Born: June 18, 1942
Date of Birth: June 18, 1942
Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert became a household name when he began hosting the TV show Siskel and Ebert At the Movies, starring Chicago Tribune movie reviewer Gene Siskel and himself as they discussed current movies, giving the releases either two thumbs up or two thumbs down. When Siskel died of a brain tumor in 1999, Ebert continued the show for several years with critic Richard Roeper.
The author of 15 books, Ebert was the first person to win the Pulitzer Prize for film criticism. He was also a screenwriter, having penned the screenplay for the 1970 film Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. In 2005, he was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6834 Hollywood Boulevard.
After being diagnosed with cancer in 2002, Ebert had surgery to remove his lower jaw in 2004 but lost his ability to speak and eat. However, he continued to be a prolific movie reviewer for the Chicago Sun-Times despite his illness. His annual film festival, Ebertfest, takes place at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. Ebert died April 4, 2013 at the age of 70 following a long battle with cancer of the thyroid and salivary gland.
Just before his death, he wrote on his blog that his cancer had returned, saying, "It really stinks that the cancer has returned and that I have spent too many days in the hospital. So on bad days I may write about the vulnerability that accompanies illness. On good days, I may wax ecstatic about a movie so good it transports me beyond illness. So on this day of reflection I say again, thank you for going on this journey with me. I'll see you at the movies."