Roger Ebert

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For the website, see RogerEbert.com. Roger Ebert_sentence_0

Roger Ebert_table_infobox_0

Roger EbertRoger Ebert_header_cell_0_0_0
BornRoger Ebert_header_cell_0_1_0 Roger Joseph Ebert

(1942-06-18)June 18, 1942 Urbana, Illinois, U.S.Roger Ebert_cell_0_1_1

DiedRoger Ebert_header_cell_0_2_0 April 4, 2013(2013-04-04) (aged 70)

Chicago, Illinois, U.S.Roger Ebert_cell_0_2_1

OccupationRoger Ebert_header_cell_0_3_0 Roger Ebert_cell_0_3_1
LanguageRoger Ebert_header_cell_0_4_0 EnglishRoger Ebert_cell_0_4_1
EducationRoger Ebert_header_cell_0_5_0 University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (BA)

University of ChicagoRoger Ebert_cell_0_5_1

SubjectRoger Ebert_header_cell_0_6_0 FilmRoger Ebert_cell_0_6_1
Notable worksRoger Ebert_header_cell_0_7_0 Roger Ebert_cell_0_7_1
Notable awardsRoger Ebert_header_cell_0_8_0 Pulitzer Prize for CriticismRoger Ebert_cell_0_8_1
Years activeRoger Ebert_header_cell_0_9_0 1967–2013Roger Ebert_cell_0_9_1
SpouseRoger Ebert_header_cell_0_10_0 Chaz Hammelsmith ​(m. 1992)​Roger Ebert_cell_0_10_1
SignatureRoger Ebert_header_cell_0_11_0 Roger Ebert_cell_0_11_1
WebsiteRoger Ebert_header_cell_0_12_0

Roger Joseph Ebert (/ˈiːbərt/; June 18, 1942 – April 4, 2013) was an American film critic, film historian, journalist, screenwriter, and author. Roger Ebert_sentence_1

He was a film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times from 1967 until his death in 2013. Roger Ebert_sentence_2

In 1975, Ebert became the first film critic to win the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism. Roger Ebert_sentence_3

Neil Steinberg of the Chicago Sun-Times said Ebert "was without question the nation's most prominent and influential film critic," Tom Van Riper of Forbes described him as "the most powerful pundit in America," and Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times called him "the best-known film critic in America." Roger Ebert_sentence_4

Ebert was known for his intimate, Midwestern writing voice and critical views informed by values of populism and humanism. Roger Ebert_sentence_5

Writing in a prose style intended to be entertaining and direct, he made sophisticated cinematic and analytical ideas more accessible to nonspecialist audiences. Roger Ebert_sentence_6

Despite being a populist, Ebert frequently endorsed foreign and independent films he believed would be appreciated by mainstream viewers, which often resulted in such films receiving greater exposure. Roger Ebert_sentence_7

Ebert and Chicago Tribune critic Gene Siskel helped popularize nationally televised film reviewing when they co-hosted the PBS show Sneak Previews, followed by several variously named At the Movies programs. Roger Ebert_sentence_8

The two verbally sparred and traded humorous barbs while discussing films. Roger Ebert_sentence_9

They created and trademarked the phrase "two thumbs up," used when both gave the same film a positive review. Roger Ebert_sentence_10

After Siskel died in 1999, Ebert continued hosting the show with various co-hosts and then, starting in 2000, with Richard Roeper. Roger Ebert_sentence_11

Ebert was diagnosed with cancer of the thyroid and salivary glands in 2002. Roger Ebert_sentence_12

In 2006, he required treatment that included removal of his lower jaw, leaving him severely disfigured and without the ability to speak or eat normally. Roger Ebert_sentence_13

However, his ability to write remained unimpaired and he continued to publish frequently online and in print until his death on April 4, 2013. Roger Ebert_sentence_14

Early life Roger Ebert_section_0

Roger Joseph Ebert was born in Urbana, Illinois, the only child of Annabel (née Stumm, 1911–1987), a bookkeeper, and Walter Harry Ebert (1901–1960), an electrician. Roger Ebert_sentence_15

He was raised Roman Catholic, attending St. Mary's elementary school and serving as an altar boy in Urbana. Roger Ebert_sentence_16

His paternal grandparents were German immigrants and his maternal ancestry was Irish and Dutch. Roger Ebert_sentence_17

Ebert's interest in journalism began when he was a student at Urbana High School, where he was a sportswriter for The News-Gazette in Champaign, Illinois; however, he began his writing career with letters of comment to the science-fiction fanzines of the era. Roger Ebert_sentence_18

In his senior year, he was class president and co-editor of his high school newspaper, The Echo. Roger Ebert_sentence_19

In 1958, he won the Illinois High School Association state speech championship in "radio speaking," an event that simulates radio newscasts. Roger Ebert_sentence_20

Regarding his early influences in film criticism, Ebert wrote in the 1998 parody collection Mad About the Movies: Roger Ebert_sentence_21

Ebert began taking classes at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign as an early-entrance student, completing his high school courses while also taking his first university class. Roger Ebert_sentence_22

After graduating from Urbana High School in 1960, Ebert then attended and received his undergraduate degree in 1964. Roger Ebert_sentence_23

While at the University of Illinois, Ebert worked as a reporter for The Daily Illini and then served as its editor during his senior year while also continuing to work as a reporter for the News-Gazette of Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. Roger Ebert_sentence_24

(He had begun at the News-Gazette at age 15 covering Urbana High School sports.) Roger Ebert_sentence_25

As an undergraduate, he was a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity and president of the U.S. Student Press Association. Roger Ebert_sentence_26

One of the first movie reviews he ever wrote was a review of La Dolce Vita, published in The Daily Illini in October 1961. Roger Ebert_sentence_27

