Sad news last week about the passing of Joel Siegel, ABC News’ longtime film critic, at the age of 63 after a struggle with colon cancer. “Good Morning America” plans to devote the second hour of Monday’s telecast to a tribute to Siegel, who delivered weekly film reviews for the morning show for 26 years, on top of logging a more than 30-year stint on WABC-TV New York. “GMA” alumni Charles Gibson, David Hartman, Joan Lunden and Spencer Christian will make guest appearances on the hour, and it’s expected that various actors and filmmakers will contribute taped pieces commenting on Siegel’s work, per ABC.
Beyond his work as a critic, Siegel led an eclectic life, working as everything from a flavor-inventor for Baskin Robbins to a joke writer for Robert F. Kennedy. He was an eyewitness to history in 1968 when he accompanied the senator from New York to his fateful visit to L.A.’s Ambassador Hotel. He wrote the Tony-nominated Broadway play “The First,” about Jackie Robinson, and when he was diagnosed with cancer six years ago, shortly after learning that he was to become a father for the first time, he penned a book of stories, “Lessons for Dylan: From Father to Son,” he wanted to pass on to his son and wife, artist Ena Swansea. Monday’s tribute ought to be an interesting and emotional hour of live television.