career. His milestones include becoming a Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic, achieving national and international recognition through his television show, and leaving a lasting impact on film criticism and the industry as a whole.

Career Highlights

Roger Ebert was an esteemed film critic who gained global recognition for his thoughtful reviews and insightful commentary on cinema. Throughout his career, Ebert wrote for the Chicago Sun-Times and co-hosted the film review television show "Siskel & Ebert At the Movies" with fellow critic Gene Siskel. The show was widely popular and cemented Ebert's reputation as a leading authority on film criticism. Ebert also authored several books on film and was the first film critic to win the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism. His reviews were known for their wit, intelligence, and accessibility, making him a beloved figure in the world of cinema. Ebert's influence extended beyond traditional media, as he embraced the internet and pioneered online film criticism through his website, He was also a prolific writer, with thousands of reviews and essays to his name. Ebert's dedication to his craft and his passion for cinema have left a lasting impact on the industry, earning him a place among the most respected and influential film critics of all time.

Personal Life

Roger Ebert, the renowned film critic and journalist, led a private life that was filled with passion and enthusiasm for cinema. He was married to Chaz Hammelsmith Ebert, with whom he shared a deep and loving relationship until his passing in 2013. Roger and Chaz did not have children together, but they were dedicated to each other and supported each other in both personal and professional endeavors.

Apart from his work in film criticism, Roger Ebert also had a keen interest in writing, and he was a prolific author who wrote numerous books and essays throughout his career. He was a dedicated reader and had a love for literature, which often influenced his film reviews and writing.

In terms of philanthropy and activism, Roger Ebert was known for his advocacy for social causes and his support for independent filmmakers. He was actively involved in various charitable organizations and causes, including those related to cancer research and the arts.

In his personal life, Roger Ebert was described as a kind and generous individual who enjoyed spending time with family and friends. He had a great sense of humor and was known for his wit and charm. In his free time, he enjoyed traveling, watching movies, and exploring new dining experiences.

Overall, Roger Ebert's personal life was characterized by his deep love for cinema, his dedication to his craft, and his commitment to making the world a better place through his writing and advocacy efforts.

Controversies and Challenges

Roger Ebert, the renowned film critic and journalist, faced several controversies and challenges throughout his career. One of the notable controversies he encountered was his public feud with fellow critic Gene Siskel, with whom he co-hosted the popular TV show "At the Movies." The two had contrasting personalities and often clashed both on and off-screen, leading to tension and disagreements.

Another challenge Ebert faced was criticism over his reviews and opinions on certain films, which sometimes resulted in backlash from filmmakers and fans. Ebert's candid and sometimes harsh critiques stirred debate and controversy within the film industry and among moviegoers.

In addition to professional challenges, Ebert also endured personal struggles, including battles with health issues. In 2002, he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, which eventually led to complications that affected his ability to speak and eat. Despite these challenges, Ebert continued to write and review films with the help of new technology and adaptations, showing resilience and determination in the face of adversity.

Ebert also faced legal battles over his reviews, including instances where filmmakers or individuals took issue with his opinions and sought legal recourse. Ebert stood by his reviews and defended his right to free expression, but these incidents still added to the controversies surrounding his work.

In the face of these controversies, challenges, and legal battles, Roger Ebert remained a prominent and influential figure in the world of film criticism. His commitment to his craft and his resilience in overcoming personal and professional obstacles solidified his legacy as one of the most respected and iconic journalists in the industry.

Legacy and Impact

Roger Ebert, the legendary film critic and journalist, left a lasting legacy and impact on the world of cinema. His influence on the industry was profound, as he was not only a respected critic but also a tastemaker whose reviews could make or break a film. Ebert's insightful and eloquent writing style set the standard for film criticism and inspired generations of journalists and critics to come.

His cultural impact was immense, as he became a household name and a trusted voice in the world of entertainment. Ebert's reviews were widely read and highly influential, shaping the opinions of audiences and filmmakers alike. He was known for his passion for film and his ability to engage with his audience on a personal level, making him a beloved figure in the industry.

As for the future prospects of Roger Ebert's legacy, it seems clear that his impact will continue to be felt for years to come. His contributions to film criticism and journalism have left an indelible mark on the industry, and his influence can still be seen in the work of critics and journalists today. Ebert's commitment to excellence and his dedication to his craft serve as a model for aspiring film critics, ensuring that his legacy will endure for generations to come.

Fan Base and Public Image

Roger Ebert, the late renowned film critic, had a dedicated fan base characterized by their deep appreciation for his insightful film reviews and engaging writing style. His fans admired his extensive knowledge of cinema and his ability to effectively communicate his thoughts and opinions on movies. Ebert established himself as a trusted voice in the film industry, and his fans valued his reviews as a guide in their movie-watching experience.

