Special to AMFM Magazine by Jimmy Willden
After a years-long battle with cancer, world-renowned film critic Roger Ebert, described by Forbes as “the most powerful pundit in America,” has died.
Ebert’s career began with the Chicago Sun-Times in 1967. He then went on to write reviews for film and media for 46 years, 31 of them televised. Because of this, his influence on film, and the entertainment industry in general, is immeasurable.
In 1975, Ebert began hosting a weekly film review television show with Chicago Tribune writer Gene Siskel, which after several incarnations, eventually became Siskel & Ebert & the Movies. This show was popular for launching the ‘thumbs up/thumbs down” rating-system into popular public domain.
After Siskel died in 1999, Ebert continued on with Roger Ebert & the Movies, which had a rotating roster of guest-hosts,until Richard Roeper became a permanent host, effectively renaming the show At the Movies with Ebert & Roeper.
Diagnosed with cancer in 2002, Ebert spent the rest of his years struggling with the disease, resulting in several surgeries. In 2006, part of his jawbone was removed, ending his ability to speak and eat solid foods. For most, this would mark the end of one’s career, but instead, it ushered in a brand new chapter in Ebert’s already prolific life.
In the end, Roger Ebert will go down in history as one the greatest journalists / film critics / new-media supporters. His words have and will define generations, and generations to come.