Colon Cancer Kills Film Critic Joel Siegel

Film critic Joel Siegel presents the award for "Best Picture" onstage during the 11th Annual Critics' Choice Awards held at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium on January 9, 2006 in Santa Monica, Calif. Getty Images/Kevin Winter

Film critic Joel Siegel has died Friday in New York at the age of 63, WCBS-TV New York reports.

Siegel, best known as the resident movie critic on ABC's "Good Morning America" for 25 years, was surrounded by family and friends as he passed away after a long battle with colon cancer.

He continued working almost until the end of his life without losing his cheerful personality and trademark wit, a colleague writes on the network's Web site.

"Still at work only two weeks before his death," writes Bill Blakemore of ABC News, "he had this reporter and several others chortling in an elevator over a line he was about to broadcast about there being so many new penguin movies lately that soon they would outnumber the penguins themselves."

Siegel was born on July 7, 1943, in Los Angeles where he grew up and graduated cum laude from UCLA. He started his career as a radio newscaster and reviewed books for the Los Angeles Times. He also worked as a freelance writer for Rolling Stone and Sports Illustrated and as a joke writer for Senator Robert Kennedy. Siegel worked as a copywriter for an advertising agency where he actually invented ice cream flavors for Baskin-Robbins.

He moved to New York in 1972 where he was a feature reporter for WCBS-TV. He also hosted "Joel Siegel's New York" on WCBS Radio.

Siegel began working as a film and theater critic on WABC-TV in 1976. He joined "Good Morning America" in 1981.

Funeral arrangements are currently being planned by his family.
  • Judy Faber

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