Over three hours Thursday night at the ornate Chicago Theatre that Roger Ebert had helped to restore, a parade of friends, family, and followers paid tribute to the esteemed film critic who died at age 70 on April 4.
Watch the streaming video of the "Roger Ebert: A Celebration of Life" tribute below. Here's Matt Singer's coverage on the memorial tribute at Criticwire, and THR. Here's our obit, a wrap of reaction to his loss, and coverage from the funeral on Monday.
"Roger Ebert is probably the most influential film critic in the world," Sony Pictures Classics co-president Michael Barker said in Chicago. "He was a poet of the people...I always felt he was the conscience of the movie industry."
Film Critic Todd McCarthy, who was mentored by Ebert as a student in Evanston, called Ebert “a populist without prejudice.” Also tributing Ebert were his "Ebert and Roeper" co-host Richard Roeper, Telluride Film Festival's Tom Luddy, filmmakers Ava DuVernay ("Middle of Nowhere"), Gregory Nava ("El Norte"), Julie Dash ("Daughters of the Dust") and Andrew Davis ("Holes"), who read Ebert's review of "The Fugitive," and hilariously politically incorrect comic Dick Gregory. “He reeked of integrity,” said local actor John Cusack, onstage with sister Joan, who read wa letter from the President and First Lady. Scott Wilson and Chris Tucker were also on hand.
Video samples on big screens included Russ Meyer's "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls" (1970), which Ebert wrote, along with snippets from Ebert’s broadcast reviews, interviews, appearances and his 1992 wedding. At the end, wife Chaz Ebert revealed, “when the cancer returned, this time he said: `I’m tired, you must let me go.’”