Ebert spent a semester as a master's student in the department of English there before attending the University of Cape Town on a Rotary fellowship for a year. Roger Ebert_sentence_28

He returned from Cape Town to his graduate studies at Illinois for two more semesters and then, after being accepted as a PhD candidate at the University of Chicago, he prepared to move to Chicago. Roger Ebert_sentence_29

He needed a job to support himself while he worked on his doctorate and so applied to the Chicago Daily News, hoping that, as he had already sold freelance pieces to the Daily News, including an article on the death of writer Brendan Behan, he would be hired by editor Herman Kogan. Roger Ebert_sentence_30

Instead Kogan referred Ebert to the city editor at the Chicago Sun-Times, Jim Hoge, who hired Ebert as a reporter and feature writer at the Sun-Times in 1966. Roger Ebert_sentence_31

He attended doctoral classes at the University of Chicago while working as a general reporter at the Sun-Times for a year. Roger Ebert_sentence_32

After movie critic Eleanor Keane left the Sun-Times in April 1967, editor Robert Zonka gave the job to Ebert. Roger Ebert_sentence_33

The load of graduate school and being a film critic proved too much, so Ebert left the University of Chicago to focus his energies on film criticism. Roger Ebert_sentence_34

Career Roger Ebert_section_1

Writing Roger Ebert_section_2

Ebert began his career as a film critic in 1967, writing for the Chicago Sun-Times. Roger Ebert_sentence_35

That same year, he met film critic Pauline Kael for the first time at the New York Film Festival. Roger Ebert_sentence_36

After he sent her some of his columns, she told him they were "the best film criticism being done in American newspapers today." Roger Ebert_sentence_37

That same year, Ebert's first book, a history of the University of Illinois titled Illini Century: One Hundred Years of Campus Life, was published by the University's press. Roger Ebert_sentence_38

In 1969, his review of Night of the Living Dead was published in Reader's Digest. Roger Ebert_sentence_39

In addition to film, Ebert would occasionally write about other topics for the Sun-Times, such as music; In 1970, Ebert wrote the first published concert review of singer-songwriter John Prine, who at the time was working as a mailman and performing at Chicago folk clubs. Roger Ebert_sentence_40

Ebert co-wrote the screenplay for the Russ Meyer film Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970) and sometimes joked about being responsible for the film, which was poorly received on its release yet has become a cult film. Roger Ebert_sentence_41

Ebert and Meyer also made Up! Roger Ebert_sentence_42

(1976), Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens (1979), and other films, and were involved in the ill-fated Sex Pistols movie Who Killed Bambi? Roger Ebert_sentence_43

(In April 2010, Ebert posted his screenplay of Who Killed Bambi?, aka Anarchy in the UK, on his blog.) Roger Ebert_sentence_44

Beginning in 1968, Ebert worked for the University of Chicago as an adjunct lecturer, teaching a night class on film at the Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies. Roger Ebert_sentence_45

In 1975, Ebert received the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism. Roger Ebert_sentence_46

In October 1986, while continuing to work for the Sun-Times and still being based in Chicago, Ebert replaced Rex Reed as the New York Post chief film reviewer. Roger Ebert_sentence_47

As of 2007, his reviews were syndicated to more than 200 newspapers in the United States and abroad. Roger Ebert_sentence_48

Ebert also published more than 20 books and dozens of collected reviews. Roger Ebert_sentence_49

Even as he used TV (and later the internet) to share his reviews, Ebert continued to write for the Chicago Sun-Times until he died in 2013. Roger Ebert_sentence_50

TV career Roger Ebert_section_3

Also in 1975, Ebert and Gene Siskel began co-hosting a weekly film-review television show, Sneak Previews, which was locally produced by the Chicago public broadcasting station WTTW. Roger Ebert_sentence_51

The series was later picked up for national syndication on PBS. Roger Ebert_sentence_52

The duo became well known for their "thumbs up/thumbs down" review summaries. Roger Ebert_sentence_53

Siskel and Ebert trademarked the phrase "Two Thumbs Up." Roger Ebert_sentence_54

In 1982, they moved from PBS to launch a similar syndicated commercial television show named At the Movies With Gene Siskel & Roger Ebert. Roger Ebert_sentence_55

In 1986, they again moved the show to new ownership, creating Siskel & Ebert & the Movies through Buena Vista Television, part of the Walt Disney Company. Roger Ebert_sentence_56

After Siskel died in 1999, the producers retitled the show Roger Ebert & the Movies and used rotating co-hosts including Martin Scorsese, A.O. Roger Ebert_sentence_57 Scott, and Janet Maslin. Roger Ebert_sentence_58

In September 2000, Chicago Sun-Times columnist Richard Roeper became the permanent co-host and the show was renamed At the Movies with Ebert & Roeper and later At the Movies. Roger Ebert_sentence_59

In 2000, Ebert interviewed President Bill Clinton at The White House. Roger Ebert_sentence_60

Clinton spoke about his love for the movies, his favorite films of 1999, and of all time which include Casablanca (1942), High Noon (1952) and The Ten Commandments (1956). Roger Ebert_sentence_61

President Clinton also mentioned his favorite actors being Meryl Streep, Robert De Niro, and Tom Hanks. Roger Ebert_sentence_62

In 2005, Ebert became the first film critic to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Roger Ebert_sentence_63

Later career Roger Ebert_section_4

Ebert ended his association with the Disney-owned At The Movies in July 2008, after the studio indicated it wished to take the program in a new direction. Roger Ebert_sentence_64

On February 18, 2009, Ebert reported that he and Roeper would soon announce a new movie-review program, and reiterated this plan after Disney announced that the program's last episode would air in August 2010. Roger Ebert_sentence_65

