I just read a blog post by Roger Ebert yesterday, one talking about his plans for the near future, which included cutting back on reviewing to just the films he wanted to write about and writing more on other subjects, and now today comes the very sad news that he has died.
I by no means always agreed with Ebert's reviews, but his were the ones I always read first, not least because they were often far more entertaining than the films themselves.
Ebert got his start as a writer publishing his own neighborhood newsletter as a child. In his teens he contributed articles to science fiction fanzines such as Buck and Juanita Coulson's Yandro (the first sf fanzine I ever saw). He was already writing professionally (on sports) at 15, but somehow found time to co-edit his high school newspaper and co-host the school's weekly radio program as a well as acting in plays. In college he published a weekly journal of opinion. He became the Sun-Times movie reviewer in back in 1967 and teamed with the late Gene Siskel to review films on television in 1975.
He'll be missed by me and a lot of other people.