Roger Ebert, along with his partner Gene Siskel, began their legendary show At the Movies in 1986. The two used their simple thumbs up and thumbs down ratings system to tell people which movies to see for more than two decades.
Now, the late Ebert has been honored at the Chicago Book Expo through an event celebrating some of his most memorable reviews and essays – from Do the Right Thing to Ebert’s thoughts on politics and life itself.
“A Tribute to Roger Ebert, the Writer” took during the Expo at Columbia College’s Film Row Cinema. Chaz Ebert, Roger’s widow, and publisher of the film review website RogerEbert.com, was joined by distinguished colleagues Chicago Tribune’s Michael Phillips (chief film critic) and Rick Kogan (author and senior writer/columnist); Laura Emerick (Chicago Symphony Orchestra digital content editor); Pamela Sherrod (journalist and filmmaker); and Jim DeRogatis (a writing lecturer at Columbia College and pop music critic for WBEZ Chicago). Each has selected one of their favorite Ebert reviews or essays to share and open up to a lively audience discussion.
In his lifetime, Ebert became one of the best-known and most beloved film critics in the country, elevating film criticism to an art form. He also wrote prolific essays on topics ranging from religion, human empathy and compassion to marriage and race in America, many of which reside on RogerEbert.com. The long-awaited Great Movies IV, the latest installment in the book series with 62 reviews written by Ebert about his favorite films, debuted last month and will be available at the Expo.
Ebert, a native of Champaign, IL, joined the Sun-Times as chief film critic in 1966. He passed away in April 2013 after a long battle with cancer. His vast number of fans and social media followers around the globe are invited to post their tributes on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/1222787881098120/.