On January 31, 2009, Ebert was made an honorary life member of the Directors Guild of America. Roger Ebert_sentence_66

His final television series, Ebert Presents: At the Movies, premiered on January 21, 2011, with Ebert contributing a review voiced by Bill Kurtis in a brief segment called "Roger's Office," as well as featuring more traditional film reviews in the "At the Movies" format presented by Christy Lemire and Ignatiy Vishnevetsky. Roger Ebert_sentence_67

The last review Ebert wrote was for the film To the Wonder, which he gave 3.5 out of 4 stars in a review for the Chicago Sun-Times. Roger Ebert_sentence_68

It was published on April 6, 2013. Roger Ebert_sentence_69

In July 2013, a previously unpublished review of the film Computer Chess appeared on Ebert's website. Roger Ebert_sentence_70

The review had been written in March but had remained unpublished until the film's wide-release date. Roger Ebert_sentence_71

Matt Zoller Seitz, the editor for Ebert's website, confirmed that there were other unpublished reviews that would be eventually uploaded to the website. Roger Ebert_sentence_72

A second posthumously published review, for The Spectacular Now, was published in August 2013. Roger Ebert_sentence_73

Film and TV appearances Roger Ebert_section_5

In 1995, Ebert, along with colleague Gene Siskel, guest-starred on an episode of the animated TV series The Critic. Roger Ebert_sentence_74

In the episode, Siskel and Ebert split and each wants Jay as his new partner. Roger Ebert_sentence_75

The episode is a parody of the film Sleepless in Seattle. Roger Ebert_sentence_76

The following year, Ebert appeared in Pitch, a documentary by Canadian film makers Spencer Rice and Kenny Hotz. Roger Ebert_sentence_77

He made an appearance as himself in a 1997 episode of the television series Early Edition, which took place in Chicago. Roger Ebert_sentence_78

In the episode, Ebert consoles a young boy who is depressed after he sees a character called Bosco the Bunny die in a movie. Roger Ebert_sentence_79

In 1999, Roger Ebert founded his own film festival, Ebertfest, in his home town of Champaign, Illinois. Roger Ebert_sentence_80

He was also a regular fixture at the Hawaii International Film Festival. Roger Ebert_sentence_81

In 2003, Ebert made a cameo appearance in the film Abby Singer. Roger Ebert_sentence_82

On May 4, 2010, Ebert was announced by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences as the Webby Person of the Year, having taken to the internet following his battle with cancer. Roger Ebert_sentence_83

On October 22, 2010, Ebert appeared on camera with Robert Osborne on the Turner Classic Movies network during the network's "The Essentials" series. Roger Ebert_sentence_84

Ebert chose the films Sweet Smell of Success and The Lady Eve to be shown. Roger Ebert_sentence_85

For many years, on the day of the Academy Awards ceremony, Ebert appeared with Roeper on the live pre-awards show, An Evening at the Academy Awards: The Arrivals. Roger Ebert_sentence_86

This aired for over a decade, usually prior to the awards ceremony show, which also featured red carpet interviews and fashion commentary. Roger Ebert_sentence_87

They also used to appear on the post-awards show entitled An Evening at the Academy Awards: The Winners, produced and aired by the ABC-owned KABC-TV in Los Angeles. Roger Ebert_sentence_88

Ebert was one of the principal critics featured in Gerald Peary's 2009 documentary film For the Love of Movies: The Story of American Film Criticism. Roger Ebert_sentence_89

He is shown discussing the dynamics of appearing with Gene Siskel on the 1970s show Coming to a Theatre Near You, which was the predecessor of Sneak Previews on Chicago PBS station WTTW. Roger Ebert_sentence_90

He also expressed his approval of the proliferation of young people writing film reviews today on the internet. Roger Ebert_sentence_91

Ebert provided DVD audio commentaries for several films, including Citizen Kane, Casablanca, Dark City, Floating Weeds, Crumb, and Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (for which Ebert also wrote the screenplay, based on a story that he co-wrote with Russ Meyer). Roger Ebert_sentence_92

Ebert was also interviewed by Central Park Media for an extra feature on the DVD release of the anime film Grave of the Fireflies. Roger Ebert_sentence_93

Ebert appeared as a guest star multiple times on Sesame Street. Roger Ebert_sentence_94

A bio-documentary about Ebert, called Life Itself, was released in 2014 to universal acclaim. Roger Ebert_sentence_95

Though not making a personal appearance, an honorary effigy of Ebert co-starred in the 1998 reimagined version of Godzilla, played by actor Michael Lerner as New York City Mayor Ebert. Roger Ebert_sentence_96

Critical style Roger Ebert_section_6

Ebert described his critical approach to films as "relative, not absolute"; he reviewed a film for what he thought it would be to its prospective audience, yet always with at least some consideration as to its value as a whole. Roger Ebert_sentence_97

He awarded four stars to films of the highest quality, and generally a half star to those of the lowest, unless he considered the film to be "artistically inept and morally repugnant," in which case it received no stars. Roger Ebert_sentence_98

Metacritic later noted that Ebert tended to give more lenient ratings than most critics. Roger Ebert_sentence_99

His average film rating was 71%, if translated into a percentage, compared to 59% for the site as a whole. Roger Ebert_sentence_100

Of his reviews, 75% were positive and 75% of his ratings were better than his colleagues. Roger Ebert_sentence_101

Ebert had acknowledged in 2008 that he gave higher ratings on average than other critics, though he said this was in part because he considered a rating of 3 out of 4 stars to be the general threshold for a film to get a "thumbs up." Roger Ebert_sentence_102

