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Lettris is a curious tetris-clone game where all the bricks have the same square shape but different content. Each square carries a letter. To make squares disappear and save space for other squares you have to assemble English words (left, right, up, down) from the falling squares.
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Ebert and his wife Chaz Hammelsmith Ebert (left) give the thumbs up to Nancy Kwan (right) at the Hawaii International Film Festival on October 20, 2010.
|Born||Roger Joseph Ebert
June 18, 1942
Urbana, Illinois, U.S.
|Occupation||Author, journalist, film historian, film critic, screenwriter|
|Education||Urbana High School,
Illinois High School Association
|Alma mater||University of Chicago,
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
|Notable work(s)||The Great Movies; The Great Movies II; Beyond the Valley of the Dolls|
|Notable award(s)||Pulitzer Prize for film criticism|
(July 18, 1992 – present)
Ebert is known for his film review column (appearing in the Chicago Sun-Times since 1967, and later online) and for the television programs Sneak Previews, At the Movies with Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, and Siskel and Ebert and The Movies, all of which he co-hosted for a combined 23 years with Gene Siskel. After Siskel's death in 1999, Ebert teamed with Richard Roeper for the television series Ebert & Roeper & the Movies, which began airing in 2000. Although his name remained in the title, Ebert did not appear on the show after mid-2006 after he suffered post-surgical complications related to thyroid cancer, leaving him unable to speak. Ebert ended his association with the show in July 2008, but in February 2009 he stated that he and Roeper would continue their work on a new show. Ebert's most recent show, Ebert Presents: At the Movies, premiered on January 21, 2011, with Ebert contributing a review voiced by someone else in a brief segment called "Roger's Office". It is no longer in production.
He has written more than 15 books, including his annual movie yearbook which is predominantly a collection of his reviews of that year. In 1975, Ebert became the first film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize. His television programs have been widely syndicated and have been nominated for Emmy awards. In February 1995, a section of Chicago's Erie Street near the CBS Studios was renamed Siskel & Ebert Way. In June 2005, Ebert was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He was the first professional film critic to receive such an award. He has honorary degrees from the University of Colorado, the AFI Conservatory, and in 2007 the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Forbes described him as "the most powerful pundit in America". As of 2010, Ebert's movie reviews are syndicated in more than 200 newspapers in the United States and worldwide by Universal Press Syndicate.
Since 1996, he has written a Great Movies series of individual reviews of what he deems to be the most important films of all time. This list and his associated reviews have now expanded to include over 300 movies. Since 1999, he has hosted the annual Roger Ebert's Film Festival in Champaign, Illinois.
Roger Joseph Ebert was born in Urbana, Illinois, the son of Walter H. Ebert, an electrician, and Annabel Ebert. His paternal grandparents were German immigrants and his maternal ancestry is Dutch and Irish. Ebert's interest in journalism began as a student at Urbana High School, where he was a sports writer for The News-Gazette in Champaign, Illinois; however, he began his writing career with letters of comment to the science fiction fanzines of the era. He became involved in science fiction fandom, writing articles for fanzines, including Richard A. Lupoff's Xero. In his senior year, he was co-editor of his high school newspaper, The Echo. In 1958, Ebert won the Illinois High School Association state speech championship in Radio Speaking, an event that simulates radio newscasts.
Regarding his early influences in film critiquing, Ebert wrote in the 1998 parody collection Mad About the Movies:
Ebert began taking classes at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as an early entrance student, completing his high school courses while also taking his first university class.  After graduation from Urbana High School in 1960, Ebert then attended and received his undergraduate degree. While at the University of Illinois, Ebert worked as a reporter for the The Daily Illini and then served as its editor during his senior year while also continuing to work as a reporter for the News-Gazette of Champagne-Urbana, Illinois (he had begun at the News-Gazette at age 15 covering Urbana High School sports). As an undergraduate, he was a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity and president of the U.S. Student Press Association at Illinois. One of the first movie reviews he ever wrote was a review of La Dolce Vita, published in The Daily Illini in October 1961.
