Gene Siskel’s Daughter Pays Tribute To Roger Ebert

The balcony is closed forever.

With the sad passing of Roger Ebert, 70, in Chicago Thursday, the famous film critic now joins his Siskel & Ebert partner Gene Siskel — who passed away in 1999 at the age of 53 — up in the theater in the sky.

“Roger was like an uncle to me. He and my dad were like brothers, Siskel’s daughter Kate Siskel, tells Celebuzz.

“They had a friendly rivalry, but their relationship is best defined by their mutual respect, love for film and love for one another.”

Ebert and Siskel’s started collaborating back in 1975 — the same year Ebert won his Pulitzer prize — on a show provisionally called Opening Soon at a Theater Near You. The segment eventually evolved into Sneak Previews, which went national on the Public Broadcasting Service.

In 1986, the duo signed a contract with Buena Vista Television to syndicate their program under Siskel & Ebert.

Though their demeanors were very different — Ebert was the portly one with the owlish eyeglasses, while Siskel was the taller one who was losing his hair — the two critics shared a passion for film.

“We liked each other; we even loved each other,” Ebert told Television Week in 2005. “And we also had days when we hated each other.”

Their syndicated show became a massive hit around the globe with movie fans loving their Roman Colosseum style verdict, where the two would judge a film by presenting both thumbs up, both down or — in a split decision — one of each.

With Ebert losing his long battle with cancer, movie fans around the world are giving this special duo the “thumbs up” in their memory.

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