In looking up something about the upcoming 20th Annual Ebertfest, I came across some sad news: Leonard Doyle, who had worked at the Virginia Theater for 67 years and become known as the greeter and usher at Ebertfest, has passed away. According to an article shared on the official Ebertfest website, he “died January 25th at age 89, surrounded by four generations of his family.” The article also has some lovely insight from his children about how much he loved the festival and movies of all genres (though his favorite was James Bond) and how he always made sure everyone in line had a seat.
I also learned about his work in the community, particularly that he was a co-founder of Champaign Urbana Theater Company, which is now in its 26th season. It seems like he was involved in so many things, and he was really treasured in the community. It’s sad to think this will be the first year that his favorite festival happens without him.
Here’s a great picture they shared in that article as well:
RIP Leonard Doyle (1928-2018).
Top photo by Sam Logan; all other photos from RogerEbert.com