After receiving his undergraduate degree from Illinois in 1964, Ebert spent a semester as a master's student in the department of English there before attending the University of Cape Town in South Africa on a Rotary fellowship for a year. He returned from Cape Town to his graduate studies at Illinois for two more semesters and then, after being accepted as a PhD candidate at the University of Chicago, he prepared to move to Chicago. He needed a job to support himself while he worked on his doctorate and so applied to the Chicago Daily News, hoping that since he had already sold freelance pieces to the Daily News, including an article on the death of writer Brendan Behan, that he would be hired by editor Herman Kogan. Instead Kogan referred Ebert to the city editor at the Chicago Sun-Times, Jim Hoge, who hired Ebert as a reporter and feature writer at the Sun-Times in 1966. Ebert attended doctoral classes at the University of Chicago while working as a general reporter at the Sun-Times for a year. After movie critic Eleanor Keane left the Sun-Times in April 1967, editor Robert Zonk gave the job to Ebert. The load of graduate school and being a film critic proved too much, so Ebert left University of Chicago to focus his energies on reporting.
Ebert began his professional critic career in 1967, writing for the Chicago Sun-Times. That same year, Ebert's first book, a history of the University of Illinois titled Illini Century: One Hundred Years of Campus Life was published by the University's press.
Ebert co-wrote the screenplay for the 1970 Russ Meyer film Beyond the Valley of the Dolls and likes to joke about being responsible for the film, which was poorly received on its release but is now regarded as a cult classic. Ebert and Meyer also made Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens, Up!, and others, and were involved in the ill-fated Sex Pistols movie Who Killed Bambi? In April 2010, Ebert posted his screenplay of "Who Killed Bambi?" aka "Anarchy in the UK" on his blog.
Since the 1970s, Ebert has worked for the University of Chicago as a guest lecturer, teaching a night class on film. His fall 2005 class was on the works of the German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder.
In 1975, Ebert and Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune began co-hosting a weekly film review television show, Sneak Previews, which was locally produced by the Chicago public broadcasting station WTTW. The show was picked up by PBS in 1978 for national distribution. In 1982, the critics moved to a syndicated commercial television show named At the Movies with Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, and in 1986 they left to create Siskel & Ebert & The Movies with Buena Vista Television (part of the Walt Disney Company). The duo was known for their "thumbs up/thumbs down" review summaries. When Siskel died in 1999, the producers retitled the show Roger Ebert & the Movies with rotating co-hosts. In September 2000, fellow Chicago Sun-Times columnist Richard Roeper became the permanent co-host and the show was renamed At the Movies with Ebert & Roeper.
Ebert ended his association with Disney in July 2008, after the studio indicated they wished to take At the Movies in a new direction. He and Gene Siskel's widow, Marlene Iglitzen Siskel, still own the trademark phrase "Two Thumbs Up." On February 18, 2009, Ebert reported that he and Roeper would soon announce a new movie review program. Ebert reiterated this plan after Disney announced the last episode of the program would air in August 2010.
Ebert stated in his August 18, 2010 "Answer Man" column that he was writing his memoirs.
|This section relies on references to primary sources or sources affiliated with the subject, rather than references from independent authors and third-party publications. Please add citations from reliable sources. (December 2010)|
Ebert has described his critical approach to films as "relative, not absolute"; he reviews a film for what he feels will be its prospective audience, yet always with at least some consideration as to its value as a whole. He awards four stars to films of the highest quality, and generally a half star to those of the lowest unless he considers the film to be "artistically inept" and/or "morally repugnant", in which case it will receive no stars.
When you ask a friend if Hellboy is any good, you're not asking if it's any good compared to Mystic River, you're asking if it's any good compared to The Punisher. And my answer would be, on a scale of one to four, if Superman is four, then Hellboy is three and The Punisher is two. In the same way, if American Beauty gets four stars, then The United States of Leland clocks in at about two.
