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From cnn.com:

Film critic Gene Siskel dead at 53

February 20, 1999
Web posted at: 6:24 p.m. EST (2324 GMT)

CHICAGO (CNN) -- Gene Siskel, a film
critic known for his thumbs-up and
thumbs-down reviews with fellow critic
Roger Ebert on their popular TV show, died
Saturday. He was 53.

Siskel had surgery in May to remove a
growth from his brain but returned to the
syndicated television show "Siskel & Ebert"
soon afterward. He announced earlier this
month he was taking time off from that show
to recuperate from the surgery.

Siskel wrote movie reviews for the Chicago Tribune and TV Guide and also
did reviews for "CBS This Morning" and WBBM-TV in Chicago.

He had said when he announced his leave February 3 that he expected to
return to the television show and writing his reviews this fall.

"I'm in a hurry to get well, because I don't want Roger to get more screen
time than I," he said then.

Paul Dergarabedian, spokesman for Exhibitor Relations Co., which compiles
box office receipts, called Siskel's death a great loss.

"He, along with his partner Roger Ebert, took film criticism into the
mainstream," he said. "The average person would look toward them about
whether to take their hard-earned dollars to the box office."

Siskel and Ebert are perhaps the most recognizable movie critics in the nation.
Their trademark "thumbs-up" and "thumbs-down" reviews became a
benchmark for the movie industry. "Siskel & Ebert" garnered five national
Emmy Award nominations.

Siskel graduated from Yale University in 1967. He joined the Tribune in 1969.
He and Ebert began their partnership in 1975 with the public television
program "Sneak Previews." He also authored "Siskel's Flicks Picks," a
nationally syndicated column.

Siskel was one of the first broadcasters initiated into the National
Association
of Television Programming Executives and won several print and broadcast
awards.

Siskel is survived by his wife, Marlene, and two children.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.




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*** Michele Harvey      ***
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*** Centreville VA USA  ***
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