A week after the death of legendary film critic Roger Ebert, the worlds of independent film and Tinseltown will come together for a special memorial tribute at the iconic Chicago Theatre.
The "Celebration of Life" program spotlighting the Chicago Sun-Times critic's prolific life as a writer, TV host, author and other ventures is drawing a mix of "industry" players and long-time Ebert friends.
Among the attendees announced are "The Fugitive" director Andy Davis, fellow Sun-Times critic and former co-host Richard Roeper, former Playboy CEO Christie Hefner and disabilities rights pioneer Marca Bristo.
ABC Chicago has a picture of the marquee outside the theatre, which reads "Roger Ebert: A Celebration Of Life With Love From Chaz 1942 — 2013." Ebert's widow Chaz and their granddaughter, Raven, are also slated to offer personal tributes along with music from gospel choirs, and specially-edited footage from the old “Siskel and Ebert” television show.
Producers of the upcoming Kartemquin Films documentary on Ebert, "Life Itself," told HuffPost via Twitter they have been preparing archival footage for the event, some of which has never before been seen in public.
Actor John Cusack and comedian Dick Gregory are also expected to make an appearance to honor Ebert, WGN reports.
Since his death, Chaz Ebert and others working on the newly-redesigned RogerEbert.com have been tweeting from the critic's widely-popular account. Thursday, Chaz told fans:
CHAZ HERE: Roger gave me instructions to tweet for him. I wonder if he knew something we didn't know. (Tears)
— Roger Ebert (@ebertchicago) April 11, 2013
Fox Chicago notes Ebert often watched the films he reviewed at Chicago Theatre screenings; his star is the only one cemented into the sidewalk in front of the venue.
The 7 p.m. tribute (doors open at 6 p.m.) is free and open to the public, but space is limited and tickets must be reserved in advance by emailing email@example.com, or calling 773-528-7700. At press time, tickets were still available.
Ebert, 70, died April 4, just days after revealing on his blog that his cancer had returned and that he would be reducing his reviewing duties at the Sun-Times.