Ebert has emphasized that his star ratings have little meaning if not considered in the context of the review itself. Occasionally (as in his review of Basic Instinct 2), Ebert's star rating may seem at odds with his written opinion. Ebert has acknowledged such cases, stating, "I cannot recommend the movie, but ... why the hell can't I? Just because it's godawful? What kind of reason is that for staying away from a movie? Godawful and boring, that would be a reason." In August 2004 Stephen King, in a column, criticized what he saw as a growing trend of leniency towards films from critics including Ebert. His main criticism was that films, citing Spider-Man 2 as an example, were constantly given four star ratings that they did not deserve. In his review of The Manson Family, Ebert gave the film three stars for achieving what it set out to do, but admitted that didn't count as a recommendation per se. He similarly gave the Adam Sandler-starring remake of The Longest Yard a positive rating of three stars, but in his review, which he wrote soon after attending the Cannes Film Festival, he recommended readers not see the film because they had access to more satisfying cinematic experiences. He declined to give a star rating to The Human Centipede, arguing that the rating system was "unsuited" to such a film: "Is the movie good? Is it bad? Does it matter? It is what it is and occupies a world where the stars don't shine."
Ebert has reprinted his starred reviews in movie guides. In his appearances on The Howard Stern Show, he was frequently challenged to defend his ratings. Ebert stood by his opinions with one notable exception—when Stern pointed out that Ebert had given The Godfather Part II a three-star rating in 1974, but had subsequently given The Godfather Part III three and a half stars. Ebert later added The Godfather Part II to his "Great Movies" list in October 2008 stating that his original review has often been cited as proof of his "worthlessness" but he still hasn't changed his mind and wouldn't change a word of his original review.
Ebert has occasionally accused some films of having an unwholesome political agenda, and the word "fascist" accompanied more than one of Ebert's reviews of the law-and-order films of the 1970s such as Dirty Harry. He is also suspicious of films that are passed off as art, but which he sees as merely lurid and sensational. Ebert has leveled this charge against such films as The Night Porter.
Ebert's reviews can clash with the overall reception of movies, as evidenced by his one-star review of the celebrated 1986 David Lynch film Blue Velvet ("marred by sophomoric satire and cheap shots... in a way, [director Lynch's] behavior is more sadistic than the Hopper character"). He was dismissive of the popular 1988 Bruce Willis action film Die Hard ("inappropriate and wrongheaded interruptions reveal the fragile nature of the plot"), while his positive review of 1997's Speed 2: Cruise Control ("Movies like this embrace goofiness with an almost sensual pleasure") is the only one accounting for that film's 2% approval rating on the Rotten Tomatoes critical website.
Ebert often makes heavy use of mocking sarcasm, especially when reviewing movies he considers bad. At other times he is direct, famously in his review of the 1994 Rob Reiner comedy North, which he concluded by writing that:
I hated this movie. Hated hated hated hated hated this movie. Hated it. Hated every simpering stupid vacant audience-insulting moment of it. Hated the sensibility that thought anyone would like it. Hated the implied insult to the audience by its belief that anyone would be entertained by it.
Ebert's reviews are also often characterized by dry wit. In January 2005, when Rob Schneider insulted Los Angeles Times movie critic Patrick Goldstein, who panned his movie Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo, by commenting that the critic was unqualified because he had never won the Pulitzer Prize, Ebert intervened by stating that, as a Pulitzer winner, he was qualified to review the film, and bluntly told Schneider, "Your movie sucks." Ebert and Schneider would later mend fences regarding this.
Ebert has been known to comment on films using his own Roman Catholic upbringing as a point of reference, and has been critical of films he believes are grossly ignorant of or insulting to Catholicism, such as Stigmata and Priest, though he has given favorable reviews of controversial films with themes or references to Jesus and Catholicism, including The Passion of the Christ, The Last Temptation of Christ, and to Kevin Smith's religious satire Dogma. However, Ebert identifies himself today as an agnostic.
