From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Roger Joseph Ebert (June 18, 1942 – April 4, 2013) was an American film critic, and screenwriter. He was a film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times from 1967 until his death. In 1975, he was the first film critic to win the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism. As of 2010, his columns were syndicated to more than 200 newspapers in the United States and abroad. Ebert also published more than 20 books and dozens of collections of reviews.
Ebert and rival critic Gene Siskel helped popularize nationally televised film reviewing when they co-hosted the PBS show Sneak Previews, followed by several variously named At the Movies programs. The two verbally sparred and traded humorous barbs while discussing films. They created and trademarked the phrase "Two Thumbs Up," used when both hosts gave the same film a positive review. After Siskel died in 1999, Ebert began co-hosting with Richard Roeper. In 2005, Ebert became the first film critic to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Ebert lived with thyroid cancer from 2002. After surgical complications in 2006 left him unable to speak, he gained a sizable following online. He died of cancer on April 4, 2013.
Neil Steinberg of the Chicago Sun-Times said Ebert "was without question the nation’s most prominent and influential film critic", Tom Van Riper of Forbes described him as "the most powerful pundit in America", and Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times called him "the best known film critic in America".