When news broke that legendary film critic Roger Ebert had died after a long battle with cancer, his former television partner Richard Roeper was on the air on Chicago radio station WLS-AM. Roper and his co-host Roe Conn had just finished a segment of the show, dedicated to Ebert’s April 3 announcement that he was taking a hiatus from reviewing to focus on his health.
Roeper says knew “things were not going well,” after speaking with Ebert’s wife Chaz Ebert recently. However, he says Roger had reached “a real peace” with his situation.
On his relationship with Ebert, Roper says, “We became friends before we became television partners.” Richard first met Roger when he started working at the Chicago Sun-Times, nearly 30 years ago, but was afraid to talk to him first.
“The guy you saw on TV, telling all those great stories, and having such great passion for movies and being so passionate about so many things, first and formost his family…That was the real Roger Ebert,” Roeper says. “What you saw is what you got.”
Roeper also spoke highly of the “Siskel & Ebert” format, which shows like “Pardon the Interuption” followed, saying it “was real, not reality television, but real.” Roper ended his comments, saying, “We had a great run together, and I have a lot of memories.”
Roger Ebert was 70.