Roger Ebert, who reviewed movies for the Chicago Sun-Times for 46 years and on TV for 31 years, died today after a long battle with cancer. He was 70.
Ebert began his TV career in 1975 opposite Chicago Tribune movie critic Gene Siskel with “Opening Soon at a Theater Near You” that aired on local Chicago channel WTTW. In 1978, the show was retitled “Sneak Previews” and morphed into a PBS series for national distribution. In 1981, the program was renamed “At the Movies,” later becoming “Siskel & Ebert & The Movies” in 1986 where the duo began the signature “thumbs up, thumbs down.” After the 1999 death of Siskel, the show became “Ebert & Roeper” in 2000.
On Tuesday, Ebert wrote an online column telling readers he was taking “a leave of presence” from his hectic schedule of writing after learning that a “painful fracture” he suffered in December had turned out to be cancer. He celebrated his 46th year at the Chicago Sun-Times April 3.
He is survived by his wife, two stepchildren and four grandchildren.
Mr. Ebert, you will be missed.