Critic Joel Siegel Dead at 63

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Sad news kicking off the weekend, that ABC film critic Joel Siegel has passed away from colon cancer at the age of 63. Siegel, known for his quips and puns, especially about movies he didn't like, also published a book a few years ago called Lessons for Dylan: From Father to Son, after he found out that he was going to be a first-time father at the age of 57 -- and that he might not live long enough to see his son be born.

Siegel's colleague at ABC, Bill Blakemore, writes in a piece paying homage to Siegel that the critic battled his cancer with "astonishing courage and humor," making Blakemore and other colleagues laugh in an elevator just two weeks ago by quipping that the number of penguin movies being made would soon "outnumber the penguins themselves."

Siegel made waves almost a year ago when he walked out of Kevin Smith's film Clerks 2, loudly complaining about the film -- and sparking a raving feud between himself and Smith that started when Smith posted about the walkout on his blog. The two famously ended up debating each other about Siegel's walkout live on CBS radio's "Opie and Anthony Show," when Siegel told Smith, "If you'd like an apology, I'm glad to apologize. This was indeed the first movie I've walked out on in 30 years. If there's a second movie I walk out on, I'll be much quieter."

Courtesy of The Reeler (with a hat tip to Movie City News for the pointer there), here's Siegel reviewing a stage version of Stephen King's horror novel Carrie -- Carrie: The Musical (has there ever been a worse idea for an adaptation?) -- which features Siegel deadpanning a dreadful song from the play ("It's a simple little gig, you help me kill a pig, and I've got some uses for the blood -- Pig, pig! Blood, blood!"). Hard to believe he sat through that play from start to finish (the costumes and choreography are as bad as the lyrics), but found Clerks 2 too much to stomach -- but it's an entertaining review nonetheless, and typical of Siegel's style.

We at Cinematical send our condolences to Siegel's wife and young son, and all the friends and colleagues who knew him well and loved him for his humor and grace.
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