Respectful Insolence

Ever wonder what happened to Roger Ebert?

Ever wonder what happened to Roger Ebert, who has been absent from the balcony in his Ebert & Roeper Show for quite some time battling cancer?

So did I. I always liked his style and mostly agreed with his movie reviews, but since moving away from Chicago I haven’t heard much or watched the show as much, given that it never seems to be on when I’m around to watch TV. Well, wonder no more:

My Ninth Annual Overlooked Film Festival opens Wednesday night at the University of Illinois at Urbana, and Chaz and I will be in attendance.

This year I won’t be speaking, however, as I await another surgery.

I have received a lot of advice that I should not attend the festival. I’m told that paparazzi will take unflattering pictures, people will be unkind, etc.

Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn. As a journalist I can take it as well as dish it out.

So let’s talk turkey. What will I look like? To paraphrase a line from “Raging Bull,” I ain’t a pretty boy no more. (Not that I ever was. The original appeal of “Siskel & Ebert” was that we didn’t look like we belonged on TV.)

What happened was, cancer of the salivary gland spread to my right lower jaw. A segment of the mandible was removed. Two operations to replace the missing segment were unsuccessful, both leading to unanticipated bleeding.

A tracheostomy was necessary so, for the time being, I cannot speak.

I like his attitude–good and feisty:

I was told photos of me in this condition would attract the gossip papers. So what?

I have been very sick, am getting better and this is how it looks. I still have my brain and my typing fingers.

[…]

We spend too much time hiding illness. There is an assumption that I must always look the same. I hope to look better than I look now. But I’m not going to miss my festival.

It sounds as though he had a particularly nasty cancer of the salivary gland. By definition, because the tumor invaded his jaw, Roger Ebert has stage IVA or IVB cancer. Here’s hoping he manages to beat the odds.

Comments

  1. #1 ordinarygirl
    April 26, 2007

    I’ve been watching Ebert & Roeper the past couple of weeks and I noticed he hasn’t been on. Thanks for posting the interview. I hope he is able to beat the odds.

    Why oh why, did they have John Cougar Mellencamp fill in for him last week? Dear old John only had good things to say about all of the movies. You can’t be a critic if you never are able to criticize.

    I personally like Roeper’s opinions more, but I prefer to have the two together, battling it out with great quips and comments between them.

  2. #2 Stephen
    April 26, 2007

    You can’t be a critic if you never are able to criticize.

    False. I want a critic to tell me if there are enough good things about the art. I can endure alot of crap if there are enough good things. I don’t get it if all they do is criticize. That’s probably why my own book reviews are mostly positive. The hard bit is relating the good stuff without giving everything away.

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