President Obama, Celebrities React to Roger Ebert’s Death

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Film critic Roger Ebert in 2009. (credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Film critic Roger Ebert in 2009. (credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

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The death of film critic Roger Ebert elicits wide reaction from directors, actors, fellow critics, and even President Barack Obama:

“Roger was the movies. When he didn’t like a film, he was honest; when he did, he was effusive — capturing the unique power of the movies to take us somewhere magical. Even amidst his own battles with cancer, Roger was as productive as he was resilient — continuing to share his passion and perspective with the world. The movies won’t be the same without Roger, and our thoughts and prayers are with Chaz and the rest of the Ebert family.” — President Barack Obama, in a statement.

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“I am devastated by the loss of my love, Roger — my husband, my friend, my confidante and oh-so-brilliant partner of over 20 years. He fought a courageous fight. I’ve lost the love of my life and the world has lost a visionary and a creative and generous spirit who touched so many people all over the world. We had a lovely, lovely life together, more beautiful and epic than a movie. It had its highs and the lows, but was always experienced with good humor, grace and a deep abiding love for each other.” — Ebert’s wife, Chaz Ebert, in a statement posted on her husband’s blog.

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“Roger loved movies. They were his life. His reviews went far deeper than simply thumbs up or thumbs down. He wrote with passion through a real knowledge of film and film history, and in doing so, helped many movies find their audiences. Along with Gene Shalit, Joel Siegel, and of course Gene Siskel, Roger put television criticism on the map. Roger’s passing is virtually the end of an era and now the balcony is closed forever.” — Movie director Steven Spielberg.

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“Roger and Gene (Siskel) together again. End of an era.” — Oprah Winfrey on Twitter.

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“Roger Ebert was one of the great champions of freedom of artistic expression. When the power of independent film was still unknown and few would support it, Roger was there for our artists. His personal passion for cinema was boundless, and that is sure to be his legacy for generations to come.” — Robert Redford, actor and founder of the Sundance Institute, in a statement.

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“From the mightiest blockbuster to the smallest independent film, Roger Ebert devoted his career to sharing his love of film with generations of moviegoers. The role of critics is to call them as they see them and Roger did so with integrity.” — Directors Guild of America President Taylor Hackford.

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“He wrote (the) book. There was no business before him and Gene Siskel. … He pioneered that crossover from print to broadcast media, and he did it with such professionalism and perception and passion. He was an amazing contributor to our industry, and his influence will be long felt.” — Warner Bros. distribution executive Jeff Goldstein

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“It will leave a huge void. He was the most widely read critic. For many people that’s how they understand film criticism. They understand film criticism in terms of Roger Ebert. He is the icon of that medium for most people. He’s the one film critic they can name. He loomed so large. Especially toward the end of his life.” — Film critic Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, who writes for rogerebert.com and was a host on Ebert’s 2011 show “Ebert Presents at the Movies.”

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“we lost a thoughtful writer, i remember my first review from him, pi (i got his and siskel’s thumbs) it was a career highlight.” — Darren Aronofsky, who directed the 1998 movie “Pi,” wrote on Twitter.

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“I watched him a lot. I watched his thumbs go up. I watched his thumbs go down. And when they went up for me I was very happy.” — Playwright and actor Harvey Fierstein.

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“Sometimes you loved him. Sometimes you hated him as you do every critic. But I was thinking — I think that a great critic is somebody that has a real love for what he’s criticizing, and I think he was that.” — Actress Glenn Close

“Roger Ebert championed the art of the moving image, and by the courage of his personal example demonstrated how much movies matter.” — American Film Institute President and CEO Bob Gazzale, in a statement.

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“He means a lot to the kids at the Daily Illini. He means a lot to every student at this college. He does what everybody wants to do, and that was to provide a story that’s engaging and that everybody wants to read. … He was always a journalist first.” — Jan Slater, dean of the College of Media at the University of Illinois who worked with Ebert on a film festival in Champaign named after him.

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“We are terribly saddened by the news of the passing of our friend Roger Ebert. More than a friend, Roger was family. He knew us from our humble beginnings, stuck by us, and helped us grow, as only family can do. It is no exaggeration to say that Roger, through his championing, had a large hand in making us who we are today on the world stage. He was a pioneer, a true lover of film. His passing is a huge loss for cinema. He inspired us and will continue to inspire generations. We are taking this opportunity to remember and celebrate our beloved friend, Roger Ebert. Our hearts go out to Chaz and to their family and friends.” __ The Toronto International Film Festival, in a statement.

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(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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