June 18 ~ Critics Are Siskel & Ebert

"Critics are supposed to be subjective. Those who find another person with an opinion to be arrogant are being arrogant themselves, aren't they?" ~ Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert

Always practical with his opinions, famous film critic Roger Joseph Ebert (1942-2013) was born on this day in Urbana, Illinois and was a movie fan as a child.

"We live in a box of space and time. Movies are windows in its walls. They allow us to enter other minds by seeing the world as another person sees it," he said.

Always a journalist, Ebert published his first neighborhood newsletter at age 9. Six years later, he began his professional career as a sports writer for the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette.

A writer with the Chicago Sun-Times from 1967 to 2013, in 1975 Ebert won the Pulitzer Prize. That same year he teamed up with his rival at the Chicago Tribune, Gene Siskel, and launched their popular movie-review show.

For 23 years, he and the Siskel were pop legends. They made film criticism mainstream and devised the thumbs-up, thumbs-down system of movie reviews. Their chemistry and one-upmanship were classic.

When Siskel died in 1999, Ebert continued the show with Richard Roeper and for eight years the duo created one of the top-rated syndicated shows on television.

"It is all right to have opinions and express them; an amazing number of people will say something is "fine" because they think that's polite," Ebert said.

Roger was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2005, the first critic to get one.

Recovering from a 2006 recurrence of salivary gland cancer, he continued to write his indispensable reviews. He once said that when reviewing a film, he did not take notes, then wrote in a stream-of-consciousness style.

"I just write what I think," he explained. "I don't care what other people think."

More Film-Making Quotations

Biographical Dictionary of FilmSubjective or not, your opinion matters.