Roger Ebert is one of the most respected film critics in the entertainment industry who’s known for his brutally honest reviews. The 67 year old hit a rough patch a few years ago when he was diagnosed with cancer, which caused him to leave his long running series “Ebert and Roeper” to concentrate on his health. Despite the complications from the disease and the surgeries, Ebert still continues to work even though he can no longer speak.
Almost four years ago Ebert lost his ability to speak when he went in for a life saving tracheotomy to combat a cancerous thyroid. But it wasn’t just one procedure that took his voice, he’s had multiple including one for his salivary glands and the removal of his jaw. He appears in a recent issue of Esquire magazine to discuss how he stays positive and relevant in the industry even with his vocal limitations.
Ebert communicates through a computer which recites a voice after he types in his responses. He also claims that “he’s developed a kind of rudimentary sign language, and he sometimes draws letters with his finger on the palm of his hand.” Under such circumstances he still manages to write reviews, and run a blog. Ebert has been a critic for the Chicago-Sun Times since 1967, and he became the first journalist to win the Pulitzer Prize for criticism back in 1975.
He may not be able to communicate vocally, but his reviews haven’t lost their bite. Who can forget his scathing criticism of Transformers Revenge of the Fallen last year? He’s still in the game and his feisty attitude and lust for life will keep him in it for as long as he wants.
Were you aware of Ebert’s health issues? Do you see him as an inspiration for others who’ve had similar setbacks?