Film audiences have lost perhaps their greatest champion. Roger Ebert died of cancer yesterday at the age of 70, days after announcing his “leave of presence” from his duties at the Chicago Sun-Times and his online enterprises because of the disease’s unexpected return. I have no personal recollections of the man and can’t say anything here about him that hasn’t been said better elsewhere by his friends, family, and fellow film critics. There is a lot to say about the life of Roger Ebert, and it is being expressed eloquently today.
One of the best articles I had read recently about Ebert, his life, and his struggles with cancer was published in 2010 in Esquire magazine, and it is still remarkable for the stunning photograph of the mandible-less Ebert, living intelligence playing about his eyes. Ebert himself took issue with the writer’s assertion that “Ebert is dying in increments, and he is aware of it,” but Ebert also acknowledged the need for dramatic license in telling the story.
Rest in peace, Roger. Thank you for all you did to guide my appreciation of film over the years. I hope the last book you read was a good one.