Roger Ebert Faces Cancer Recurrence, Will Take a "Leave of Presence"
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Roger Ebert Faces Cancer Recurrence, Will Take a "Leave of Presence"

By Dustin Rowles | Trade News | April 3, 2013 | Comments ()


Roger Ebert, who has never been a more prolific writer in his life than after cancer cost him his jaw, as well as his ability to eat and speak naturally, will be taking a "leave of presence" due to a recurrence of cancer. Ebert, who wrote over 300 reviews last year, in addition to once or twice weekly blog posts, will be handing off some of his responsibilities on Ebert Digital (the relaunched to others, slowing his reviewing responsibilities for the Chicago Sun Times, and dealing with his illness, of which he intends to blog about.

The immediate reason for my "leave of presence" is my health. The "painful fracture" that made it difficult for me to walk has recently been revealed to be a cancer. It is being treated with radiation, which has made it impossible for me to attend as many movies as I used to. I have been watching more of them on screener copies that the studios have been kind enough to send to me. My friend and colleague Richard Roeper and other critics have stepped up and kept the newspaper and website current with reviews of all the major releases. So we have and will continue to go on.

At this point in my life, in addition to writing about movies, I may write about what it's like to cope with health challenges and the limitations they can force upon you. It really stinks that the cancer has returned and that I have spent too many days in the hospital. So 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.

Jesus, this guy has been through the wringer. At 70 years old, facing another battle with cancer, you just have to respect the hell out of the guy for continuing at all to write, to watch movies, and run a business. Best of luck to Mr. Ebert and hopefully to a very speed recovery.

(Chicago Sun Times)

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • ,

    That was quick, mercifully.

    RIP Roger. Time to watch "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls," perhaps.

    Though probably not.

  • Rest in peace and a thumb WAY up to you, Mr. Ebert. You and Mr. Siskel were the ones that first taught me about movies.

  • Melissa D

    I have loved reading his work for years, particularly since he lost the ability to speak. There's a reason why he's the only movie critic to win a Pulitzer; what a rare talent he had. Mr Ebert, you touched my heart.

  • petrino

    RIP roger, see you at the movies.

  • DeltaJuliet

    He must really love what he does to continue to do it so prolifically. Poor guy. Cancer blows.

  • Slash

    Damn, that sucks. Best of luck to him.

  • ,

    I had a little cancer once, one of the easy ones that was removed with surgery, and I had a couple doses of mild chemo to go with it. It wasn't bad, but it was still uncomfortable enough that if I ever got the real deal I'd have to at least think about pitching myself headfirst down the stairs, especially if I were 70 years old and had to try to summon the strength and the courage to go on living. The only concern would be that the fall wouldn't prove fatal, and I'd have to live a few more years strapped to a bed. I imagine this is what keeps a lot of people from considering doing the same.

    I don't know how far down in the well people like Roger here, people who ALREADY know too well what a bitch they're facing, have to dip to find that reservoir of strength and courage, or why they would, but here's to those who do. I'm not sure I'd have it in me. One thing I know from having lived 55 years: There are lots worse things than dying. LOTS worse.

  • I can't even imagine having to battle through it again after all he's been through. Thank the heavens that he has an incredibly supporting and loving family, especially his devoted wife Chaz. No matter what happens to him at least he had the unconditional love of an angel of a wife and he understands that.

  • Untamed

    I'm one of Roger's long time readers. I started reading his reviews when I was just a teen and have passionately disagreed with him almost as often as I have agreed. But the quality of his writing, the depth of knowledge as well as humanity he brings to what he has to say, is second to none. I'd rather read a Roger Ebert review, even if I once again disagree, than most others. I'm happy to say that I've written to him over time and said all of this and more, but it bears repeating in a public forum.

  • Stephen Nein

    "But the quality of his writing, the depth of knowledge as well as humanity he brings to what he has to say, is second to none."

    What I consider tragic is that I think Robert's gifts came into full flower after Gene Siskel's loss to brain cancer. Until then, I considered Ebert a willing hack, overlooking art for profit and catering to the lower common denominator.

  • Untamed

    Why you would think I'm the appropriate audience to you saying Roger Ebert was ever a hack, I can not fathom.

  • Stephen Nein

    You're assuming too much, special snowflake.

    It's called discussion. Whatever Ebert's legacy & circumstance now, I refuse to sugarcoat opinion. It's how sterling characters like Bill Effing Clinton become the Big Dog.

  • Untamed

    I'm not assuming anything. You didn't place your remark in it's own thread, but in response to mine. I have no illusions about Roger Ebert. I know, for instance, that he was once a raging alcoholic and wrote many a review either drunk or hung over. What I'm arguing is his command of written expression, and artistic level of critique. Roger keeps it real, but never compromises intelligence.

  • the dude

    Whose reviews will I trust now? Armond White's?

  • BWeaves

    Shit. I really like Roger Ebert, ever since I started watching Sneak Previews a millennium ago. This sucks.

  • zeke_the_pig

    Best of luck indeed. Though I sometimes disagree with Ebert, I always love his writing. Get well soon, Roger.

  • gnibs

    Best of luck to you, Mr. Ebert. Your commentary and criticism was the main catalyst to broaden my interest in what has become one of the great loves of my life; the movies.

  • Bridget Joyce Boyle

    f**k Cancer. So many people I know are being stopped by it

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