Roger Ebert remembered as acclaimed film critic
ABOVE PHOTO: Chaz Ebert, center, wife of film critic Roger Ebert leaves Holy Name Cathedral after his funeral in Chicago, April 8, 2013. The Pulitzer Prize-winning movie reviewer died Thursday, April 4 at age 70 after a long battle with cancer.
(AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
By Don Babwin
CHICAGO — Acclaimed film critic Roger Ebert was praised on Monday as a consummate Chicago newsman, a champion of storytellers and a visionary who understood the power of social media to spread the word about everything from good movies to his battle with the cancer that ended his life.
At a funeral Mass at Chicago’s Holy Name Cathedral, speakers, including Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a son of civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson and Ebert’s widow took turns telling parts of Ebert’s story that made him one of the most, if not the most, influential film critic in the world.
PHOTO: Pulitzer Prize-winning movie critic Roger Ebert works in his office at the WTTW-TV studios in Chicago in 2011. Ebert died on Thursday, April 4, 2013. He was 70.
(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)
Ebert died Thursday after a long battle with cancer at the age of 70. In the course of more than 40 years, Ebert was a Pulitzer Prize winning film critic, who became a television star with fellow Chicago newspaper critic Gene Siskel, who together turned their thumbs — specifically the direction they pointed — into shorthand for good and bad movies that was recognized around the world.
“He didn’t just dominate his profession, he defined it,” said Emanuel.
Jonathan Jackson paid tribute on behalf of his father who could not attend the service, then told the crowded church that Ebert had supported black filmmakers decades ago when this was something that just wasn’t done.
“He respected what we had to say about ourselves,” said Jackson, who pointed to Ebert’s glowing review of Spike Lee’s ‘Do The Right Thing’ in the late 1980s. “It was not his story but he understood the value of an important film was authenticity and not the fact that it depicted your interests.”
Ebert has been widely praised for his embrace of social media, particularly Twitter, which he used to keep readers up with his thoughts about movies, his wife, Chaz, and anything else that popped into his head after multiple surgeries left him unable to speak.
“He realized that connecting to people was the main reason we’re all here and that’s what his life was all about,” said Sonia Evans, his stepdaughter.
+ Top Story
Russell Baze’s is stuck in a dead-end job at a rural Pennsylvania steel mill rumored to be closing soon. He’s not in a position to abandon the Rust Belt in search of greener pastures, between having to care for his terminally-ill, widowed father and a kid brother, Rodney Jr., suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome.
At 10:30AM on Tuesday morning, Kim Fields said hello to the latest addition to their family; a baby boy. Fields kind of stole the spotlight from Halle Berry over the summer, who surprised many by announcing she was pregnant at the age of 47.
With the Thanksgiving holiday falling about as late as possible this year, the typical year-end glut of film releases is on an abbreviated schedule. Perhaps for that reason, a healthy percentage of award-friendly movies have already come our way, including 12 Years a Slave...
Nelson “Mandiba” Mandela (Idris Elba) secretly started writing his autobiography “Long Walk to Freedom” while still serving what he had every reason to believe might very well be a life sentence on Robben Island. The lawyer-turned-spokesman for the outlawed African National Congress had been...
Naima (Jennifer Hudson) is a single-mom struggling to pay the rent on the apartment she shares with son Langston (Jacob Latimore), 15, who’s the same age she was when she had him. Back then, she was as headstrong as he is now, which explains why she ran away from a good home...
‘Science has proved that the brains of white men are superior to the brains of black men.’ ‘The Bible has revealed that God made white men to rule over black men.’ Convinced of these ‘truths’, the rulers of South Africa embarked on a radical experiment...
TV One unveiled its lineup of holiday programming, which will include the premiere of two original specials, the network’s first-ever holiday variety show, “One Christmas”, on Saturday, November 30, 8PM/ET, and Russ Parr’s latest feature film, family drama A Christmas Blessing...
Now he’s gone and done it again. “Bill Cosby: Far From Finished” finds this king of comedy onstage in Cerritos, Calif., where he rules for the 90-minute special airing Saturday, Nov. 23 on Comedy Central (8 p.m. EST). Still, it’s fair to ask: Why so long a break, and why now for his return?