April 4, 2013 3:28 pm

Movie critic Roger Ebert dead at 70

TORONTO – Famed film critic Roger Ebert, best known for his “thumbs up, thumbs down” rating system, died Thursday. He was 70.

A movie reviewer for the Chicago Sun-Times for more than 45 years, Ebert’s columns were syndicated in hundreds of newspapers and he penned 17 books. For more than 30 years, he co-hosted film review shows.

On Tuesday, Ebert posted a message on his blog announcing he was receiving radiation treatment for a recurrence of cancer and was scaling back his work.

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“I am not going away. My intent is to continue to write selected reviews but to leave the rest to a talented team of writers handpicked and greatly admired by me,” he wrote. “What’s more, I’ll be able at last to do what I’ve always fantasized about doing: reviewing only the movies I want to review.”

Ebert was the first film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize and he was honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

He was also a fixture at the Toronto International Film Festival, even after undergoing various operations to treat cancer of the thyroid and salivary glands. He lost much of his chin as well as his ability to speak, eat and drink.

In a 2011 interview, Ebert expressed his fondness for Toronto. “I’ve spent at least six months in your city, a week at a time, and explored much of it, and could easily see myself living there,” he told the National Post.

Ebert is survived by his wife Chaz, whom he married in 1992, a step-daughter and two step-grandchildren.

© Shaw Media, 2013

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