Eugene Kal Siskel (January 26, 1946 February 20, 1999) was the film critic for the Chicago Tribune from 1969 until his death. Along with Roger Ebert, he was one-half of the weekly film review show Siskel & Ebert: At the Movies. The two of them rated films with a simple system: thumbs up or down, with a brief discussion of a film's strengths and/or weaknesses before presenting a verdict.
The show propelled both Siskel and Ebert to nationwide acclaim, including appearances on The Tonight Show, and made both two of the most influential voices in American film criticism (and thus arguably all cultural criticism in the late 20th/early 21st century).
Siskel died in 1999 of complications following surgery to remove a brain tumor. He'd announced a leave of absence from At the Movies two weeks prior. Ebert frequently referred to his friend and colleague in his essays until his own death in 2013.
- Siskel once appeared on The Larry Sanders Show As Himself.
- Jay Sherman in The Critic is visibly a gestalt of both Siskel and Ebert; he has Siskel's hairstyle and Ebert's body type. Indeed, one episode features animated versions of Siskel and Ebert (playing themselves) as guest stars.
- Reportedly, in Willow, the heads of the moat monster were nicknamed "Siskel" and "Ebert", both of which were combined to make the name "Eborsisk" for the creature. The villain of the film was also named "General Kael", after the critic Pauline Kael.
- Captain Ersatzes of him and Ebert also appear in Godzilla (1998), as Obstructive Bureaucrats. Both, funnily enough, felt the film didn't go far enough with punishing them.
- Insult to Rocks: Discussing Ishtar on their Worst of '87 special, Gene Siskel said "I just saw Road to Morocco, and it is funnier than Ishtar—of course, that's really, I guess, an insult to Road to Morocco. Anything is funnier than Ishtar—except Leonard Part 6."
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Siskel generally came off as the Red Oni to Ebert's Blue Oni. Ebert's tastes tended to be more highbrow, and Siskel's more mainstream, as exemplified by their all-time favorite films: La Dolce Vita for Ebert, Saturday Night Fever for Siskel.