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Sunday, February 21, 1999 Published at 03:38 GMT


Entertainment

US film critic dies

Gene Siskel (left) with Jack Nicholson at a basketball game

US film critic Gene Siskel, known for his trademark thumbs-up and thumbs-down reviews on the popular TV show he co-hosted with fellow critic Roger Ebert, has died.

He was 53 and had surgery in May to remove a brain tumour, but returned to the television programme "Siskel & Ebert" soon afterwards.

Earlier this month he said was taking time off from the programme to spend time recuperating from the surgery. He died at Evanston Hospital near Chicago, surrounded by his family.

Siskel was known for his outspoken opinions, not only of films, but of the people who made them.

The continuing success of Siskel and Ebert's show was largely attributed to the chemistry between them and their sharply conflicting opinions.

"Gene was a lifelong friend ... I can't even imagine what it will be like (without Siskel)," Ebert said.

He wrote film reviews for the Chicago Tribune and did reviews for CBS and WBBM-TV in Chicago.

He graduated from Yale University in 1967 beginning his partnership with Ebert in 1975 with the television programme Sneak Previews.

They left in 1982 when their show became syndicated nationwide.





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