Roger Ebert

From Academic Kids

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Roger Ebert (born June 18, 1942) is a Chicago Sun-Times film critic and the first author to win a Pulitzer Prize for criticism (1975 award "for his film criticism during 1974"). Through his newspaper reviews, books, television shows, lectures, and public persona, he has contributed perhaps more than anyone to the appreciation of film art among the general American public.



As a teenager, Ebert was involved in science fiction fandom, writing articles for fanzines, including Richard Lupoff's Xero.

After graduating from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he was editor of The Daily Illini and member of the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity, Ebert did graduate study in English at the University of Cape Town (on a Rotary International Fellowship) and was a doctoral candidate in English at the University of Chicago when the film critic's position was offered to him at the Sun-Times.

Ebert wrote the screenplay for the 1969 cult film, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, directed by Russ Meyer and likes to joke about being responsible for the poorly received film. Ebert and Meyer were similarly involved with the ill-fated Sex Pistols movie Who Killed Bambi?

He has been writing about film for over forty years, and in 1978 he and Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune began co-hosting a weekly movie review television show, Sneak Previews, produced by a Chicago public broadcasting station. (Their roles were later assumed by decidedly more conservative critics Jeffrey Lyons and Michael Medved.) In 1982, the critics moved to a syndicated commercial television show named At the Movies, and later, Siskel & Ebert, where they were known for their thumbs up / thumbs down review summaries.

He married Chaz Hammel-Smith on July 18, 1993 and has a step-daughter and step-granddaughter.

When Gene Siskel died in 1999, Ebert auditioned several co-hosts on a non-permanent basis (usually one show). In September, Chicago Sun-Times columnist Richard Roeper became the permanent co-host and the show was renamed Ebert & Roeper.

In 2002, Ebert suffered a bout with papillary thyroid cancer. He underwent surgery in February 2002 which successfully removed the cancer. He later underwent surgery in 2003 for cancer in his salivary gland. In December 2003, he underwent a four week course of radiation treatment as a followup to the surgery on his salivary gland. He continued to review movies, not missing a single opening while undergoing treatment.

Roger Ebert has been awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame to be unveiled in 2005. He has honorary degrees from the University of Colorado, the American Film Institute, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Critical life

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Roger Ebert, Peter O'Toole, Jason Patric at 2004 Savannah Film Festival

Ebert has written many essays and articles exploring in-depth the concept of film criticism, treating it as a serious philosophical and academic subject. Ebert's own method of reviewing movies is relative. It has been said that he is willing to overlook technical and plot problems with the film as long as he is just plain entertained in the end (although conversely, if not entertained, he often points out plot holes), which makes his movie reviews resonate more with common people than some reviewers who insist more strongly on always taking themselves seriously.

In his own words:

"The star rating system is relative, not absolute. When you ask a friend if Hellboy is any good, you're not asking if it's any good compared to Mystic River, you're asking if it's any good compared to The Punisher. And my answer would be, on a scale of one to four, if Superman (1978) is four, then Hellboy is three and The Punisher is two. In the same way, if American Beauty gets four stars, then Leland clocks in at about two." [1] (

Each year, Ebert publishes a book of all the movie reviews from that year. He has also authored the following books:

Ebert also hosts Roger Ebert's Overlooked Film Festival every year in Champaign, Illinois.

An outspoken opponent of the Motion Picture Association of America rating system, Ebert often strongly condemns the organization in his columns for their decisions regarding which movies are "suitable for children." He also frequently laments 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 moviegoers.


Some movie/show makers have included characters named after Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel.

  • The two headed monster in the movie Willow was called the Ebersisk.
  • The 1998 movie Godzilla has a Mayor Ebert and his assistant Siskel.
  • An episode of Animaniacs had an episode featuring Hiskel & Eggbert, and they look very much like their live-action counterparts.
  • An episode of the animated series The Critic featured Siskel and Ebert, who dubbed their own voices.

See also

External links



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