When news broke Thursday that legendary film critic Roger Ebert died at the age of 70 after a lengthy battle with cancer, the Hollywood community reacted with great sadness at the loss, regardless of whether he had given them a good review.
“Black Swan” director Darren Aronofsky recalled his first review from Ebert. “We lost a thoughtful writer, i remember my first review from him, pi (i got his and siskel’s thumbs) it was a career highlight. #rogerebert,” he wrote.
“Rest in Peace, Roger Ebert. You were a gentleman. Sometimes loved my movies, sometimes hated them, but you were always fair,” “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” director Chris Weitz tweeted. “New Moon” actress Anna Kendrick added, “Shocked and truly, deeply saddened at the loss of the great Roger Ebert. A legend. His voice will be missed.”
Diablo Cody shared on Twitter, “R.I.P. Roger Ebert. It was a privilege to interact with you. Thank you for the support, the criticism, and the true love for the movies.”
R.I.P. Roger Ebert. It was a privilege to interact with you. Thank you for the support, the criticism, and the true love for the movies.
— Diablo Cody (@diablocody) April 4, 2013
Other filmmakers paid tribute to the late writer by recalling his trademark thumbs up/thumbs down method of reviewing movies. “Roger Ebert. Millions of thumbs up for you. RIP,” Michael Moore tweeted.
“The Amazing Spider-Man” director Marc Webb added, “Roger Ebert – an uncynical lover of the movies. Two thumbs pointing up to the sky.”
Steven Spielberg released a statement shortly after the world learned of Ebert’s passing, sharing, “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.”
“The Company You Keep” director Robert Redford recalled his “passion” for movies big and small. “Roger Ebert was one of the great champions of freedom of artistic expression. When the power of independent film was still unknown and few would support it, Roger was there for our artists. His personal passion for cinema was boundless, and that is sure to be his legacy for generations to come.”
But, the loss wasn’t just felt in Hollywood. President Obama also paid tribute to the critic in a statement. “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.”