Just one day after his 46th anniversary at The Chicago Sun Times, Roger Ebert died after a long battle with cancer. Monday, he posted to his blog, announcing that he was taking a “leave of presence”, stating that his recent hip injury revealed cancer. The majority of his final post outlined his future plans, and his decision to move away from reviewing so many movies so he could branch out into other media projects. Ebert felt it was time to slow down a little, since last year had been the busiest in his career with 306 reviews in addition to regularly posting to his highly popular blog.
In spite of losing part of lower jaw to cancer in 2006, which left him unable to speak or eat, Ebert remained in the public eye. That ended his 31 year tenure on television, but he continued on with his writing. His “two thumbs up” trademark that he brought to television with Chicago Tribune movie critic Gene Siskel remains in movie vernacular to this day.
As for Ebert’s views on politics, he offered the following in his memoirs:
“‘Kindness’ covers all of my political beliefs,” he wrote, at the end of his memoirs. “No need to spell them out. I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn’t always know this and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.”
Roger Joseph Ebert, the son of Walter and Annabel Ebert, was born on June 18, 1942. He is survived by his wife Chaz Hammelsmith, a step-daughter, and two step-grandchildren.