Film Critic Roger Ebert Honored at Chicago Theatre Memorial - NBC Chicago

Film Critic Roger Ebert Honored at Chicago Theatre Memorial

Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic died April 4 at the age of 70.



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    The Chicago Theatre marquee before a memorial for film critic Roger Ebert in Chicago, Thursday, April 11, 2013.

    Friends, family and filmmakers once again remembered iconic movie critic Roger Ebert, this time at the Chicago movie theater where so much of his work was based.

    The critic's widow Chaz Ebert welcomed her husband's fans to the theater on Thursday and remembered him as a father, friend, humanitarian and journalist.

    A choir began the memorial by singing, "Roger Ebert, we will always love you."

    Among the star-studded speakers on hand were "The Fugitive" director Andy Davis, Sony Pictures Classics President Michael Barker, former Playboy chief executive Christie Hefner and "Selena" and "El Norte" director Greg Nava.

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    Hollywood actors and Chicago siblings John Cusack and Joan Cusack were also on hand.

    Joan Cusack read a letter from President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, who remembered Ebert as a "cultural leader." John Cusack said Ebert was always supportive of artists and "always gave you a fair shake."

    Ebert attended hundreds of screenings at the Chicago Theatre and has the only star on the sidewalk in front of the theater beneath the marquee.

    Ebert's death on April 4 came two days after he marked his 46th anniversary of becoming the Chicago Sun-Times' movie reviewer with a note on his website in which he said he would have to scale back his work as a result of his battle with cancer.

    At his funeral Monday, mourners lined up hours before services began.

    "Roger was able to bring the spirit of American film alive," Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. "Whether or not we knew Roger, we knew he loved Chicago and Chicago loved Roger."

    "We thank God for his purposeful life," Gov. Pat Quinn said, ending his speech with "thumbs up!"

    Ebert will be honored next week at his film festival, Ebertfest, in Champaign-Urbana and on June 5 in Los Angeles with the Sundance Vanguard Leadership Award, presented by Robert Redford.

    "Among the many things I admire about Roger Ebert is how he has long supported freedom of artistic expression," Redford said in a statement.  His influence and reach is as meaningful as his personal passion for cinema, and he certainly deserves this award."

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