The Daily Illini

Roger Ebert to be inducted into Chicago Literary Hall of Fame

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Roger Ebert to be inducted into Chicago Literary Hall of Fame

Roger Ebert looks on in downtown Chicago.

Roger Ebert looks on in downtown Chicago.

Roger Ebert looks on in downtown Chicago.

Roger Ebert looks on in downtown Chicago.

By Jessica Bursztynsky, Interim Editor-in-Chief

Pulizter Prize-winning film critic and alumnus Roger Ebert is to be inducted into the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame on Aug. 19.

Ebert’s widow, Chaz, will be in attendance at the Chicago event to accept the statue and honor.

Ebert, an Urbana native, was a journalism student at the University and served as editor-in-chief of The Daily Illini in 1963.

He worked as a film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times from 1967 until his death in 2013.

Bill Nack, sports editor under Ebert, once told The Daily Illini “of all the people who worked at The Daily Illini in the early 1960s, no one brought Roger’s energy, intellect and unbridled enthusiasm to the often difficult, always demanding job of putting out a paper five days a week.”

Years later, when The Daily Illini was $250,000 in debt, it was Ebert that donated the funds to keep the independent newspaper running. He gave an additional $1 million to the College of Media and started Eberfest in Champaign, the film festival that continues today.

“It’s been fun,” Ebert wrote in The Daily Illini in April 1964. “But now it’s time to be a has-been, like Freeman and Karen Lucas and 90 other DI editors. And being a has-been might be fun, too.”

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A previous headline misspelled Ebert’s first name. The Daily Illini regrets this error. 

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