On April 4, 2013 Chicago lost one of our friends. Famed movie critic Roger Ebert passed away at the age of 70 after a long and hard fight with cancer. Ebert has given so much in entertainment and love to Chicago that we will remember the great times of his life and truly hold on to all the wonderful memories he’s given us. Ebert was born in Urbana, Illinois about one and a half hours outside of Chicago in 1942. Random: Some other cool facts about the year 1942? The average cost of a house was $3,777.00 while most American workers earned a whopping $1,888.00 per year and a bottle of Coke would set you back $.05! Roger Ebert would go on to make the year 1942 a great year for Chicago and the world of film.
He began his career writing for Science Fiction fanzines. These fan produced magazines were the earliest platforms for Science Fiction geeks to share their love of writing and their love for all things Science Fiction, kind of a precursor to the modern day Comic Con. Did you know Ebert was a Science Fiction geek! Some also don’t know that after Ebert graduated from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana(Go Fighting Illini!) he spent time at the University of Cape Town in South Africa! With such diverse experiences it made him a natural at critiquing the human element in every genre of film. While working on his Doctorate Degree at the University of Chicago Ebert was hired as a feature writer at the Chicago Sun-Times in 1966 and later began his television career in the 1970’s with his premier show Coming to a Theater Near You. Ebert was hilarious when it came to critiquing a movie he did not like. In regards to the 1994 movie North Ebert had this to say, “I hated this movie. Hated hated hated hated hated this movie. Hated it. Hated every simpering stupid vacant audience-insulting moment of it. Hated the sensibility that thought anyone would like it. Hated the implied insult to the audience by its belief that anyone would be entertained by it.” – Roger Ebert Such a Chicago response! Straight forward and right to the point. Chicago, do we know any other way?
Ebert married his life long partner Ms. Charlie Hammelsmith in 1992. But before their marriage did you know that Ebert dated Chicago native Oprah Winfrey? Check them out!
Rogers ties to Chicago have always been deeply rooted. in 2004 Ebert visited the Howard Stern Show and predicted that Barack Obama, then current Illinois Junior Senator, would be very influential to the future of this country. When Ebert’s on he’s right on target, hello Mr. President!
By the year 2010 Ebert’s cancer had took a turn for the worse. After the removal of half of his chin in efforts to contain the cancer Ebert was done with surgeries. Friends and family report that he felt surgery had actually progressed his condition and he was no longer interested in furthering his suffering. In reference to his death in 2010 Ebert stated, “I know it is coming, and I do not fear it, because I believe there is nothing on the other side of death to fear. I hope to be spared as much pain as possible on the approach path. I was perfectly content before I was born, and I think of death as the same state. What I am grateful for is the gift of intelligence, and for life, love, wonder, and laughter. You can’t say it wasn’t interesting. My lifetime’s memories are what I have brought home from the trip. I will require them for eternity no more than that little souvenir of the Eiffel Tower I brought home from Paris.”
Ebert departed this life on Thursday April 4, 2013 with his wife Chaz by his side. According to Mrs. Ebert, “We were getting ready to go home today for hospice care, when he [Ebert] looked at us, smiled, and passed away.”- Chicago Sun Times. I grabbed this last quote off of his blog and I must say it was very fitting, perhaps he some how knew, “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.”
Until we’re both stars in the film of the after-life, so long Roger.- RD.