Call to greatness



We don't seem to hear as many stories about mailroom employees like Michael Ovitz once was, rising to fame and power, but hardworking Chicago Sun-Times columnist Richard Roeper comes close. Roeper is already a high-profile columnist for the newspaper, and, last week, he was named the co-host to replace the late Gene Siskel on the Buena Vista movie-review show, which will now be called Ebert & Roeper and the Movie. But early in his career at the Sun-Times, he was the editorial assistant in the features section. That meant, among other things, answering the phone for none other than Ebert, the longtime critic and Pulitzer Prize winner at the Chicago tabloid. Now, they'll match thumbs on the set.

There's an interesting footnote as well. In 1995, when Siskel and Ebert marked 20 years together as dueling critics, they gave out only one Chicago interview about their time together. It was written by Roeper, and Buena Vista thought it so comprehensive that the syndicator showcased it for all those years in its official media kit.