He often includes personal anecdotes in his reviews when he considers them relevant. He has occasionally written reviews in the forms of stories, poems, songs, scripts, open letters, or imagined conversations. He has written many essays and articles exploring the field of film criticism in depth.
Ebert has been accused by some horror movie fans of bourgeois elitism in his dismissal of what he calls "Dead Teenager Movies". Ebert has clarified that he does not disparage horror movies as a whole, but that he draws a distinction between films like Nosferatu and The Silence of the Lambs, which he regards as "masterpieces", and films which he feels consist of nothing more than groups of teenagers being killed off with the exception of one survivor to populate a sequel.
Ebert has indicated that his favorite film is Citizen Kane, joking, "That's the official answer," although he prefers to emphasize it as "the most important" film. He has insinuated that his true favorite film is La Dolce Vita. His favorite actor is Robert Mitchum, and his favorite actress is Ingrid Bergman. Ebert has expressed his general distaste for "top ten" lists, and all movie lists in general, but due to his participation in the 2002 Sight and Sound Directors' poll, he has revealed his top ten films (alphabetically): Aguirre, the Wrath of God; Apocalypse Now; Citizen Kane; Dekalog; La Dolce Vita; The General; Raging Bull; 2001: A Space Odyssey; Tokyo Story; and Vertigo.
Nevertheless, Ebert has compiled "best of the year" movie lists since the 1960s, which have helped to provide an overview of his critical preferences. His top choices have been:
Ebert revisits and sometimes revises his opinions. After ranking E.T. The Extra Terrestrial third on his 1982 list, it was the only movie from that year to appear on his later "Best Films of the 1980s" list (where it also ranked third). He made similar revaluations of 1981's Raiders of the Lost Ark, and 1985's Ran. The Three Colors Trilogy (Blue, White, and Red), and Pulp Fiction originally ranked second and third on Ebert's 1994 list; both were included on his "Best Films of the 1990s" list, but their order had reversed.
From 1969 until Siskel's death in early 1999, the two critics were in agreement on nine top selections: Z, The Godfather, Nashville, The Right Stuff, Do the Right Thing, GoodFellas, Schindler's List, Hoop Dreams, and Fargo. There would have been a tenth, but Ebert declined to rank the Holocaust documentary "Shoah" as 1985's best film only because he felt it was inappropriate to compare it to the rest of the year's candidates; his on-air partner Gene Siskel did choose Shoah in his top slot. Seven times, Siskel's #1 choice did not appear on Ebert's top ten list at all: Straight Time, Ragtime, Once Upon a Time in America, The Last Emperor, The Last Temptation of Christ, Hearts of Darkness, and The Ice Storm. Seven times, Ebert's top selection did not appear on Siskel's; these films were Small Change, Three Women, An Unmarried Woman, Apocalypse Now, Sophie's Choice, Mississippi Burning, and Dark City.
Ebert has long been an admirer of director Werner Herzog, whom he supported through many years when Herzog's popularity had been eclipsed. He conducted an onstage public "conversation" with Herzog at the Telluride Film Festival in 2004, after a screening of Herzog's film Invincible at the Ebert's Overlooked Film Festival. Herzog dedicated his 2008 film Encounters at the End of the World to Ebert, and Ebert responded with a heartfelt public letter of gratitude.
In 2005, Ebert opined that video games are not art, and are inferior to media created through authorial control, such as film and literature, stating, "video games can be elegant, subtle, sophisticated, challenging and visually wonderful", but "the nature of the medium prevents it from moving beyond craftsmanship to the stature of art". This resulted in negative reaction from video game enthusiasts, such as writer Clive Barker, who defended video games as an art form, stating that they have the power to move people, that the views of book or film critics are less important than those of the consumers experiencing them, and that Ebert's were prejudiced. Ebert responded that the charge of prejudice was merely a euphemism for disagreement, that merely being moved by an experience does not denote it as artistic, and that critics are also consumers. Ebert later defended his position in April 2010, saying, "No video gamer now living will survive long enough to experience the medium as an art form." He also stated that he has never found a video game "worthy of (his) time", and thus has never played one. Cracked.com writer Robert Brockway responded by opining that this made Ebert unqualified to judge video games, and that debating Ebert on such a topic was comparable to "a structured philosophical debate on the importance of pacifism and restraint with a rabid badger: Your opponent is not only unqualified from the start, but it's obviously just out to attack you."
