What was Roger Ebert’s Net Worth?
Roger Ebert was an American film critic, journalist and screenwriter who had a net worth of $10 million at the time of his death. Roger Ebert’s career began in 1966, writing for the Chicago Sun-Times’ Sunday magazine. In 1975, he became the first film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize. That same year Ebert teamed up with fellow movie critic Gene Siskel on a television show where they debated the quality of the latest films. The show became a hit and Siskel and Ebert became household names. They worked together until 1999 when Siskel passed away due to complications of a surgery involving a cancerous brain tumor.
In early 2002, Ebert was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer which was successfully removed. In 2003, he underwent surgery for cancer in his salivary gland, which was followed up by radiation treatment. He was again afflicted with cancer in 2006. In June of that year, he had surgery to remove cancerous tissue near his right jaw and just one week later he had a life-threatening complication when his carotid artery burst near the surgery site. He was confined to bed rest and was unable to speak, eat, or drink for a period of time, necessitating the use of a feeding tube.
Ebert made his first public appearance since mid-2006 at Ebertfest on April 25, 2007. He was unable to speak, instead communicating through his wife.
In December 2012, Ebert was hospitalized with a fractured hip. On April 2, 2013, he announced that he would be taking a “leave of presence” from his duties because the hip fracture was determined to be cancerous and would require radiation treatment. On April 4, 2013, Roger Ebert lost his brave fight at the age of 70 when he passed away in Chicago as he was preparing to come home from the hospital. At the April 2014 Ebertfest, the Pulitzer Prize-winner was honored with a life-sized bronze statue outside the Virginia Theatre in Champaign, Illinois.
Ebert was born on June 18, 1942 in Urbana, Illinois. He was the only child of Annabel and Walter Ebert. His mother worked as a bookkeeper while his father was an electrician. The family was Roman-Catholic and he attended St. Mary’s elementary school and also served as an altar boy at church. His ancestry is German, Irish, and Dutch. He attended Urbana High School where he first developed his interest in journalism while working as a sportswriter for “The News-Gazette” in Champaign, Illinois. He was also the class president and co-editor of his high school newspaper during his senior year and then won the Illinois High School Association state speech championship in the “radio speaking” category.
After completing high school, he attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and received his undergraduate degree in 1964. While in college, he continued working as a student journalist, working as a reporter for “The Daily Illini” and also serving as president of the U.S. Student Press Association. He then began a master’s degree at the same school, spent a year studying at the University of Cape Town, and then was accepted as a Ph.D. student at the University of Chicago. While attending doctoral classes in Chicago, he began working as a general reporter at the “Chicago Sun-Times” in 1966.
After the then Sun-Times film critic left her role in 1967, the editor of the paper offered the job to Ebert, who accepted. His reviews soon began receiving nationwide attention and Ebert also began to explore other writing opportunities. In 1967, he also published his first book – “Illini Century: One Hundred Years of Campus Life” – a history of the University of Illinois. In 1970, he co-wrote the screenplay for the Russ Meyer film “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.” He was also involved in writing “Up!,” “Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens,” and “Who Killed Bambi?,” among a number of other films.
In 1968, Ebert also began working at the University of Chicago as an adjunct lecturer, teaching a class on film in the evenings. He continued writing for the Sun-Times as a film critic and received more and more praise for his critical reviews. In 1975, he received the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism. In 1986, while maintaining his role at the Sun-Times, he also replaced critic Rex Reed as the New York Post chief film reviewer. More and more newspapers around the country also began to syndicate his reviews. By 2007, his reviews were syndicated in over 200 newspapers in the United States and abroad.
In addition to writing, Ebert also worked in television. In 1975, he worked with Gene Siskel to co-host a weekly film review television show called “Sneak Previews.” The show aired initially locally in Chicago and then was later picked up for national syndication on PBS. The duo became well-known for their thumbs up/thumbs down review summaries of films, trademarking the phrase “Two Thumbs Up.” In 1982, they launched another show called “At the Movies With Gene Siskel & Roger Ebert.” In 1986, the renamed the show to “Siskel & Ebert & the Movies” and moved the show to be part of the Walt Disney Company. After Siskel’s death, the show was retitled to “Roger Ebert & the Movies” and used a number of rotating co-hosts like Martin Scorsese and Janet Maslin before it was again renamed to “At the Movies with Ebert & Roeper,” when columnist Richard Roeper became the permanent co-host.
Because of his prominence as a famed film critic and reviewer, Ebert was afforded a number of exciting opportunities throughout his career. In 2000, Ebert interviewed President Bill Clinton at The White House where the two discussed their love of movies and some of their favorite films and actors. In 2005, Ebert also became the first film critic to ever receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In 2008, Ebert ended his association with the “At The Movies” program. In 2009, he was made an honorary life member of the Directors Guild of America. Ebert’s final film review was published in March of 2013 for the film “To The Wonder.” A couple of post-humous reviews were published following his death in 2013.
Personal Life and Death
When he was 50 years old, Ebert married trial attorney Charlie “Chaz” Hammelsmith in 1992. Ebert had previously stated he didn’t want to marry before the death of his mother for fear of displeasing her. Ebert had previously dated Oprah Winfrey, a longtime friend. Winfrey has credited Ebert with encouraging her to syndicate “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”
Ebert was a recovering alcoholic after having quit drinking in 1979. He was a member of Alcoholics Anonymous. He was also a supporter of the Democratic Party and endorsed Barack Obama during his presidential campaigns.
In 2002, Ebert was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer, which was treated. However, he again had cancer in 2006 near his mouth, leaving him unable to speak for an extended period of time. Throughout the rest of his life, Ebert was plagued with a number of health problems until he died at age 70 at a hospital in Chicago in 2013. Following his death, a number of public tributes and memorials were held to honor his life and contribution to the film industry.