Type: Text Feature
If there was a hall of fame for cultural commentary, Roger Ebert would be a founding member. Arguably America's most influential film critic and the first to win a Pulitzer Prize for criticism, Ebert was named by Forbes magazine "the most powerful pundit in America." And he's a writing juggernaut, reviewing from three to 10 movies each week (all full-length reviews with an accompanying capsule version), along with occasional essays, interviews and reportage from international film festivals. The Ebert syndicated service also includes a weekly column of short reviews of current video releases.
Roger Ebert has been the film critic of the Chicago Sun-Times since 1967. In 1975, he became the first film critic to win the Pulitzer Prize for criticism, and his reviews are now syndicated in more than 200 newspapers around the world. Ebert has written more than 20 books, including the annual indispensable “Roger Ebert’s Movie Yearbook,” “Life Itself: A Memoir,” “Scorsese by Ebert” and the best selling “Ebert’s Bigger Little Movie Glossary.”
For 23 years, he co-hosted “Siskel and Ebert,” the iconic television movie review show, with the late Gene Siskel. Until 2006, the program continued with co-host Richard Roeper as “Ebert & Roeper.”
Ebert has been a lecturer on film for the University of Chicago Fine Arts Program. His is known for his seminars of shot-by-shot film analysis at the universities of Chicago, Colorado and Virginia; the Smithsonian Institution; and the Canadian Center for the Advanced Study of Film. He has also recorded shot-by-shot commentary tracks for several film DVDs, including “Citizen Kane,” “Casablanca,” “Dark City” and “Floating Weeds.”
Ebert has attended the Cannes Film Festival for more than 30 years and has written a book about it (“Two Weeks in the Midday Sun”) illustrated with his own sketches. He has served on juries at the Sundance, Montreal, Chicago, Hawaii and Venice film festivals. In 1999, Ebert began his own film festival, EbertFest, which takes place in April at the historic Virginia theater in his hometown of Champaign-Urbana, Ill. In addition to the Pulitzer, Ebert has received an honorary doctorate from the University of Colorado, the Peter Lisagor Award for Best Feature Column from the Chicago Headline Club in 1998 and 1999, and has been named to the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame.
Ebert was born in Urbana, Ill., where he began his professional newspaper career at the age of 15 as a sports writer for the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette. He graduated from the University of Illinois, where he was editor of The Daily Illini. He did graduate work at the universities of Illinois; Cape Town, South Africa (on a Rotary Fellowship); and Chicago before being hired by the Sun-Times in 1966. He was appointed the paper’s film critic six months later. Today, Ebert is the most well-known film critic on the Internet, and his Web site has been named the best film review site of the year by the Online Film Critics’ Society. He and his wife, Chaz, live in Chicago.