In a July 1, 2010, blog entry, Ebert maintained his skepticism that video games cannot ever be art in principle, but conceded that he should not have expressed this opinion without being more familiar with the actual experience of playing them. He reflected on the reaction to his blog entry, gamers' attempts to recommend to him games such as Shadow of the Colossus, and his reluctance to play games due to his lack of interest in the medium.
Ebert is an outspoken opponent of the Motion Picture Association of America film rating system. He has repeatedly criticized their decisions regarding which movies are "suitable for children." For example, Whale Rider and School of Rock were both rated PG-13 (not recommended for children under the age of 13), while he thought both were inoffensive enough for schoolchildren and contained positive messages for that age group. In his review of The Exorcist, Ebert said it was "stupefying" that the film received a rating of "R" from the MPAA instead of an "X" (suitable only for adults). He has frequently argued that the MPAA is more likely to give an "R" rating for mild sexual content than for highly violent content. In his review of The Passion of the Christ, he was quoted as saying: "I said the film is the most violent I have ever seen. The MPAA's R rating is definitive proof that the organization either will never give the NC-17 rating for violence alone, or was intimidated by the subject matter. If it had been anyone other than Jesus up on that cross, I have a feeling that NC-17 would have been automatic."
He also frequently laments that cinemas outside major cities are "booked by computer from Hollywood with no regard for local tastes", making high-quality independent and foreign films virtually unavailable to most American moviegoers.
Ebert is a strong advocate for Maxivision 48, in which the movie projector runs at 48 frames per second, as compared to the usual 24 frames per second. He is opposed to the practice whereby theatres lower the intensity of their projector bulbs in order to extend the life of the bulb, arguing that this has little effect other than to make the film harder to see. Ebert has been skeptical of the recent resurgence of 3D effects in film, which he has found unrealistic and distracting.
Ebert is one of the principal critics featured in Gerald Peary's 2009 documentary film For the Love of Movies: The Story of American Film Criticism. He is shown discussing the dynamics of appearing with Gene Siskel on the 1970s show Coming to a Theatre Near You, which was the predecessor of Sneak Previews on Chicago PBS station WTTW. He also expresses his approval of the proliferation of young people writing film reviews today on the Internet.
Ebert has provided DVD audio commentaries for several films, including Citizen Kane, Casablanca, Dark City, Floating Weeds, Crumb, and Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (for which Ebert also wrote the screenplay, based on a story that he co-wrote with Russ Meyer). Ebert was also interviewed by Central Park Media for an extra feature on the DVD release of the anime film Grave of the Fireflies.
On the day of the Academy Award ceremony, Ebert and Roeper typically appear on the live pre-awards show, An Evening at the Academy Awards: The Arrivals. This airs prior to the awards ceremony show, which also features red carpet interviews and fashion commentary. They also appear on the post-awards show entitled An Evening at the Academy Awards: The Winners. Both shows are produced and aired by the ABC-owned KABC-TV in Los Angeles. This program also airs on WLS-TV in Chicago, as well as the network's other owned-and-operated stations, along with being syndicated to several ABC affiliates and other broadcasters outside the country. Ebert did not appear on the 2007 show for medical reasons.
In 1995, Ebert, along with colleague Gene Siskel, guest starred on an episode of the animated TV series The Critic. In the episode, Siskel and Ebert split and each wants Jay as his new partner. The episode is a parody of the film Sleepless in Seattle.
On May 4, 2010, Ebert was announced by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences as the Webby Person of the Year having taken to the Internet following his battle with cancer.
