I’m sure you’ve all heard heard that universally-loved film critic Roger Ebert passed away today, in Chicago, a few days after revealing that cancer had returned to his body.
He was 70 years old.
I spent the last several hours watching video clips of his reviews, and interviews on YouTube, from his days with the late Gene Siskel, on their immensely popular, ground-breaking film review show, to his most recent conversations since he lost his jaw to complications from thyroid cancer treatment, in 2006, stripping him of his ability to talk, eat and drink.
You’ll find a plethora of obituaries online currently, so instead of writing yet another one, I thought I’d instead let the man speak for himself; And after going through countless videos, I settled on 2 that I found the most emotionally stirring, but also indicative of his fighting spirit even as he battled with the illness that would eventually take his life.
The first is from his appearance on the Oprah Winfrey show in early 2010, in which he appeared with his wife, Chaz Hammelsmith Ebert, when he revealed that he was officially cancer-free, although he’d already lost his jaw. Oprah’s cameras tagged along on a typical day for Roger and Chaz – footage that’s intercut with the loving couple on stage with Oprah, in conversation.
It’s all quite touching to watch.
The second is from 2011, when the film critic gave a moving TED talk, with his wife, Chaz, as well as friends, Dean Ornish and John Hunter, present, as they came together to tell his remarkable story of how he lost his voice, and how he would eventually get it back again.
First, his appearance on Oprah (in 2 parts):
And here’s the TED talk: