Thursday, April 4, 2013

Rest In Peace: Roger Ebert (1942-2013)

Today is a sad day of mourning in the film world. Yesterday, world-renowned film critic Roger Ebert posted on his film blog that he would be taking "a leave of presence". What Ebert meant by that statement was that he would still write film reviews for his website but would hand it off to his team of writers led by Richard Roeper, Jim Emerson and Nell Minow. Ebert thanked readers in his posted and ended it with saying: "See you at the movies."

Ebert's trademark phrase would unfortunately be his last published. It is with great sadness that I report that legendary film critic Roger Ebert has died at the age of 70. Ebert had written for the Chicago Sun Times for 46 years and was on television for 31 years. The film critic died of an eleven year battle with thyroid cancer. 
Ebert lost his voice from the battle but had fought it off. After a hip fracture in late 2012, it was discovered that the cancer was back. Ebert had reached a level of fame that very few film critics ever have. Only Gene Siskel, his Chicago Tribune partner has reached the level that Ebert did. Ebert, in addition to writing, was a famed television personality, with At the Movies. He has also written several books including Your Movie Sucks, and The Great Movies I, II, and III. Ebert was a giant of the film world and even hosted his own festival in Illinois called Ebertfest. Roger Ebert's memory is survived by his wife, Chaz, extended family and millions of fans. 

I had just gone out to go grocery shopping. I came back and I saw the news. I was literally shell-shocked. Ebert had been in a fragile state since his voice and jaw was taken away after surgery from his cancer. He had just suffered a hip fracture and I learned that his cancer had returned earlier this week. I knew that Roger Ebert wouldn't be around much longer. But, I had no idea that it would happen this soon. I am saddened beyond words.

Roger Ebert is my inspiration for film criticism. I had always liked reviewing films before this blog was started  but the books and writing of Roger Ebert took my reviews and criticisms to the next level. His book series, The Great Movies, introduced me to a group of films that I now consider my favorites. I would have never expanded my view of films without Roger Ebert. His books influenced me beyond belief. I never had the opportunity to meet Mr. Ebert and I regret not writing to him at this time. I have always loved films but Roger Ebert taught me to love more than just big explosions and go deeper into films. The Movie Guru's Blog was started by me, but my reviews and everything that I do were shaped by the master of film criticism, Roger Ebert.

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