Roger Ebert, the celebrated film critic, has passed away at age 70. Though active as a critic and pundit to the very end, Ebert had battled thyroid cancer since 2002, and lost his voice in 2006 following surgical complications.
Just yesterday, Ebert, who reviewed thousands of movies across his career as a columnist at the Chicago Sun-Times and the host of several television programs, had announced he was taking "leave of presence" from his popular blog on the Sun-Times website. His last line: "So on this day of reflection I say again, thank you for going on this journey with me. I'll see you at the movies."
Siskel and Ebert Promo Outtake: "McDonald's"
In this outtake from a 1987 promo recording, Ebert and his longtime cohost Gene Siskel bicker after Siskel can't land his lines: "Did you know for Gene, speech is a second language?" Ebert asks. "Roger's first language is, 'Yes, I'll have apple pie with my order.'"
Ebert on How He Would Like to Be Remembered
In 2005, Ebert was interviewed by the Archive of American Television, which asked him how he would like to be remembered. They've reposted his answer: "I would like to be remembered as a guy who really loved the movies... and wanted to share his enthusiasm."
Roger Ebert's New Voice
In 2006, Ebert lost his voice thanks to complications from surgery for his thyroid cancer. But thanks to his years hosting his TV show—and more importantly, the many DVD commentaries he'd done—he had a wealth of high-quality recordings of him speaking, which were used to create a custom text-to-speech software that used his own voice.