CHICAGO - As a standing ovation finally quieted Monday inside Holy Name Cathedral, Chaz Ebert paid the last words of tribute to her husband, famed movie critic Roger Ebert.
"He had a heart big enough to accept and love all," Chaz Ebert said, telling the crowd of fans and friends that "Roger would want me to thank you. He would have loved this. He would have loved the majesty of it."
"One of the things that I loved about Roger — besides the fact that he had the biggest heart I've ever seen — is that he really was a soldier for social justice," she said. "And it didn't matter to him your race, creed, color, level of ability, sexual orientation."
Ebert, who was the first to win a Pulitzer Prize for film criticism and worked for the Chicago Sun-Times for more than 45 years, died Thursday at 70. Among those paying tribute during the funeral was Mayor Rahm Emanuel. "Whether or not we knew Roger, we knew he loved Chicago and Chicago loved Roger," he said. "Roger ... was able to bring the spirit of American film alive. Roger's name became synonymous with Chicago.
"We trusted Roger because he trusted us. We trusted Roger because he was one of us. Roger spent his time sitting through bad movies so we wouldn't have to," the mayor said, drawing laughter.
The Rev. Michael Pfleger gave the last blessing over Ebert's casket. "May the angels lead you to paradise," he said. Then he spoke directly to Ebert's wife. "I know as Roger ascends into heaven, the balconies of heaven are filled with angels saying, 'Thumbs up,' " Pfleger said.
Judge Judy gets two more years
Judy Sheindlin and CBS Television Distribution said Monday that the feisty former New York state judge has signed on for two more years of "Judge Judy." It's one of the top daytime TV shows, seen by roughly 10 million people each episode. Her current contract runs through 2015, and the new deal extends her through 2017. That would give her 21 years on the air, which she compared Monday to a winning hand in blackjack. Sheindlin, who is 70, gave no indication that she has plans to retire. No comment on whether she will be getting a raise from her reported $45 million annual salary.
outstanding achievement: Broadcast Music Inc. announced that Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine will receive the President's Award at the annual BMI Pop Awards on May 14. He was selected for his achievements in songwriting and his global impact on pop culture.