Organizers in Roger Ebert’s hometown announced plans Tuesday to try to raise $125,000 to build a life-size bronze statue of the late famed film critic.
The statue would go in front of Champaign’s Virginia Theatre, which has hosted the Ebertfest film festival for 15 years. Ebert, a Pulitzer Prize-winning movie reviewer and TV personality, grew up in neighboring Urbana and attended the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.
The sculpture will show Ebert sitting in the middle of three movie theater chairs giving his signature thumbs up. Artist Rick Harney of Bloomington will create the sculpture.
His reviews appeared in The Journal Gazette until his death in April at the age of 70.
CMA nods revealed
Taylor Swift and Kacey Musgraves are the top nominees for the Country Music Association Awards with six apiece.
Swift will be going for her third entertainer of the year award and also was nominated for album and female vocalist of the year for the Nov. 6 awards in Nashville, Tenn. Newcomer Musgraves also is up for awards in the album and female vocalist categories after nominations were announced.
Blake Shelton is next with five nominations. His wife, Miranda Lambert, also has five nominations – three solo and two with her trio Pistol Annies.
Among celebrity birthdays today: Movie director Brian De Palma is 73. Drummer Mickey Hart is 70. Actor Scott Patterson is 55. Actress Virginia Madsen is 52. Musician Moby is 48. Singer Harry Connick Jr. is 46. Actress Taraji P. Henson is 43. Rapper Ludacris is 36.