On November 10, a panel of film critics and journalists gathered at Elmhurst College to discuss the legacy of Roger Ebert, the Chicago-based movie critic who won the Pulitzer Prize and became a national icon.
The discussion, What Roger Ebert Meant to Us, was moderated by radio host and Chicago Tribune senior writer Rick Kogan. Panelists were Michael Phillips, film critic for the Chicago Tribune; columnist and author Neil Steinberg of the Chicago Sun-Times; and film critic Ignatiy Vishnevetsky of Ebert Presents: At the Movies.
Speaking to an enthusiastic crowd of nearly 500, the panelists described their first encounters with Ebert and talked about his rare talent for writing clear, accessible prose that reflected his personality and that carried over so successfully to television.
Ebert's widow, Chaz, attended the event and addressed several listener comments during the question-and-answer period following the discussion.
Roger Ebert was the most famous movie critic of his generation, and one of the most respected. “The force and grace of his opinions propelled film criticism into the mainstream of American culture,” The New York Times reported after Ebert’s death in April. President Obama reacted to the news with a statement: “For a generation of Americans—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.”