Legendary film critic Roger Ebert died Thursday at the age of 70, just 2 days after announcing he was taking a "leave of presence."
Ray Solley, Executive Director of the Tower Theatre says his first job out of college was producing Siskel and Ebert's premiere show "Sneak Previews" back in 1976.
"I think of it as an end of an era when Gene died, it was like half of the great team that revolutionized some criticism on television, that we were honored and gifted to be a part of; that's gone, but there's always Roger. And then when he announced that he'd been re-diagnosed with recurring cancer, he was going to sort of back away for day-in day-out work. And then 48 hours later you get the news; it's not just depressing, it's just really disappointing and sobering."
Ebert was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2002, and later developed a type of tongue cancer that required surgery that left him unable to speak or eat.
Solley said his fondest memories are that Ebert was the fastest typist he ever knew, and as far as getting out his column, he could do it with no revisions; he loved the movies that much. And he was ann expert of point out quirky things that happen in almost every movie.
"He was a great writer, and his books are wonderful. When he points those out, it forever changes they way you watch a movie. And when those moments happen, you don't think of 'Oh, wow, I'm smart;' you think of 'Oh wow, Roger nailed it.'"
Funeral and memorial services are unknown at this time.