The Slatest

Legendary Film Critic Roger Ebert Dead at 70

Roger Ebert attends the Webby Awards in New York June 14, 2010.
Roger Ebert attends the Webby Awards in New York June 14, 2010.

Photo by Lucas Jackson/Reuters

The Chicago Sun-Times breaks the sad news about legendary film critic Roger Ebert:

Ebert, 70, who reviewed movies for the Chicago Sun-Times for 46 years and on TV for 31 years, and who was without question the nation’s most prominent and influential film critic, died Thursday in Chicago. He had been in poor health over the past decade, battling cancers of the thyroid and salivary gland.

He lost part of his lower jaw in 2006, and with it the ability to speak or eat, a calamity that would have driven other men from the public eye. But Ebert refused to hide, instead forging what became a new chapter in his career, an extraordinary chronicle of his devastating illness that won him a new generation of admirers. “No point in denying it,” he wrote, analyzing his medical struggles with characteristic courage, candor and wit, a view that was never tinged with bitterness or self-pity.

Earlier this week, Ebert announced the recurrence of his cancer, but struck an upbeat tone. “It means I am not going away,” he wrote in a blog post late Tuesday. “I’ll be able at last to do what I’ve always fantasized about doing: reviewing only the movies I want to review.” The final line of that post: “So on this day of reflection I say again, thank you for going on this journey with me. I’ll see you at the movies.”

Slate will have plenty more on Ebert and his legacy in a bit, but for now you can revisit this oral history of Siskel & Ebert here, and read some of Ebert’s Movie Club entries in the Slate archives here.

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This post has been updated with additional information.