Screenwriter, journalist, and film critic Roger Joseph Ebert passed away on Apr. 4, at the age of 70, after a long-term battle with salivary and thyroid cancer. Just two days earlier, he had publicly revealed that the cancer had returned to his body and that he was taking a leave of absence to focus on his health. His final blog post ended with an expression of gratitude and love for his fan base, along with his personal sign-off, “I’ll see you at the movies.”
Ebert worked for over 40 years as a film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times and by 2010 his reviews were syndicated in over 200 newspapers throughout North America. He is perhaps best known for his place opposite Gene Siskel in the popular television show Sneak Previews, where they argued over their respective opinions of current films, and where the popular “Thumbs Up / Thumbs Down” rating was created.
After Siskel’s death in 1999, Ebert teamed up with Richard Roeper to co-star in At the Movies With Ebert & Roeper. In 2011, a series titled Ebert Presents: At the Movies included several film reviews per episode by various film critics, with a segment including a review written by Ebert, but read by someone else. He received the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism in 1975.
Even after cancer-related surgery removed his ability to speak in 2006, Ebert continued to interact with his fans through social media, and updated his blog regularly before his death. He was lauded by professional film critics and casual moviegoers alike for his deceptively simple, witty, and sometimes caustic writing style.
His love for film never ceased; even after announcing his cancer’s recurrence he optimistically included that now he would only write reviews for films he actually wanted to watch. He was a pundit, an artist, and a role model. Thank you, Roger. We’ll see you at the movies.