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Gene Siskel


  Male      American      Critic

  Born : Jan 26, 1946  -
  Died : Feb 20, 1999


About Author

Eugene Kal "Gene" Siskel (January 26, 1946 – February 20, 1999) was an American film critic and journalist for the Chicago Tribune. Along with colleague Roger Ebert, he hosted a series of popular review shows on television from 1975 to 1999.

Siskel was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Ida (née Kalis) and Nathan William Siskel. His parents were Russian Jewish immigrants. Siskel was raised by his aunt and uncle after both his parents died when he was ten years old. He attended Culver Academies and graduated from Yale University with a degree in in philosophy in 1967, where he studied writing under Pulitzer Prize-winning author John Hersey, who helped him land a job at the Chicago Tribune in 1969. His first print review was for the film Rascal, which was written one month before he became the paper's film critic. His review of the film was favorable but received no stars by default since the paper did not use a star-rating system for films at the time. Siskel served in the United States Army Reserves; graduating from basic officers training in early 1968, and serving as a military journalist and public affairs officer for the Defense Information School. For a time afterwards, Gene was acquainted with Playboy magazine publisher, Hugh Hefner.[5] In 1975, Siskel teamed up with Roger Ebert, film reviewer for the Chicago Sun-Times, to host a show on the local Chicago PBS station WTTW which eventually became Sneak Previews. Their "thumbs-up, thumbs-down" system soon became an easily recognizable trademark, popular enough to be parodied on comedy shows such as In Living Color, Bizarre, cartoon strips like Calvin and Hobbes (April, 1988) and in movies such as Hollywood Shuffle and Godzilla. Sneak Previews gained a country-wide audience in 1977 when it was carried on PBS...


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