Although Ebert rarely wrote outright-scathing reviews, he had a reputation for writing memorable ones for the films he really disliked, such as North. Roger Ebert_sentence_103

Ebert emphasized that his star ratings had little meaning if not considered in the context of the review itself. Roger Ebert_sentence_104

Occasionally, Ebert's star rating may have seemed at odds with his written opinion. Roger Ebert_sentence_105

Ebert acknowledged one such case in his review of Basic Instinct 2, which he gave 1.5 stars, and about which he wrote "I cannot recommend the movie, but ... why the hell can't I? Roger Ebert_sentence_106

Just because it's godawful? Roger Ebert_sentence_107

What kind of reason is that of staying away from a movie? Roger Ebert_sentence_108

Godawful and boring, that would be a reason." Roger Ebert_sentence_109

In his review of The Manson Family, Ebert gave the film three stars for achieving what it set out to do, but admitted that did not count as a recommendation per se. Roger Ebert_sentence_110

He similarly gave the Adam Sandler–starring remake of The Longest Yard a positive rating of three stars, but in his review, which he wrote soon after attending the Cannes Film Festival, he recommended readers not to see the film because they had access to more satisfying cinematic experiences. Roger Ebert_sentence_111

He declined to give a star rating to The Human Centipede, arguing that the rating system was "unsuited" to such a film: "Is the movie good? Roger Ebert_sentence_112

Is it bad? Roger Ebert_sentence_113

Does it matter? Roger Ebert_sentence_114

It is what it is and occupies a world where the stars don't shine." Roger Ebert_sentence_115

Ebert's reviews were also characterized by what has been called "dry wit." Roger Ebert_sentence_116

In August 2005, after Rob Schneider insulted Los Angeles Times movie critic Patrick Goldstein (who had criticized Schneider's film Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo) by commenting that Goldstein was unqualified because he had never won the Pulitzer Prize, Ebert intervened by stating that, as a Pulitzer winner, he was qualified to review the film, and bluntly told Schneider, "Your movie sucks." Roger Ebert_sentence_117

Ebert and Schneider would later reconcile regarding this matter. Roger Ebert_sentence_118

He often included personal anecdotes in his reviews when he considered them relevant. Roger Ebert_sentence_119

He occasionally wrote reviews in the forms of stories, poems, songs, scripts, open letters, or imagined conversations. Roger Ebert_sentence_120

He wrote many essays and articles exploring in depth the field of film criticism (see Bibliography in this article). Roger Ebert_sentence_121

Will Sloan argued that the reason for Ebert's popularity was that he struck a balance between being respected among film scholars and appealing to a wide audience. Roger Ebert_sentence_122

For example, he noted how Ebert and Siskel may have given "thumbs up/thumbs down" verdicts on their show, but they also used the show to promote foreign and independent cinema. Roger Ebert_sentence_123

In his appearances on The Howard Stern Show, he was frequently challenged to defend his ratings. Roger Ebert_sentence_124

Ebert stood by his opinions with one notable exception: when Stern pointed out that Ebert had given The Godfather Part II a three-star rating in 1974, but had subsequently given The Godfather Part III three and a half stars. Roger Ebert_sentence_125

Ebert later added The Godfather Part II to his "Great Movies" list in October 2008 stating that his original review has often been cited as proof of his "worthlessness" but he still had not changed his mind and would not change a word of his original review. Roger Ebert_sentence_126

When reviewing the 2009 remake of The Last House on the Left, Ebert noted how he had given the controversial 1972 original three and a half stars and declined to make a comparison between the two versions: "I wrote that original 'Last House' review 37 years ago. Roger Ebert_sentence_127

I am not the same person. Roger Ebert_sentence_128

I am uninterested in being 'consistent'." Roger Ebert_sentence_129

Preferences Roger Ebert_section_7

Favorites Roger Ebert_section_8

Ebert indicated that his favorite film was Citizen Kane, joking, "That's the official answer," although he preferred to emphasize it as "the most important" film. Roger Ebert_sentence_130

He insinuated that his real favorite film was La Dolce Vita. Roger Ebert_sentence_131

His favorite actor was Robert Mitchum, and his favorite actress was Ingrid Bergman. Roger Ebert_sentence_132

He also considered Buster Keaton, Robert Altman, Werner Herzog, and Martin Scorsese to be his favorite directors. Roger Ebert_sentence_133

He expressed his general distaste for "top-10" lists, and all movie lists in general, but contributed a top-10 list to the 2012 Sight and Sound Critics' poll. Roger Ebert_sentence_134

Listed alphabetically, those films were 2001: A Space Odyssey; Aguirre, the Wrath of God; Apocalypse Now; Citizen Kane; La Dolce Vita; The General; Raging Bull; Tokyo Story; The Tree of Life; and Vertigo. Roger Ebert_sentence_135

His favorite Bond film was Goldfinger (1964), and he later added it to his "Great Movies" list. Roger Ebert_sentence_136

Best films of the year Roger Ebert_section_9

Ebert compiled "best of the year" movie lists beginning in 1967 until 2012, thereby helping provide an overview of his critical preferences. Roger Ebert_sentence_137

His top choices were: Roger Ebert_sentence_138

Ebert revisited and sometimes revised his opinions. Roger Ebert_sentence_139

After ranking E.T. Roger Ebert_sentence_140 the Extra-Terrestrial third on his 1982 list, it was the only movie from that year to appear on his later "Best Films of the 1980s" list (where it also ranked third). Roger Ebert_sentence_141

He made similar reevaluations of Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) and Ran (1985). Roger Ebert_sentence_142