On October 22, 2010, Ebert appeared on camera with Robert Osborne on the Turner Classic Movies network during the network's "The Essentials" series. Ebert chose the film Sweet Smell of Success to be shown.
Roger Ebert suffered from alcoholism and quit drinking in 1979. He is a member of Alcoholics Anonymous and has written some blog entries on the subject. He has been friends with, and at one time dated, Oprah Winfrey, who credits him with encouraging her to go into syndication. He is also good friends with film historian and critic Leonard Maltin and considers the book Leonard Maltin's Movie and Video Guide to be the standard of film guide books.
A supporter of the Democratic Party, Ebert publicly urged liberal filmmaker Michael Moore to give a politically charged acceptance speech at the Academy Awards: "I'd like to see Michael Moore get up there and let 'em have it with both barrels and really let loose and give them a real rabble-rousing speech." During a 2004 visit to The Howard Stern Show, Ebert predicted that the then-junior Illinois senator Barack Obama would be very important to the future of the country. During a 1996 panel at the University of Colorado at Boulder's Conference on World Affairs, Ebert coined The Boulder Pledge, by which he vowed never to purchase anything offered through the result of an unsolicited email message, or to forward chain emails or mass emails to others.
He is critical of the Intelligent Design movement. He has also stated that people who believe in either creationism or New Age beliefs such as crystal healing or astrology are not qualified to be President. Regarding his belief system, he doesn't "want to provide a category for people to apply to [him]" because he "would not want [his] convictions reduced to a word" and states, "I have never said, although readers have freely informed me I am an atheist, an agnostic, or at the very least a secular humanist—which I am". Ebert has also expressed disbelief in pseudoscientific or supernatural claims in general, calling them "woo-woo".
In early 2002, Ebert was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer. In February of that year, surgeons at Northwestern Memorial Hospital were able to successfully remove the cancer with clean margins. He later underwent surgery in 2003 for cancer in his salivary gland, and in December of that year, underwent a four-week follow-up course of radiation to his salivary glands, which altered his voice slightly. As he battled the illness, Ebert continued to be a dedicated critic of film, not missing a single opening while undergoing treatment.
Ebert underwent further surgery on June 16, 2006, just two days before his 64th birthday, to remove additional cancerous tissue near his right jaw, which included removing a section of jaw bone. On July 1, Ebert was hospitalized in serious condition after his carotid artery burst near the surgery site and he "came within a breath of death". He later learned that the burst was likely a side effect of his treatment, which involved neutron beam radiation. He was subsequently kept bedridden to prevent further damage to the scarred vessels in his neck while he slowly recovered from multiple surgeries and the rigorous treatment. At one point, his status was so precarious that Ebert had a tracheotomy performed on his neck to reduce the effort of breathing while he recovered.
Ebert had pre-taped enough TV programs with his co-host Richard Roeper to keep him on the air for a few weeks; however, his extended convalescence necessitated a series of "guest critics" to co-host with Roeper: Jay Leno (a good friend to both Ebert and Roeper), Kevin Smith, John Ridley, Toni Senecal, Christy Lemire, Michael Phillips, Aisha Tyler, Fred Willard, Anne Thompson, A.O. Scott, Mario Van Peebles, George Pennacchio, Brad Silberling, and John Mellencamp. Michael Phillips later became Ebert's replacement for the remainder of Roeper's time on At the Movies, until mid-2008, when Roeper did not extend his contract with ABC.
In October 2006, Ebert confirmed his bleeding problems had been resolved. He was undergoing rehabilitation at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago due to lost muscle mass, and later underwent further rehabilitation at the Pritikin Center in Florida." After a three-month absence, the first movie he reviewed was The Queen. Ebert made his first public appearance since the summer of 2006 at Ebertfest on April 25, 2007. He was unable to speak but communicated through his wife, Chaz, through the use of written notes. His opening words to the crowd of devout fans at the festival were a quote from the film he co-wrote with Russ Meyer, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls: "It's my happening and it freaks me out." Also in April 2007, in an interview with WLS-TV in Chicago, he said, "I was told photos of me in this condition would attract the gossip papers — so what?" On April 23, the Sun-Times reported that, when asked about his decision to return to the limelight, Ebert remarked, "We spend too much time hiding illness."
