On Thursday 4th April 2013, Roger Ebert passed away after an eleven-year long battle with cancer.
As the most recognisable, lauded and influential film critics of all time, seeing the constant salutations and kind words flutter through my Twitter feed about this man’s passing is genuinely moving. It also highlights his multi-disclipinary significance, being adored by filmmakers, critics, and purveyors of culture across the board.
One of the most harrowing elements to this unforgettable day is it’s grave timing. Only a few hours before leaving this here earthly plane, Ebert took to his Chicago Sun Times blog to tell his thousands of fans that he would be culling his writing activity to focus on spending time with his family. Right up until the bitter end, he had his humour in spades, calling this a ‘leave of presence’, rather than an ending. While his time here has come to an end, we can all fortunately rejoice that Ebert left his legend with us, which includes a hefty handful of excellent film history books, a memoir, and forty years worth of film reviews. All are available from his Sun Times’ homepage right now.
Let us not wallow in the tragedy, it’s hardly Ebert style. All I’ll finish with saying is that, above and beyond any other writer, Ebert has had a profoundly crucial role in my career choices. Aside from his idiosyncratic, experiential writing style, you just knew he was so damn passionate about going to the movies and candidly telling his captive audience exactly what he thought. I was one among many who were happy to listen.