Three Colours trilogy (Blue (1993), White (1994), and Red (also 1994)), and Pulp Fiction (1994) originally ranked second and third on Ebert's 1994 list; both were included on his "Best Films of the 1990s" list, but their order had reversed. Roger Ebert_sentence_143

In 2006, Ebert noted his own "tendency to place what I now consider the year's best film in second place, perhaps because I was trying to make some kind of point with my top pick," adding, "In 1968, I should have ranked 2001 above The Battle of Algiers. Roger Ebert_sentence_144

In 1971, McCabe & Mrs. Miller was better than The Last Picture Show. Roger Ebert_sentence_145

In 1974, Chinatown was probably better, in a different way, than Scenes from a Marriage. Roger Ebert_sentence_146

In 1976, how could I rank Small Change above Taxi Driver? Roger Ebert_sentence_147

In 1978, I would put Days of Heaven above An Unmarried Woman. Roger Ebert_sentence_148

And in 1980, of course, Raging Bull was a better film than The Black Stallion ... although I later chose Raging Bull as the best film of the entire decade of the 1980s, it was only the second-best film of 1980 ... am I the same person I was in 1968, 1971, or 1980? Roger Ebert_sentence_149

I hope not." Roger Ebert_sentence_150

Since Ebert died, his website has continued the practice, with the site's primary contributors each offering individual top-10 lists, with their rankings combined into a communal top-10 list. Roger Ebert_sentence_151

Genres and content Roger Ebert_section_10

Ebert was often critical of the Motion Picture Association of America film rating system (MPAA). Roger Ebert_sentence_152

His main arguments were that they were too strict on sex and profanity, too lenient on violence, secretive with their guidelines, inconsistent in applying them and not willing to consider the wider context and meaning of the film. Roger Ebert_sentence_153

He advocated replacing the NC-17 rating with separate ratings for pornographic and nonpornographic adult films. Roger Ebert_sentence_154

Ebert also frequently lamented that cinemas outside major cities are "booked by computer from Hollywood with no regard for local tastes," making high-quality independent and foreign films virtually unavailable to most American moviegoers. Roger Ebert_sentence_155

Some horror movie fans accused Ebert of elitism and prejudice against the horror genre, especially because of his dismissive comments about "Dead Teenager Movies." Roger Ebert_sentence_156

In 2007, Ebert responded to a question from a horror movie reviewer by saying that he did not disparage horror movies as a whole. Roger Ebert_sentence_157

He wrote that he drew a distinction between films like Nosferatu and The Silence of the Lambs, which he regarded as "masterpieces," and those that had no content other than teenagers being killed. Roger Ebert_sentence_158

Ebert occasionally accused some films of having an unwholesome political agenda, such as his assertion that the film Dirty Harry (1971) had a fascist moral position. Roger Ebert_sentence_159

He was wary of films passed off as art, which he saw as lurid and sensational. Roger Ebert_sentence_160

He leveled this charge against such films as The Night Porter (1974). Roger Ebert_sentence_161

Ebert commented on films using his Catholic upbringing as a point of reference, and was critical of films he believed were grossly ignorant of or insulting to Catholicism, such as Stigmata (1999) and Priest (1994). Roger Ebert_sentence_162

He also gave favorable reviews of controversial films with themes or references to Jesus and Catholicism, including The Passion of the Christ (2004), The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), and to Kevin Smith's religious satire Dogma (1999). Roger Ebert_sentence_163

Ebert was described as an agnostic in 2005, but preferred not being "pigeon-holed." Roger Ebert_sentence_164

Contrarian reviews Roger Ebert_section_11

Writing in an online magazine Hazlitt about Ebert's reviews, Will Sloan argued that "[t]here were inevitably movies where he veered from consensus, but he was not provocative or idiosyncratic by nature." Roger Ebert_sentence_165

One example of Ebert dissenting with other critics was his one-star review of the celebrated 1986 David Lynch film Blue Velvet ("marred by sophomoric satire and cheap shots ... in a way, [director Lynch's] behavior is more sadistic than the Hopper character"). Roger Ebert_sentence_166

He also gave a one-star review to the critically acclaimed Abbas Kiarostami film Taste of Cherry, which won the Palme d'Or at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival. Roger Ebert_sentence_167

Ebert later went on to add the film to a list of his most-hated movies of all time. Roger Ebert_sentence_168

He was dismissive of the popular 1988 Bruce Willis action film Die Hard ("inappropriate and wrongheaded interruptions reveal the fragile nature of the plot"), while his positive 3 out of 4 stars review of 1997's Speed 2: Cruise Control ("Movies like this embrace goofiness with an almost sensual pleasure") is one of only three positive reviews accounting for that film's 4% approval rating on the reviewer aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes (one of the two others having been written by his At the Movies co-star Gene Siskel). Roger Ebert_sentence_169

Other interests Roger Ebert_section_12

Ebert was an admirer of director Werner Herzog, whom he supported through many years when Herzog's popularity had declined. Roger Ebert_sentence_170

He conducted an onstage public "conversation" with Herzog at the Telluride Film Festival in 2004, after a screening of Herzog's film Invincible at Roger Ebert's Overlooked Film Festival. Roger Ebert_sentence_171

Herzog dedicated his film Encounters at the End of the World (2008) to Ebert, and Ebert responded with a heartfelt public letter of gratitude. Roger Ebert_sentence_172

Herzog said he once exhorted Ebert to watch the television reality sitcom The Anna Nicole Show, featuring the former Playboy Playmate, so he could gain a better understanding of the decline in American culture. Roger Ebert_sentence_173

