Roger Ebert lived 70 years. Before a brutal cancer finally took him this month, he held off his illness bravely for a number of years.
In his last year of life, he wrote 300 film reviews. He was a daily newspaperman to the end and had the work ethic of a classic one, like his pal Mike Royko.
Mr. Ebert was a masterful, self-taught critic who loved movies, and his love was infectious. He made independent films mainstream, and he made appreciation of great film a moral imperative.
Mr. Ebert, of the Chicago Sun-Times, was the first movie critic to become a TV star. He did his first show with his friend and rival, Chicago Tribune newspaper critic Gene Siskel, who also died too young of cancer. Mr. Ebert was the first movie critic to win a Pulitzer Prize.
He faced his cancer with stoicism and aplomb. He wrote a book about his experience, Life Itself. The other splendid title he gave to the life of letters: I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie. Mr. Ebert made the world a better place.