The balcony is closed.
For years, the team of Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert would end their movie-review show, Sneak Previews, by closing the balcony. Now, with Ebert's death Thursday from cancer, the man who helped bring the joy of movies to the masses has left the theater.
Ebert, 70, won a Pulitzer Prize for his criticism and became the most influential and recognizable critic in the USA, especially after the weekly movie review TV series that popularized the "thumbs up" phrase.
Ebert, longtime movie critic at the Chicago Sun-Times, continued the show after Siskel's death in 1999 with fellow Sun-Times columnist Richard Roeper.
Ebert had been battling cancer for a decade, but remained a fixture on the film scene, continuing to attend festivals and covering the Academy Awards ceremony for the Sun-Times.
President Obama saluted the critic in a statement: "For a generation of Americans — and especially Chicagoans — 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."
Here is Roger's review of Romero's Night of the Living Dead. Enjoy.