Ebert returned to reviewing on May 18, 2007, when three of his reviews were published by the Chicago Sun-Times, and he returned to his website, a role that his editor had shouldered during the critic's illness. Thereafter, he slowly worked back to his previous output of 5–6 reviews a week plus a "Great Movies" review. He also resumed his "Answer Man" column. In a July 21, 2007, commentary on a rebuttal to Clive Barker, he revealed that he had lost the ability to speak, but not to write. He also lost the ability to eat or drink, and uses a feeding tube. He posted reviews of the 2006 film Casino Royale and the 2007 films Zodiac and Ratatouille with a note that he was in the process of going back and reviewing some of the movies that were released during his absence. He attended the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival, while awaiting surgery that was hoped to restore his voice. Ebert adopted a computerized voice system to communicate. He initially chose to use a voice with a British accent that he named "Lawrence", but then switched to a high quality voice with an American accent included with Mac OS X named "Alex". According to Ebert, he does not miss the activity of eating or drinking so much as the camaraderie of dining with friends.
Ebert underwent further surgery on January 24, 2008, this time in Houston, to address the complications from his previous surgeries. A statement from Ebert and his wife indicated that "the surgery went well, and the Eberts look forward to giving you more good news..." but on April 1, his 41st anniversary as a film critic at the Sun-Times, Ebert announced that there had been further complications and his speech had not been restored. He wrote, "I am still cancer-free, and not ready to think about more surgery at this time. I should be content with the abundance I have." His columns resumed shortly after the April 23 opening of his annual film festival at the University of Illinois. During his various surgeries, doctors carved bone, tissue and skin from his back, arm, and legs, and transplanted them in an attempt to reconstruct his jaw and throat, though these transplants would each be unsuccessful, and eventually removed. As a result of these procedures, his right shoulder is visibly smaller than his left, and his legs have been scarred and weakened. On April 18, 2008, it was announced that Ebert had fractured his hip in a fall, a result of the weakening of his body following the unsuccessful tissue transplants, and had undergone surgery to repair it.
As of February 2010[update], Ebert has a full-time, live-in nurse to attend to him when needed. Although doctors have asked him to allow them to make one more attempt to restore his voice, Ebert has refused, indicating that he is done with surgery, and will likely decline significant intervention even if his cancer returns, as he feels that the last procedure he underwent did more harm than good. Regarding his death one day, he has written:
I know it is coming, and I do not fear it, because I believe there is nothing on the other side of death to fear. I hope to be spared as much pain as possible on the approach path. I was perfectly content before I was born, and I think of death as the same state. What I am grateful for is the gift of intelligence, and for life, love, wonder, and laughter. You can't say it wasn't interesting. My lifetime's memories are what I have brought home from the trip. I will require them for eternity no more than that little souvenir of the Eiffel Tower I brought home from Paris.
Ebert employed a Scottish company called CereProc, which custom-tailors text-to-speech software for voiceless customers who record their voices at length before losing them, and mined tapes and DVD commentaries featuring Ebert to create a voice that sounds more like his own voice. He used the voice they devised for him in his March 2, 2010, appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show, in which he discussed his methods of coping with the loss of his voice and his other post-surgical difficulties. By January 2011, Ebert had been given a prosthesis for his chin created by University of Illinois craniofacial doctors and other specialists. The prosthesis, which took two years to fabricate, is worn by Ebert on Ebert Presents: At the Movies, in a medium shot of him that is used for the "Roger's Office" segment.
Each year since 1999, except in 2008, Ebert has published Roger Ebert's Movie Yearbook, a collection of all of his movie reviews from the previous two and a half years (for example, the 2011 edition, ISBN 978-0-7407-9769-9, covers January 2008 – July 2010), as well as essays and other writings. He has also written the following books:
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