Ebert did watch it. Roger Ebert_sentence_174

Ebert was also an advocate and supporter of Asian-American cinema, famously coming to the defense of the cast and crew of Justin Lin's Better Luck Tomorrow (2002) during a Sundance Film Festival screening when a white member of the audience asked how Asians could be portrayed in such a negative light and how a film so empty and amoral could be made for Asian-Americans and Americans. Roger Ebert_sentence_175

Ebert responded that "nobody would say such a thing to a bunch of white filmmakers: How could you do this to 'your people'? Roger Ebert_sentence_176

... Asian-American characters have the right to be whoever the hell they want to be. Roger Ebert_sentence_177

They do not have to represent 'their people'!" Roger Ebert_sentence_178

He was a supporter of the film after the incident at Sundance, and also supported a number of Asian-American films, having them also screen at his film festival (such as Eric Byler's Charlotte Sometimes). Roger Ebert_sentence_179

Views on technology Roger Ebert_section_13

Ebert was a strong advocate for Maxivision 48, in which the movie projector runs at 48 frames per second, as compared to the usual 24 frames per second. Roger Ebert_sentence_180

He was opposed to the practice whereby theaters lower the intensity of their projector bulbs in order to extend the life of the bulb, arguing that this has little effect other than to make the film harder to see. Roger Ebert_sentence_181

Ebert was skeptical of the resurgence of 3D effects in film, which he found unrealistic and distracting. Roger Ebert_sentence_182

In 2005, Ebert opined that video games are not art, and are inferior to media created through authorial control, such as film and literature, stating, "video games can be elegant, subtle, sophisticated, challenging and visually wonderful," but "the nature of the medium prevents it from moving beyond craftsmanship to the stature of art." Roger Ebert_sentence_183

This resulted in negative reaction from video game enthusiasts, such as writer Clive Barker, who defended video games as an art form. Roger Ebert_sentence_184

Ebert wrote a further piece in response to Barker. Roger Ebert_sentence_185

Ebert maintained his position in 2010, but conceded that he should not have expressed this skepticism without being more familiar with the actual experience of playing them. Roger Ebert_sentence_186

He admitted that he barely played video games: "I have played Cosmology of Kyoto which I enormously enjoyed, and Myst for which I lacked the patience." Roger Ebert_sentence_187

Personal life Roger Ebert_section_14

At age 50, Ebert married trial attorney Charlie "Chaz" Hammelsmith (formerly Chaz Hammel-Smith) in 1992. Roger Ebert_sentence_188

He explained in his memoir, Life Itself, that he "would never marry before [his] mother died," as he was afraid of displeasing her. Roger Ebert_sentence_189

In a July 2012 blog entry titled "Roger loves Chaz," Ebert wrote, "She fills my horizon, she is the great fact of my life, she has my love, she saved me from the fate of living out my life alone, which is where I seemed to be heading." Roger Ebert_sentence_190

Chaz Ebert is now vice president of the Ebert Company and has emceed Ebertfest. Roger Ebert_sentence_191

Ebert was a recovering alcoholic, having quit drinking in 1979. Roger Ebert_sentence_192

He was a member of Alcoholics Anonymous and had written some blog entries on the subject. Roger Ebert_sentence_193

He was a longtime friend of, and briefly dated, Oprah Winfrey, who credited him with persuading her to syndicate The Oprah Winfrey Show, which became the highest-rated talk show in American television history. Roger Ebert_sentence_194

He was also friends with film historian and critic Leonard Maltin and considered the book Leonard Maltin's Movie and Video Guide (final update in 2014) to be the standard of film guide books. Roger Ebert_sentence_195

A supporter of the Democratic Party, Ebert publicly urged liberal filmmaker Michael Moore to give a politically charged acceptance speech at the Academy Awards: "I'd like to see Michael Moore get up there and let 'em have it with both barrels and really let loose and give them a real rabble-rousing speech." Roger Ebert_sentence_196

During a 1996 panel at the University of Colorado Boulder's Conference on World Affairs, Ebert coined the Boulder Pledge, by which he vowed never to purchase anything offered through the result of an unsolicited email message, or to forward chain emails or mass emails to others. Roger Ebert_sentence_197

Ebert endorsed Barack Obama for re-election as president in 2012. Roger Ebert_sentence_198

Ebert was critical of intelligent design, and stated that people who believe in either creationism or New Age beliefs such as crystal healing or astrology are not qualified to be president. Roger Ebert_sentence_199

Ebert also expressed disbelief in pseudoscientific or supernatural claims in general, calling them "," though he has argued that reincarnation is possible from a "scientific, rationalist point of view." Roger Ebert_sentence_200

Discussing his beliefs, in 2009, Ebert wrote that he did not "want to provide a category for people to apply to [him]" because he "would not want [his] convictions reduced to a word," and stated, "I have never said, although readers have freely informed me I am an atheist, an agnostic, or at the very least a secular humanist – which I am." Roger Ebert_sentence_201

In the same blog entry, he also said "I am not a believer, not an atheist, not an agnostic. Roger Ebert_sentence_202

I am still awake at night, asking how? Roger Ebert_sentence_203

I am more content with the question than I would be with an answer." Roger Ebert_sentence_204

In March 2013, he wrote: "I support freedom of choice. Roger Ebert_sentence_205

My choice is to not support abortion, except in cases of a clear-cut choice between the lives of the mother and child. Roger Ebert_sentence_206

A child conceived through incest or rape is innocent and deserves the right to be born." Roger Ebert_sentence_207

He also stated: "I consider myself Catholic, lock, stock, and barrel, with this technical loophole: I cannot believe in God. Roger Ebert_sentence_208

I refuse to call myself an atheist, however, because that indicates too great a certainty about the unknowable". Roger Ebert_sentence_209

He had previously identified as Catholic in his reviews of movies about Jesus, most notably in his review of Gibson's The Passion. Roger Ebert_sentence_210

