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Roger Ebert – You Inspire Us

I just finished watching (no actually sobbing my way through) an extremely witty and moving talk on “Roger Ebert: Remaking my voice”.   Which featured film critic Roger Ebert and his wife, Chaz, friends Dean Ornish and John Hunter, who came together to tell his incredible story.   Ebert lost his lower jaw to thyroid cancer and as a result lost the ability to eat and speak. But he did not; as he reminds you, lose his voice.

During this delightful and enlightening 19 minute conversation on Ebert talked (yes, talked through his computer voice “Alex” and through his companions all three extremely eloquent themselves), about his many surgeries and setbacks that he experienced which ultimately resulted in him losing the lower part of his jaw. (Also available in a very worthwhile article at at Esquire magazine).  It was the internet  – his blog, Twitter, and Facebook amongst other world wide web tools that gave him a new voice for his film work and his effervescent lively thoughts on just about everything. In recent times, he has tried his hand as an Amazon affiliate, he’s become a finalist in the New Yorker caption contest, and he’s even started a controversy or two (Our very own Techwalla has also got involved in the lively “Can video games be art” debate). He’s also developing a new computer-aided voice based on the tens of thousands of hours of captured audio from his TV work.

Any way you cut it, Roger Ebert is a legend.  Born June 1942 Roger Joseph Ebert is not only one of the best known American film pundits and screenwriters, but the first film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize for Criticism in 1975; A dream moviewallas can only aspire to.  Best known for his film review column (appearing in the Chicago Sun-Times since 1967, and later online) and for the television programs  he co hosted with fellow movie buff Gene Siskel for a combined 23 years the disagreements between the two were often legendary and very popular.   Following Siskel’s death in 1999, Ebert teamed with Richard Roeper for the television series “Ebert & Roeper & the Movies”, which began airing in 2000. Although his name remained in the title, Ebert did not appear on the show after mid-2006, when he suffered post-surgical complications related to thyroid cancer that left him unable to speak. Ebert ended his association with the show in July 2008 but in February 2009 he stated that he and Roeper would continue their work on a new show. Ebert’s current show, “Ebert Presents at the Movies”, premiered on January 21, 2011, with Ebert appearing in a brief segment called “Roger’s Office”.  Ebert’s movie reviews are syndicated to more than 200 newspapers in the United States and worldwide. He has written more than 15 books, including his annual movie yearbook which is primarily a collection of his reviews of that year.


As I sit here with my own computer gathering my thoughts in time for our next podcast, two things strike me most; firstly, Ebert’s passion for doing what he does and just how gifted he is with words and secondly, his beautiful wife who seems to be his rock and seems to give him no slack.  After all, why should she, this man is a razor edged master of language who could probably describe a Picasso to you with his pen – Mr. Ebert, you inspire us in so many ways., thanks for making this available to us.  Fellow Moviewallas, I urge you to watch this TED2011 Roger Ebert


One Response to “Roger Ebert – You Inspire Us”

  • Yazdi:

    Great piece, Rashmi. You know how i feel about this man.

    There is nobody I respect more than Roger Ebert. It is as simple as that. Not just as a film critic, but as a writer. And as a human being who stands by his beliefs. And who faces personal adversity with gumption and grace without the slightest shred of self-pity. To read his blogs, is to get to know a friend you have never met. In my relatively recent past, I have been thinking that I want to be like Ebert when I grow up.

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