Thumbs up

Cynthia Bowers of CBS’s ‘Sunday Morning’ has an inspiring piece on Roger Ebert, the famed film critic who lost his voice to cancer three years ago. 

A snip:

CBS Photo

He’s been called America’s movie critic. For more than four decades, Roger Ebert has guided our choices at the box office.

His syndicated newspaper column and trademark “thumbs up/thumbs down” routine with TV partner Gene Siskel were legendary.

But now that famous voice has been silenced.

“Do you remember what your last spoken words were?” asked Bowers.

“No, because I didn’t know they would be my last words, or I would have written something great,” Ebert replied.

For the past three years, Ebert has been talking via a computer voice that speaks what he types.

His lower jaw is gone, ravaged by cancer that nearly killed him.

“Are you able to talk in your dreams?” Bowers asked.

“Everything is fine in my dreams. I talk all I want. Life is normal,” he said. “Sometimes in a dream I will remember that I can’t speak, but then suddenly I can speak again.”

Ebert could surely never have dreamed this storyline for his life when he began at the Chicago Sun-Times back in 1967. His elegant style and wit quickly made his movie reviews must-reads.

And what makes a movie great to Roger Ebert?

“I feel it,” he replied. “It fills me with joy for its greatness. When I experience it, I sometimes even feel a tingle in my spine. Honestly, it’s an almost spiritual feeling.”

America’s movie critic is back. He sees as many as ten films a week and debuts a new version of his TV show later this month. And instead of shying away from the public and the way he looks, Roger is embracing it.

“I said, ‘The hell with it – this is how I look,'” he said. “People with problems like mine should get on with their lives and not hide because of it. I don’t want to look this way, but I do, so please don’t make it your problem.”

Much more – including video clips – here.

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About George P. Matysek Jr.

George P. Matysek Jr. is the assistant managing editor of The Catholic Review in Baltimore. View all posts by George P. Matysek Jr.

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