Legendary Film Critic, Writer, & Historian Roger Ebert Passes On
He had so much to do, so many plans left unsewed due to the cruelty of time and it’s limitations, gravity and the trickling sand. Just yesterday, Roger Ebert posted a note of thanks and an update to his many admirers on the Sun-Times’ blog. Some of the people who doubtlessly helped to gave this man strength and fire and longevity.
In that update, Ebert wrote about becoming a film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times exactly 46 years ago. He spoke about Kickstarting a return for At the Movies — the review show that so many of us grew up on, the show that taught us to fall in love with both film and the majesty of forceful and smart debate, and the thing that made film criticism accessible and viable.
In, what is now his last known public communication, Ebert also spoke about his wife and constant companion Chaz, his film festival, his newly discovered cancer and how he was taking a “leave of presence” to cut back and focus on only the reviews that he wanted to write.
“On bad days I may write about the vulnerability that accompanies illness. On good days, I may wax ecstatic about a movie so good it transports me beyond illness.”
I would have loved to read that, all of that, but we’ll never get the chance.
Ebert wasn’t shy about his illness or his opinions, opening his home and his life up to Esquire’s Chris Jones for what amounts to one of the finest and most heart reaming contemporary profiles I have ever read.
In that interview, we learned about the war that had picked Ebert apart, a war that wages against us all, but one that was waged against him with impudence. We also learned how Ebert — a Pulitzer Prize winner in 1975 — pushed back and re-found his other voice via the written word. A lifeline for him and a gift for us.
Sadly, that seemingly endless flood of words from his pen and his keys have come to an end now. An end to that, and the end of a great love affair with film and a great love affair with knowledge.
All that remains now is legacy and the hope that those words live on and become everlasting. All that remains now, is the impact of the influence that Roger Ebert had on generations of people who are so moved by the big screen’s glimmer and spectacle; so moved that they just can’t shut the hell up about it.
The balcony is closed, rest in peace Mr. Ebert.