A new documentary about Roger Ebert, the famous movie reviewer, reveals he and Gene Siskel got a ton of ass in their day.
A ton of ass.
Life Itself, based on the 2011 best-selling memoir by Roger Ebert, is a close-up look at the life of the movie critic from his early days in newspapers, to his popular TV show with fellow movie buff and frenemy Gene Siskel, and his battle against thyroid cancer. A battle Ebert sadly lost in 2013 at the age of 70.
Life Itself hits theaters on July 4th and is directed by Steve James of Hoop Dreams fame. James documentary about Ebert takes a deep dive into the many women in the newspaper critic’s life — the women he dated throughout life and the woman he eventually married, Chaz, who stood by him throughout his lengthy struggle with cancer. The film touches on Ebert’s exploits with the opposite sex.
Ebert’s libido isn’t exactly a secret. Not only did he champion the work of cult sexploitation director Russ Meyer, he even wrote the screenplay for Meyer’s psychedelic genre mashup Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, which features a car-climax scene even more insane than Cameron Diaz banging that Ferrari in The Counselor. “What did he love about Russ Meyer’s films?” says Ebert’s friend and newspaper colleague John McHugh in the documentary. “Boobs.” McHugh and other old drinking buddies of Ebert from O’Rourke’s in Chicago also offer hilarious reminiscences of his questionable paramours prior to quitting booze and meeting the love of his life, Chaz, whom he married in 1992 when he was 50.
Ebert wasn’t the only one giving women the “thumbs up and thumbs down” when it came to dating. Siskel nailed his fair share of women but these ladies were a little more “high end” than Ebert’s gaggle of, as one friend of Roger’s put it, some of the “worst women ever” who were nothing but “gold diggers, opportunists, or psychos.”
“As for Siskel, he consorted with an altogether different crowd of women. The documentary reveals the little-known trivia that he was close friends with another Windy City native who’d done well in media. “[Gene] was a philosophy major at Yale,” says his wife of nearly twenty years, Marlene Iglitzen. “While Roger was one of the good old boy news reporters, Gene was just more of a, for lack of a better word, elegant character. He caught the eye of Hugh Hefner, and he was adopted by the clan at the Mansion. And he traveled with Hefner in the Bunny jet. Even though Roger wrote Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, I think Gene lived the life for a while.”
So, to recap, Ebert was a poon hound and Siskel nailed Playboy Playmates on a continuous basis and watched movies for a living.
God bless ‘Merica.