Roger Ebert (1942-2013)

Film critic, author, and fan Roger Ebert, 70, died April 4, 2013 of complications from cancer.

Ebert was the most famous film critic in America. He was the film reviewer for the Chicago Sun-Times from 1967 to 2013, co-hosted TV programs At the Movies with Gene Siskel & Roger Ebert and Siskel and Ebert and The Movies, as well as appearing on Sneak Previews, Ebert & Roeper at the Movies, and Ebert Presents: At the Movies.

He published two SF stories: “After the Last Mass” in Fantastic (1972) and “In Dying Venice” in Amazing (1972). As a teenager he was an active SF fan, contributing letters of comment to various magazines and writing poems for Pat & Dick Lupoff’s Xero in the early ’60s; he also wrote the introduction for The Best of Xero (2004). He was friendly with fans, authors, and editors, including Wilson “Bob” Tucker and Ed Gorman, and published his own fanzine, Stymie.

Roger Joseph Ebert was born June 18, 1942 in Urbana IL. He attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and in 1966 joined the Chicago Sun-Times. After six months at the paper, he started reviewing films. In 1975 he began hosting a weekly TV show with Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune, which led to his long TV career. He won a Pulitzer Prize for criticism in 1975, the first film critic to do so. Ebert published over 20 books, including many volumes of his annual collection of film reviews.

He developed thyroid cancer in 2002, and ceased appearing on television when complications from a 2006 surgery left him unable to speak. In April 2013 he announced online that a hip injury had “been revealed to be a cancer.” He is survived by his wife Chaz Hammelsmith.

See the May issue of Locus for a complete obituary.