Gene Shalit, the 88-year-old film critic, left the 'Today Show' this morning (11th November 2010) after a 40-year-reign on the program. Shalit, known for his witty puns, 'electrified' hair, and bushy moustache, received a fitting tribute on the show which included a taped video segment of his career highlights.
However, as the tribute video came to an end, Shalit wasn't in the studio, and host Matt Lauer explained to viewers that the critic was such a humble man that he didn't want to do 'the long goodbye' and therefore chose not to feature in his own tribute episode. The celebration of Shalit's career included tributes from the likes of TOM BROKAW, Jane Pauley, Katie Couric and WILLIARD SCOTT.
On announcing that he would be leaving the show, Shalit said in a statement, "It's enough already", before explaining that he would use his spare time to 'pursue other activities' such as publishing, radio, and commercials. The critic originally joined the Today Show as a contributor in 1970, before replacing JOE GARAGIOLA on the desk in 1973.