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Death of film critic Ebert elicits wide reaction

The Associated Press, Thursday, April 4, 2013, 3:32pm (PDT)

The death of film critic Roger Ebert elicits wide reaction from directors, fellow critics and others:

"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 was the voice and face of popular film criticism and you couldn't ask for a more extraordinary champion of films both large and small. We all paid attention to whatever direction his thumb was pointing and we will miss his wit and wisdom greatly." -- Sony Pictures spokesman Steve Elzer.

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"Roger and Gene (Siskel) together again. End of an era." -- Oprah Winfrey on Twitter.

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"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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"Indefatigable, compassionate, irreverent, and equipped with a first-rate bullshit detector. That was/is Roger Ebert." -- Film critic Glenn Kenny on Twitter.

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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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"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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"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 there 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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"With a knowledge of his subject as deep as his love for his wife Chaz, Roger Ebert will be remembered for the strength of his work, respected for his courage in the face of illness, and revered for his contribution to filmmaking and to our city. The final reel of his life may have run through to the end, but his memory will never fade." -- Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, in a statement.

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"Even in recent years when illness robbed him of his ability to speak, the mere act of raising his thumb brought auditoriums full of people to their feet in applause. Roger Ebert was Everyman with a cinematographer's eye and an artist's passion. His unique gift was the ability to communicate with everyday people about all kinds of movies and ultimately, the real values of life." -- Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, in a statement.

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