The Buzz: Roger Ebert dies at 70

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Entertainment,Ryan Vogt,Buzz

Tears in the newsroom. Roger Ebert, whose thumb orientation and effortless writing came to stand for movie criticism itself, has died at 70. The Chicago Sun-Times, his employer of 46 years, announced he succumbed to cancer Thursday.

His death came just two days after Ebert -- calling him by his first name, in Buzz tradition, would be silly -- announced a "leave of presence" from reviewing movies. "It really stinks that the cancer has returned and that I have spent too many days in the hospital," he wrote Tuesday on his blog. "So on bad days I may write about the vulnerability that accompanies illness. On good days, I may wax ecstatic about a movie so good it transports me beyond illness."

Ebert was named the Sun-Times' movie critic in 1967, one year after he joined the paper -- the job "fell out of the sky," he said -- and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1975, the first film critic to do so. That same year, he teamed up with his counterpart at the Chicago Tribune, Gene Siskel, to launch the show that would become "Siskel & Ebert & the Movies," establishing one of the great duos in television history.

Siskel died of cancer in 1999 at the age of 53, and Ebert had a tumor removed from his thyroid in 2002. Numerous surgeries followed as Ebert's battle with cancer continued, eventually depriving him of the ability to speak, eat and even laugh. But with the loss of his audible voice, Ebert found a new outlet -- his blog, where he wrote about his childhood, his alcoholism and his wife, Chaz Hammelsmith. Ebert famously dated Oprah Winfrey in the late '80s, and is credited with giving her the idea to take her local show nationwide, but in 1992, at age 40, he got married for the first time, to Chaz. They never had children, but she was his "tower of strength" through illness. "She fills my horizon, she is the great fact of my life, she is the love of my life, she saved me from the fate of living out my life alone," he wrote.

Concluding his 2011 memoir, "Life Itself," Ebert wrote: "I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn't always know this and am happy I lived long enough to find it out."

Quick Takes

Madonna's 16-year-old daughter, Lourdes Leon, is dating "Homeland" star Timothee Chalamet, a high school senior, per the New York Post.

Beyonce and Jay-Z vacationed in Havana -- as in, the capital of communist Cuba -- to celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary.

Miami Heat star Chris Bosh has had $324,000 worth of jewelry and cash, plus, um, $155k worth of purses, stolen from his house.

Say What?

"We finally had to sit down and talk about it. I told him, 'Look, I'm gonna love you regardless, just let me know. Are you, or aren't you?' And finally he said, 'Yes, I am.'"
- Magic Johnson, whose son Earvin Johnson III, aka EJ, came out as gay this week, to TMZ. The Lakers legend says he and wife Earlitha "Cookie" Kelly knew "for a long time that my son EJ was gay," and that they had "the talk" with him when he was 12. Magic says EJ was nervous about his dad's reaction but didn't need to be. "He really wanted to make sure I was OK. He wasn't worried about his mom, he was worried about me," Magic says. "I love EJ so much. That's my main man. I told him, 'Nothing has changed.' "

Open for Business?

"No. ... But I've always told Will: You can do whatever you want as long as you can look at yourself in the mirror and be OK."
- Jada Pinkett Smith, to HuffPost Live, addressing the long-standing rumor that she and Will Smith have an open marriage.

What the Stars Are Tweeting

"War is nothing to be played with. I apologize North Korea.......but if y'all do bomb 1st... Bomb Foxboro, Mass. Sincerely, #BillsMafia"
- @StevieJohnson13 (Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson), angering more than just Patriots fans. Hey, Stevie, what does "BILLS" stand for? But I Like Losing Superbowl.

Happy birthday for April 5:

Wrestler Ashley Fliehr is 27.
Actress Hayley Atwell is 31.

Rapper-producer Pharrell Williams is 40.

Country singer Pat Green is 41.

Singer Paula Cole is 45.

Country singer Troy Gentry of Montgomery Gentry is 46.

Guitarist Mike McCready of Pearl Jam is 47.

Actor Mitch Pileggi is 61.

Singer Agnetha Faltskog of ABBA is 63.

Actress Jane Asher is 67.

Actor Max Gail is 70.

Singer Allan Clarke of the Hollies is 71.

Actor Michael Moriarty is 72.

Country singer Tommy Cash is 73.

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Author:

Ryan Vogt

Examiner Staff Writer
The Washington Examiner