Along with his long-time cohort Roger Ebert, Gene Siskel was one of the best-known film critics in America. Chicago-born and raised, Siskel obtained a philosophy degree from Yale in 1967 and began his long-time association as a film critic with the Chicago Tribune in 1969. He eventually became a syndicated columnist and in 1974 began doing film reviews for a local CBS television affiliate. He and rival critic Roger Ebert (who worked for the Chicago Sun-Times) were teamed on the public television review show Sneak Previews in 1975 and from there became virtual film critic icons with their "thumbs-up, thumbs-down" ratings and good-natured rivalry. Siskel and Ebert continued working together on air even though their show underwent numerous changes, including a switch to syndicated television. In addition, Siskel continued working for the Tribune and in 1990 became the film critic of the nationally broadcast CBS television show CBS This Morning. Over the course of his career, Siskel earned numerous awards, including five Emmy nominations and an Iris Award from the National Association of Television Programming Executives. Gene Siskel passed away February 20, 1999, at the age of 53.
by Sandra Brennan biography