The balcony is now officially closed.
Roger Ebert, the most famous and most popular film reviewer of his time who became the first journalist to win a Pulitzer Prize for movie criticism and, on his long-running TV program, wielded the nation’s most influential thumb, died Thursday, reports the Associated Press. He was 70.
Ebert had been a film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times since 1967. He had announced on his blog Wednesday that he was undergoing radiation treatment after a recurrence of cancer.
The television shows Ebert co-hosted with the late Gene Siskel, his rival Chicago Tribune but also his good friend, added the phrases “two thumbs up” and “two thumbs down” to the cultural lexicon.
As a film journalist, Siskel and Ebert also are important touchstones, even though I haven’t always agreed with their reviews. As a child, them analyze and spar about movies on TV was my first exposure to film criticism, which is now my vocation.
Our thoughts are with Ebert’s family, friends and fans. He will be missed.
To read Ebert’s AP obituary, click here.
Just for fun, here is Siskel and Ebert’s review of “Jurassic Park,” which is getting its 10th anniversary 3D re-release this weekend: