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The comedian tweeted:
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If there is one person who looked Hollywood dead in the eye without flinching, it was Roger Ebert!
There isn't a man, woman, or child in the film industry who was immune to a thumbs down when it was warranted!!
Roger adored movies, though, and it showed.
His enduring passion and elegant honesty earned him the respect of colleagues and filmmakers alike — even those he occasionally skewered in a bad review!!
And absolutely no one is surprised that Hollywood's biggest names are already showering the man who passed just hours ago with beautiful and well-deserved eulogies.
“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.”
Raging Bull director Martin Scorsese was equally passionate.
“The death of Roger Ebert is an incalculable loss for movie culture and for film criticism. And it’s a loss for me personally. Roger was always supportive, he was always right there for me when I needed it most, when it really counted – at the very beginning, when every word of encouragement was precious; and then again, when I was at the lowest ebb of my career, there he was, just as encouraging, just as warmly supportive. There was a professional distance between us, but then I could talk to him much more freely than I could to other critics. Really, Roger was my friend. It’s that simple.
Few people I’ve known in my life loved or cared as much about movies. I know that’s what kept him going in those last years – his life-or-death passion for movies, and his wonderful wife, Chaz.
We all knew that this moment was coming, but that doesn’t make the loss any less wrenching. I’ll miss him — my dear friend, Roger Ebert.”
Even mega-producer Harvey Weinstein, an industry titan of legendary surliness, was nothing short of appreciative of Roger's legacy.
“Roger Ebert was a passionate critic who understood that he needed to not only appraise films but be a champion of cinema. He was always on the side of movies that needed that extra push. The only thing that tops him as a writer was his kindness as a human being. I will miss Roger very much and my heart goes out to Chaz and the entire family.”
One thing is clear: The late critic will be deeply missed by everyone who loves loves movies even half as much as he did.
Roger Ebert was 70 years old and is survived by his wife Chaz.
[Image via WENN.