Renowned American film critic Roger Ebert has passed away today aged 70 after a long battle with cancer. Ebert, who rose to prominence through his long-running TV partnership with fellow film critic Gene Siskel, was the first film critic to receive a Pulitzer Prize for Criticism and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, while his reviews for the Chicago Sun-Times have been syndicated in more than 200 newspapers both in the United States and internationally.
Starting out as a professional film critic at the Chicago Sun-Times in 1967, Roger Ebert dabbled with screenwriting early in his career, earning credits on Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, Up! and Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens. However, he would become best known for his 23 year collaboration with Gene Siskel, which started in 1975 when the pair began co-hosting the weekly film review show Sneak Previews, before continuing their partnership with At the Movies with Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert and Siskel & Ebert & The Movies.
Following Siskel’s death in 1999, Ebert continued to appear on television, with Richard Roeper joining him as co-host of At the Movies. Despite being diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2002, Ebert remained as co-host of the show until 2006, when he lost his speech as a result of surgery. However, he returned to writing reviews for the Chicago Sun-Times the following year and continued to do so until earlier this week, announcing just two days ago on his website that he was to take a “leave of presence” after revealing his cancer had reoccurred.