Roger Ebert dies

Celebrated critic succumbs to cancer.

by Jennie Kermode

Just days after the announcement that his cancer had returned, the film critic and scriptwriter Roger Ebert has died. He was 70 years old.

Probably the world's most famous film critic, Ebert was best known for his work at the Chicago Sun Times and for his partnership with Gene Siskel, who died in 1999. He was also the author of several books, including a popular memoir, and he wrote a number of screenplays, winning acclaim for Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls, a product of his longstanding friendship with sexploitation guru Russ Meyer. Sharp and witty, Ebert was alo known for his compassion. He was always outspoken about politics and was an early supporter of Barack Obama, long before the latter's presidential campaign. The proud winner of a Pulitzer Prize, he alo has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

A few days ago, Ebert announced that the cancer that claimed part of his jaw in 2006, leaving him unable to speak, had returned in his hip. He planned to enter semi-retirement, reviewing only films he liked and leaving the rest to a carefully recruited team of younger critics. He is survived by his wife Chaz, who recently announced the development of a new project, Ebert Digital, soon to be unveiled in full.

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