On the first anniversary of Roger Ebert‘s death, the website that bears his name has gathered a collection of essays on his influence. Here, site contributors Glenn Kenny, Susan Wlosczyna, Christy Lemire, Odie Henderson and others pay tribute in writing; here, Nell Minow, Ali Arikan, Brian Tallerico and Sam Fragoso do it with images. But two take an especially personal tack.
In “My Year Without Roger,” Ebert’s widow, Chaz, reflects on the year since his “transition,” including the emotional premiere of Steve James’ documentary, “Life Itself,” at Sundance. And Matt Zoller Seitz, the editor of RogerEbert.com, shares “the most important thing Roger taught me.” It came, he explains, via an unsolicited email that arrived at a particularly desperate time in his life:
At that point, sometime in fall of 2010, I’d been a widowed single parent for four-and-a-half years. I was thinking of giving up on journalism and filmmaking both. The economy had cratered two years earlier and showed no signs of recovery. Journalism was hit hard. I hadn’t held a full-time media job since 2006. Decently compensated writing and film editing gigs were so rare that I’d begun looking into other lines of work, applying for jobs as a limo driver, a supermarket checker, an associate media professor, and a counselor for at-risk youth. I’d also inquired about becoming an apprentice plumber, because I knew that even if journalism jobs dried up there would always be work for people who knew how to unclog pipes.