On April 25, 2011, he achieved one of his long-time goals: winning one of the weekly cartoon-caption contests in The New Yorker after more than 100 attempts. Roger Ebert_sentence_211

Health Roger Ebert_section_15

In early 2002, Ebert was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer which was successfully removed in February. Roger Ebert_sentence_212

In 2003, he underwent surgery for cancer in his salivary gland, which was followed up by radiation therapy. Roger Ebert_sentence_213

He was again afflicted with cancer in 2006. Roger Ebert_sentence_214

In June of that year, he had surgery to remove cancerous tissue near his right jaw. Roger Ebert_sentence_215

A week later he had a life-threatening complication when his carotid artery burst near the surgery site. Roger Ebert_sentence_216

He was confined to bed rest and was unable to speak, eat, or drink for a time, necessitating the use of a feeding tube. Roger Ebert_sentence_217

The complications kept Ebert off the air for an extended period. Roger Ebert_sentence_218

Ebert made his first public appearance since mid-2006 at Ebertfest on April 25, 2007. Roger Ebert_sentence_219

He was unable to speak, instead communicating through his wife. Roger Ebert_sentence_220

He returned to reviewing on May 18, 2007, when three of his reviews were published in print. Roger Ebert_sentence_221

In July 2007, he revealed that he was still unable to speak. Roger Ebert_sentence_222

Ebert adopted a computerized voice system to communicate, eventually using a copy of his own voice created from his recordings by CereProc. Roger Ebert_sentence_223

In March 2010, his health trials and new computerized voice were featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Roger Ebert_sentence_224

Ebert later proposed a test to determine the realism of a synthesized voice. Roger Ebert_sentence_225

Ebert underwent further surgery in January 2008 to try and restore his voice and address the complications from his previous surgeries. Roger Ebert_sentence_226

On April 1, Ebert announced his speech had not been restored. Roger Ebert_sentence_227

A further surgery was performed in April 2008 after Ebert fractured his hip in a fall. Roger Ebert_sentence_228

By 2011, Ebert was using a prosthetic chin to hide some of the damage done by his many chin, mouth, and throat surgeries. Roger Ebert_sentence_229

In December 2012, Ebert was hospitalized due to the fractured hip, which was subsequently determined to be the result of cancer. Roger Ebert_sentence_230

Death Roger Ebert_section_16

Three years before his death, Ebert wrote: Roger Ebert_sentence_231

On April 4, 2013, Ebert died at age 70 at a hospital in Chicago, shortly before he was set to return to his home and enter hospice care. Roger Ebert_sentence_232

Reaction came from celebrities both in and out of the entertainment industry. Roger Ebert_sentence_233

President Barack Obama wrote, "Roger was the movies ... [he could capture] the unique power of the movies to take us somewhere magical. Roger Ebert_sentence_234

... Roger Ebert_sentence_235

The movies won't be the same without Roger." Roger Ebert_sentence_236

Steven Spielberg stated that Ebert's "reviews went far deeper than simply thumbs up or thumbs down. Roger Ebert_sentence_237

He wrote with passion through a real knowledge of film and film history, and in doing so, helped many movies find their audiences. Roger Ebert_sentence_238

... [He] put television criticism on the map." Roger Ebert_sentence_239

Martin Scorsese released a statement saying, "The death of Roger Ebert is an incalculable loss for movie culture and for film criticism. Roger Ebert_sentence_240

And it's a loss for me personally ... there was a professional distance between us, but then I could talk to him much more freely than I could to other critics. Roger Ebert_sentence_241

Really, Roger was my friend. Roger Ebert_sentence_242

It's that simple." Roger Ebert_sentence_243

Robert Redford called Ebert "one of the great champions of freedom of artistic expression" and said, "His personal passion for cinema was boundless, and that is sure to be his legacy for generations to come." Roger Ebert_sentence_244

Christopher Nolan said of Ebert, "He never became jaded… even while bringing a very thoughtful critical eye." Roger Ebert_sentence_245

Oprah Winfrey called Ebert's death the "end of an era." Roger Ebert_sentence_246

Hundreds of people attended the funeral Mass held at Chicago's Holy Name Cathedral on April 8, 2013, where Ebert was celebrated as a film critic, newspaperman, advocate for social justice, and husband. Roger Ebert_sentence_247

Father Michael Pfleger concluded the service with "the balconies of heaven are filled with angels singing 'Thumbs Up' ". Roger Ebert_sentence_248

Memorials and legacy Roger Ebert_section_17

A 2hr 45min public tribute, entitled Roger Ebert: A Celebration of Life, was held on April 11, 2013, at the Chicago Theatre. Roger Ebert_sentence_249

It featured in-person remembrances, video testimonials, video and film clips, and gospel choirs, and was, according to the Chicago Tribune's Mark Caro, "a laughter- and sorrow-filled send-off from the entertainment and media worlds." Roger Ebert_sentence_250

In September 2013, organizers in Champaign, Illinois, announced plans to raise $125,000 to build a life-size bronze statue of Ebert in the town, which was unveiled in front of the Virginia Theatre at Ebertfest on April 24, 2014. Roger Ebert_sentence_251

The composition was selected by his widow, Chaz Ebert, and depicts Ebert sitting in the middle of three theater seats giving a "thumbs up." Roger Ebert_sentence_252

The 2013 Toronto International Film Festival opened with a video tribute of Ebert at Roy Thomson Hall during the world premiere of the WikiLeaks-based film The Fifth Estate. Roger Ebert_sentence_253

Ebert had been an avid supporter of the festival since its inception in the 1970s. Roger Ebert_sentence_254

