Ebert Comes to Television
After 15 years in print, Ebert teamed up with the Chicago Tribune’s Gene Siskel to bring his unique blend of insight, candor, and humor to TV, though Ebert didn’t exactly have a refined screen presence from the beginning. “Opening Soon at a Theater Near You” launched in 1975, the same year that he won a Pulitzer Prize for criticism, and he never looked back. Eventually, he ditched the plaid blazer.
Ebert and Siskel Discuss the Craft of Critique
So what makes a good movie review? “Political correctness is the fascism of the Nineties,” said Ebert, who believed that a critic must always be honest about what he actually thinks. But that doesn’t mean you can slam a movie without giving any concrete information. “There has to be some reporting in every review,” Ebert said.
‘Two Thumbs Up’
Ebert and Siskel popularized (and even trademarked) the famous phrase, which signified approval from both critics. Here, Ebert explains the origins of their rating system.
Caught somewhere between a friendship and a feud, Ebert’s high-profile relationship with Siskel was the subject of much speculation—and even this ridiculous episode of MTV’s Celebrity Deathmatch.
Gene Siskel Dies
In 1999, Siskel died tragically at age 53, following complications from a brain tumor. Ebert told Larry King that his colleague “had a wonderful spirit” and was “an inspiration.”
Ebert’s New Voice
In 2006, thyroid cancer left Ebert facially deformed and unable to speak. But four years later, innovative technology gave the critic a brand new computerized voice that utilized clips from his previous TV shows.