R.I.P. Roger Ebert (June 18, 1942 – April 4, 2013)


I hate to deliver two pieces of bad news in a row but we regret to inform everyone that famed Film critic Roger Ebert passed away today at age 70 due to cancer. I think that Roger’s passing affects me more than even that of Jane Henson as I have so many memories of staying up late on the weekends in my neck of the woods watching At The Movies with Siskel and Ebert (Though originally it was entitled Sneak Previews). Many of the movies the duo reviewed I would have no chance of enjoying for myself until I was in my early 20s but I still tuned in every week and even then when I disagreed with their picks or judgement on a movie I held dear.

[Via] Grade Point

Roger Ebert had struggled with cancer starting in 2002 but had become almost as famous for not giving up even when he had much of his chin removed and lost the ability to eat, drink, and speak while he still continued to write movie reviews and eventually a cook book.

In 1975 he won the Pulitzer Prize, the first film critic to do so. In 1970 Roger Ebert wrote the screenplay for Russ Meyer’s cult classic “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls” and he also wrote the screenplay for “Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens” in 1979.

I think I’m going to make some popcorn and grab a few of the films that Ebert really loved and celebrate a film critic that was never formally taught…if you can even truly ever teach someone to be a film critic. Rest in peace Roger Ebert and I certainly hope that wherever you might be they’ve opened up the balcony seats where Gene Siskel is waiting with some Haagen-Dazs and the projector is beaming Citizen Kane on the Silver Screen.

From the New York Times: ” Mr. Ebert — who said he saw 500 films a year and reviewed half of them — was once asked what movie he thought was shown over and over again in heaven, and what snack would be free of charge and calories there.

“ ‘Citizen Kane’ and vanilla Haagen-Dazs ice cream,” he answered.”


Editor at Retroist
Searching through the alleys for useful knowledge in the city of Nostalgia. Huge cinema fanatic and sometimes carrier of the flame for the weirding ways of 80s gaming, toys, and television. When his wife lets him he is quite happy sitting in the corner eating buckets of beef jerky.

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9 thoughts on “R.I.P. Roger Ebert (June 18, 1942 – April 4, 2013)

  1. Such sadness today. I grew up in Chicago and this guy was on my TV every week. I had a brief encounter at TED with him a few years ago and he was energetic and friendly.

  2. Patrick, I would love to hear more about your encounter, my friend. Daniel, I somehow missed the news about Carmine Infantino! Wow…what a horrible week with all of these losses. :(

  3. I read a lot of stuff about Roger this week and it was a treat to find this clip. Added bonus that they were talking about DUNE, one of my all time favorite guilty pleasures.

  4. You and me both, Kal! I stumbled across this clip from over at Comics Alliance where Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert are discussing a movie that they feel very bad about overlooking, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm.


    Just one of the reasons why I sometimes might have disagreed with them…I still loved to watch them. They’ll be missed and make no mistake about it. :(

  5. F.J. McCloud says:

    Roger Ebert was my second celebrity autograph, and the one I feel most guilty about.
    I was at UIUC’s “Cyberfest” in 1997 to celebrate the birthday of HAL from 2001.
    This culminated in a showing of the movie and a (then-uncommon!) live video webcast with Arthur C. Clarke himself from Sri Lanka. Roger Ebert hosted the event.

    In the campus theater lobby there was alot of 2001 movie memorabelia on display, including the last known remnant of HAL — the machined aluminum backplate from its “eye”. The owner was uncomforable with anyone handling it but I snuck a touch anyway.

    I already felt sorry for Roger Ebert, because he was swamped with autograph hounds in the lobby after the event. I was just standing around admiring the exhibits and somehow got near him. When the crowd subdued the poor guy was obviously exhausted. He begged me for a glass of water, which I promptly got for him.

    And then I, too, stuck out my program guide for an autograph. He graciously gave me it, though it was very quickly scrawled. I’m sure I still have it somewhere, a memento of that guilty moment. From then on every autograph I’ve gotten has been in a controlled setting (e.g. Svengoolie or Richard Kiel at a convention table) or agreed upon rather than a spurious thing.

  6. I’m sure that Ebert understood, F.J. McCloud! Thank you for sharing that story as well, friend. I have a few autographs in my collection and most of those thanks to the San Diego Comic-Con. If you find that autograph you should scan it and send it to us to share with everyone. :)

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