April 10, 2013
and indie film directors, comedian and philanthropist
, former Playboy chair
and the president of Sony Pictures Classics will join other celebrities, friends and colleagues to pay tribute to
's life and prolific career at "
: A Celebration of Life," this Thursday at
at the Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State St.
As Ebert loved gospel music, the evening will include musical performances by
and the Soul Children of
and the Grammy-award winning
and Fellowship Chicago Choir. Doors open at
and the program will start promptly at
Guests will be treated to footage of great moments with Ebert and his co-host of many years,
, from their movie review shows. There will be heartfelt tributes from his wife of 22 years, Chaz, stepdaughter,
, and granddaughter,
, in addition to the following confirmed speakers:
, director of "The Fugitive," "The Package," and "Holes"
, President of Sony Pictures Classics
, director of "El Norte," "Selena," and "
, producer and director of "Daughters of the Dust"
, comedian and philanthropist
, director of "I Will Follow" and "Middle of Nowhere"
, film critic, columnist and co-host of "Ebert & Roeper At the Movies"
, creator/producer of the "Siskel & Ebert" TV series
, co-founder of the Telluride Film Festival
, award-winning broadcast journalist and producer and the Voice of Roger on "Ebert Presents at the Movies"
, former Chair and CEO of Playboy
, founder of Facets, largest supplier of independent films
Marlene Iglitzen Siskel
, wife of
, founder of Access Living and disabilities rights pioneer
Monica and Magan Eng
, journalists and longtime friends
, author, TV show host
, founder of Table XI Digital and co-founder of Ebert Digital
Ebert will be honored next week,
, at Ebertfest, his film festival in Champagne-
, celebrating its 15
year. He programmed all the movies before his death. Ebert also will be honored posthumously with the Sundance Vanguard Leadership Award, to be presented by
. The event is being chaired by television writer and producer
and his wife, Lyn.
Redford said of Ebert: "Among the many things I admire about
is how he has long supported freedom of artistic expression. When I started Sundance in 1980, and when few would support us, Roger was there. This was one of the ways he communicated his forward-thinking outlook. He was one of the first to support our artists. His influence and reach is as meaningful as his personal passion for cinema, and he certainly deserves this award."
Ebert's long relationship with the Chicago Theatre, where he attended film screenings for years, makes it a fitting venue for an event celebrating a man dubbed "the world's film critic." Ebert also has the only star on the sidewalk in front of the theater beneath the grand marquee. The Chicago Sun-Times critic of 46 years died
. A day earlier, he had announced on his blog he was relaunching his web site, RogerEbert.com but taking a "leave of presence." The redesigned, highly interactive site was launched Monday night.
Thursday's memorial tribute is free and open to the public, but space is limited. To reserve a seat send an email to
, or call 773-528-7700. Tickets can be picked up at the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State St., on Wednesday from
12 to 8 p.m.
and Thursday from
9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Tickets are first-come-first-served and required for entry.