Working in radio, I often get the chance to meet and greet celebrities. Of those I've met, I distinctly remember and enjoyed meeting Roger Ebert.
While many teenage kids would sneak cigarettes, booze from mom & dad's liquor cabinet or do something else mischevous, I would stay up late on Sunday nights, After curfew, after TV hours were done, I would sneak into our family's TV room at 10:30pm and watch At The Movies.
I loved Siskel and Ebert's job, being able to watch movies for a career, then telling people what they thought about them. I have tried hard to emulate their careers in my own.
One of my favorite comments from Ebert was when he was analyzing one of the many Friday The 13th sequels from the 1980s and said the film could only be of interest to people who "like to smell dirty socks." Cutting, brilliant imagery and funny.
I was quite saddened to hear today that Roger Ebert passed away. Although I had only met him once, I considered him a mentor. Known for his movie reviews, he was also a literary wiz. His hands were involved in 1970's Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls, which only upped his street cred.
I also thought he was a well spoken, well versed and well lived Chicagoan. Im so happy he left his mark on this world.
You will be missed.
PS...Roger....I extremely apologize for allowing my cell phone to go off during your introduction of Alfred Hitchcock's "Rebecca" at the 2004 Wisconsin Film Fest. There were only about 40 people in the room and I pretended like it wasn't my phone. How embarrasing!
To make up for it, I have held onto my ticket to see "A Hard Day's Night" that Roger introduced at the 2003 Wisconsin Film Festival. I still remember his description of George Harrison's first chord of the song "A Hard Day's Night." He said that was the sound that started the 1960s revolution.
Rock on my fellow film fan.