Roger Ebert statue unveiled in Champaign

Apr 25, 2014

Artist Rick Harney poses next to his bronze sculpture of Roger Ebert on April 24, 2014 in Champaign, Ill.
Credit Sean Powers / Illinois Public Radio/WILL
A life-sized bronze sculpture of Roger Ebert was unveiled Thursday outside the Virginia Theater in Champaign. The artist who designed the statue of the late movie critic sitting between two empty theater seats says the piece took six months to complete. 

Rick Harney says he talked with Roger’s widow, Chaz, throughout the project and did his best to humanize Ebert.

“He worked hard.  He fell in love. He got sick.  Those are things that everyone can relate to.  I tried to make it so he didn’t look to statuesque.  I just tried to see him like a regular guy,” says Harney.

Chaz Ebert says her husband would have felt honored that the statue was built, but embarrassed because he was modest. 

The sculpture will remain outside the Virginia Theater during this year's EbertFest, which ends Sunday. Those who commissioned it hope to have it permanently installed this summer. 

Ebert, a longtime Chicago Sun-Times critic and Urbana native died last April.