The legendary film critic Roger Ebert has died aged 70.
Here’s what you need to know…
1. He Had Been Battling Cancer for Many Years
Over the past ten years Ebert was suffered from and was treated for salivary gland cancer, thyroid cancer and cancer of the jawbone. The complications from his thyroid cancer in 2006 resulted in him losing his voice.
His health had meant that for the first time he missed the Sundance Film Festival in 2013. It was expected that he would take some time off from writing after he discovered that a hip injury had become cancerous.
His health was the subject of a discussion on NBC’s daytime medical show The Doctors:
In an article entitled: How I Gave Oprah Her Start, Ebert wrote that he encouraged Oprah to make the leap and put her show into syndication.
7. He was a Recovering Alcoholic
Ebert wrote in a detailed column on his sobriety that he has been sober since 1979 and was a believer in the AA 12 step program.
In 2011, he was forced to apologized for an insensitive tweet he sent out regarding the drunk-driving death of Jackass star Ryan Dunn.
8. He Wrote One Movie
It’s an anthology of stock situations, characters, dialogue, clichés and stereotypes, set to music and manipulated to work as exposition and satire at the same time; it’s cause and effect, a wind-up machine to generate emotions, pure movie without message. The strange thing about the movie is that it continues to play successfully to completely different audiences for different reasons. When Meyer and I were hired a few years later to work on an ill-fated Sex Pistols movie called “Who Killed Bambi?” we were both a little nonplussed, I think, to hear Johnny Rotten explain that he liked “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls” because it was so true to life.
9. His Favorite Movie was La Dolce Vita
Ebert wrote about Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita:
I’ve seen it, oh, at least 25 times, maybe more. It doesn’t get old for me. Age has not withered, not custom staled, its infinite variety. I’ve grown so worked up just writing this paragraph that I want to slide in the DVD and start watching immediately.
And in another writing:
Movies do not change, but their viewers do. When I saw “La Dolce Vita” in 1960, I was an adolescent for whom “the sweet life” represented everything I dreamed of: sin, exotic European glamour, the weary romance of the cynical newspaperman. When I saw it again, around 1970, I was living in a version of Marcello’s world; Chicago’s North Avenue was not the Via Veneto, but at 3 a.m. the denizens were just as colorful, and I was about Marcello’s age.
10. He is Survived by his Wife Charlie ‘Chaz’ Hammel-Smith
His wife was committed to maintaining his online presence in his retirement. Ebert wrote about his wife:
She fills my horizon, she is the great fact of my life, she has my love, she saved me from the fate of living out my life alone, which is where I seemed to be heading. If my cancer had come, and it would have, and Chaz had not been there with me, I can imagine a descent into lonely decrepitude. I was very sick. I might have vegetated in hopelessness. This woman never lost her love, and when it was necessary she forced me to want to live. She was always there believing I could do it, and her love was like a wind forcing me back from the grave.