In terms of public image, Ebert was widely respected for his professionalism and integrity as a critic. His reviews were known for being fair and thoughtful, and he was not afraid to express his opinions, even if they were unpopular. Ebert's influence on the film industry was significant, and his reviews often had a major impact on a movie's success at the box office. Overall, he was seen as a highly influential figure in the world of film criticism.

Ebert had a strong presence on social media, particularly on Twitter, where he engaged with his fans and shared his thoughts on various film-related topics. His online presence allowed him to connect with a wider audience and engage in discussions with fellow film enthusiasts. Ebert's interactions with his fans were always respectful and engaging, further solidifying his reputation as a critic who valued the input of his audience.

In terms of public perception, Ebert was seen as a critic who was fair, knowledgeable, and passionate about the world of cinema. His reviews were widely read and respected by both audiences and industry professionals alike. Ebert's contributions to film criticism were significant, and his legacy continues to influence aspiring critics and filmmakers to this day. Overall, he remains a revered figure in the film community, known for his insightful reviews and unwavering dedication to the art of cinema.

Recent Projects and Current Status

Roger Ebert, the esteemed film critic, author, and journalist, passed away on April 4, 2013. Due to this, there have been no recent activities, projects, or current statuses attributable to him. His legacy, however, continues to inspire and influence the world of film criticism and journalism.

The last years of Ebert's life saw him battling thyroid cancer, which led to the loss of his ability to speak, eat, and drink in 2006 due to complications from surgeries related to his illness. Despite these enormous challenges, he continued to work prolifically, using adapted means to communicate and review films. During this period, he wrote a blog, numerous reviews for the Chicago Sun-Times, and several books, demonstrating remarkable resilience and dedication to his craft.

Ebert's final published book, "Life Itself: A Memoir," was released in 2011. This autobiographical work provides an introspective and candid look at his life and career, detailing his experiences from childhood through his numerous professional endeavors. It has been hailed for its insightfulness and the depth of personal revelation.

In the wake of his passing, Roger Ebert's enduring influence can be seen in several ongoing initiatives and projects that keep his memory and contributions alive. The biographical documentary "Life Itself," directed by Steve James and released in 2014, offers a comprehensive look at Ebert's life, career, and the indomitable spirit with which he faced his illness. The film has been praised for its heartfelt portrayal and has introduced Ebert's life story to new audiences.

Additionally, the Ebert Digital website,, remains active. It continues to host Ebert’s archived reviews and writings, offering a treasure trove of his critical insights. His widow, Chaz Ebert, oversees the site and contributes to its content, ensuring that it remains a vibrant and dynamic resource for film lovers.

In terms of upcoming projects, there are no new works authored by Roger Ebert due to his passing. However, the dissemination and celebration of his previously established body of work continue through various platforms. Film festivals, retrospectives, and academic studies frequently honor his impact on film criticism and journalism.

Though Roger Ebert is no longer actively contributing new works, his influence persists. His extensive body of reviews, writings, and personal reflections continue to be a substantial part of the cultural conversation around cinema, offering an enduring blueprint for thoughtful, passionate, and articulate film criticism.

Interesting Facts and Trivia

Roger Ebert was a renowned film critic and journalist who gained fame through his work on the television show "Siskel & Ebert." He was the first film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize for Criticism and wrote for the Chicago Sun-Times for almost 50 years. Ebert was known for his insightful and often entertaining movie reviews, which could make or break a film's success.

One interesting fact about Roger Ebert is that he wrote the screenplay for the exploitation film "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls," which was directed by Russ Meyer. The film was a departure from Ebert's usual style of film criticism but has since gained cult status.

In addition to his work as a film critic, Ebert was a prolific writer and author. He wrote several books on film criticism and cinema history, as well as a memoir titled "Life Itself," which was later adapted into a documentary of the same name.

Ebert was also known for his long-standing feud and eventual friendship with fellow film critic Gene Siskel. The two co-hosted the popular television show "Siskel & Ebert" in which they would review movies and provide their famous "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" ratings.

Despite battling cancer for over a decade, Ebert remained dedicated to his work as a film critic and continued to write reviews and essays until his passing in 2013. His impact on the world of film criticism and journalism is evident in the lasting legacy he left behind.


Roger Ebert was a highly influential journalist whose career spanned decades. He began as a film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times and later became a household name with his popular TV show with Gene Siskel, "Siskel & Ebert At the Movies." Ebert's impact extended beyond just movie reviews; he was known for his insightful commentary on social issues and his ability to connect with audiences.

Throughout his life, Roger Ebert faced challenges, including health issues that affected his ability to speak and eat. Despite these obstacles, he continued to write and share his opinions up until his passing in 2013. Ebert's journey was one of resilience and passion for his craft, always striving to engage and inform his readers and viewers.

Roger Ebert's lasting legacy lies in his influence on film criticism and his ability to shape public opinion about movies. His reviews were not just about assigning ratings, but about fostering a deeper appreciation for cinema as an art form. Ebert's work continues to inspire countless journalists and critics to this day, solidifying his place as one of the most impactful voices in film criticism.

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