The newspaper announced Ebert’s death on Thursday tweeting that: “There is a hole that can’t be filled. One of the greats has left us.”
It was only on Tuesday this week that Ebert posted on his blog that he was facing a fresh battle with cancer and would be writing fewer reviews whilst he took a “leave of presence.”
The movie critic was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2002 and eventually lost part of his lower jaw following surgery to halt the cancer with the additional blow of the loss of his voice and the inability to eat.
Ebert first came to the attention of the wider public in 1975 when he and fellow movie critic Gene Siskel featured in a new review programme where the rated films with a simple thumbs up or thumbs down. The two critics became an instant hit and what started as a regional review programme soon went both national and international. The programme continued until Siskel’s death in 1999 following complications from surgery to treat brain cancer.
As well as being the year that he came to the attention of television audiences 1975 was also the year that Roger Ebert won a Pulitzer Prize for the quality of his film criticism, becoming the first movie critic ever to win the prestigious award.
Roger Ebert loved producing his annual Top Ten Movie List, which he had published every year since 1967. As well as his own annual Top Ten list he also took part in what is seen as the greatest of the critical movie lists, the SIght and Sound Greatest Films of All Time poll which is taken every 10 years. As a tribute to him here is his last contribution to the Sight and Sound poll which will now become Roger Ebert’s final list of his greatest films of all time.
By the way the films are not ranked in any order of quality but in alphabetical order.
Roger Ebert’s Greatest Films Of All Time (list compiled by him April 2012)
Aguirre, Wrath of God (Herzog)
Apocalypse Now (Coppola)
Citizen Kane (Welles)
La Dolce Vita (Fellini)
The General (Keaton)
Raging Bull (Scorsese)
Tokyo Story (Ozu)
The Tree of Life (Malick)
2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick)
R.I.P. Roger Ebert