Chaz was in attendance to accept a plaque on Roger's behalf. Roger Ebert_sentence_255

At the 86th Academy Awards ceremony, Ebert was included in the In Memoriam montage, a rare honor for a film critic. Roger Ebert_sentence_256

In 2014, the documentary Life Itself was released. Roger Ebert_sentence_257

Director Steve James, whose films had been widely advocated by Ebert, started making it while the critic was still alive. Roger Ebert_sentence_258

Martin Scorsese served as an executive producer. Roger Ebert_sentence_259

The film studies Ebert's life and career, while also filming Ebert during his final months, and includes interviews with his family and friends. Roger Ebert_sentence_260

It was universally praised by critics. Roger Ebert_sentence_261

It has a 97% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Roger Ebert_sentence_262

Ebert was inducted as a laureate of The Lincoln Academy of Illinois. Roger Ebert_sentence_263

In 2001, he was awarded the highest honor in Illinois, the Order of Lincoln, by the governor of Illinois in the area of performing arts. Roger Ebert_sentence_264

In 2016, Ebert was inducted into the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame. Roger Ebert_sentence_265

The website RogerEbert.com contains an archive of every review Ebert wrote, as well as many essays and opinion pieces. Roger Ebert_sentence_266

The site, now operated by Ebert Digital (a partnership between Chaz and friend Josh Golden), continues to publish new material written by a group of critics who were selected by Ebert before his death. Roger Ebert_sentence_267

Awards and honors Roger Ebert_section_18

Ebert received many awards during his long and distinguished career as a film critic and television host. Roger Ebert_sentence_268

In 2003, Ebert was honored by the American Society of Cinematographers winning a Special Achievement Award. Roger Ebert_sentence_269

In 2005, Ebert received a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his work on television. Roger Ebert_sentence_270

His star is located at 6834 Hollywood Blvd. Roger Ebert_sentence_271

In 2009, Ebert received the Directors Guild of America Award's for Honorary Life Member Award. Roger Ebert_sentence_272

In 2010, Ebert received the Webby Award for Person of the Year. Roger Ebert_sentence_273

In 2007, Ebert was honored by the Gotham Awards receiving a tribute and award for his lifetime contributions to independent film. Roger Ebert_sentence_274

On May 15, 2009, Ebert was honored by the American Pavilion at the Cannes Film Festival by the renaming of its conference room, "The Roger Ebert Conference Center." Roger Ebert_sentence_275

Martin Scorsese joined Ebert, and his wife Chaz at the ribbon cutting ceremony. Roger Ebert_sentence_276

Roger Ebert_table_general_1

YearRoger Ebert_header_cell_1_0_0 AwardRoger Ebert_header_cell_1_0_1 CategoryRoger Ebert_header_cell_1_0_2 Nominated workRoger Ebert_header_cell_1_0_3 ResultRoger Ebert_header_cell_1_0_4
1979Roger Ebert_cell_1_1_0 Chicago Emmy AwardsRoger Ebert_cell_1_1_1 Outstanding Special ProgramRoger Ebert_cell_1_1_2 Sneak PreviewsRoger Ebert_cell_1_1_3 WonRoger Ebert_cell_1_1_4
1984Roger Ebert_cell_1_2_0 Primetime Emmy AwardRoger Ebert_cell_1_2_1 Outstanding Informational SeriesRoger Ebert_cell_1_2_2 At the MoviesRoger Ebert_cell_1_2_3 NominatedRoger Ebert_cell_1_2_4
1985Roger Ebert_cell_1_3_0 NominatedRoger Ebert_cell_1_3_1
1987Roger Ebert_cell_1_4_0 Siskel & Ebert & the MoviesRoger Ebert_cell_1_4_1 NominatedRoger Ebert_cell_1_4_2
1988Roger Ebert_cell_1_5_0 NominatedRoger Ebert_cell_1_5_1
1989Roger Ebert_cell_1_6_0 Daytime Emmy AwardsRoger Ebert_cell_1_6_1 Outstanding Special Class ProgramRoger Ebert_cell_1_6_2 NominatedRoger Ebert_cell_1_6_3
1990Roger Ebert_cell_1_7_0 NominatedRoger Ebert_cell_1_7_1
1991Roger Ebert_cell_1_8_0 NominatedRoger Ebert_cell_1_8_1
1992Roger Ebert_cell_1_9_0 Primetime Emmy AwardsRoger Ebert_cell_1_9_1 Outstanding Informational SeriesRoger Ebert_cell_1_9_2 NominatedRoger Ebert_cell_1_9_3
1994Roger Ebert_cell_1_10_0 NominatedRoger Ebert_cell_1_10_1
1997Roger Ebert_cell_1_11_0 NominatedRoger Ebert_cell_1_11_1
2005Roger Ebert_cell_1_12_0 Chicago Emmy AwardsRoger Ebert_cell_1_12_1 Silver Circle AwardRoger Ebert_cell_1_12_2 N/ARoger Ebert_cell_1_12_3 WonRoger Ebert_cell_1_12_4

Honors Roger Ebert_sentence_277

Roger Ebert_unordered_list_0

  • 1995 - Publicists Guild of America Press AwardRoger Ebert_item_0_0
  • 2003 - American Society of Cinematographers's Special Achievement AwardRoger Ebert_item_0_1
  • 2004 - Savannah Film Festival's Lifetime Achievement AwardRoger Ebert_item_0_2
  • 2007 - Gotham Award's Lifetime Achievement AwardRoger Ebert_item_0_3
  • 2009 - Directors Guild of America Award' Honorary Life Member AwardRoger Ebert_item_0_4
  • 2010 - Webby Award for Person of the YearRoger Ebert_item_0_5


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger Ebert.