I remember Roger Ebert's Movie Yearbooks sitting on the bottom shelf of an end table in my grandma's basement. I leafed through them, amazed this man had seen and reviewed what seemed like countless movies every year--and giggled every time I came across a turkey symbol next to a hated film. Siskel and Ebert felt like regular visitors in my childhood home, and I watched At the Movies each week as Ebert struggled through various surgeries and valiantly tried to return to his seat next to Richard Roeper.
Roger Ebert launched his internet presence about a decade ago, and his website has been on my favorites bar ever since. Every Friday I looked forward to checking for his new reviews. Soon he began writing his blog, which became more and more autobiographical as his illness progressed and took his ability to speak. His writing was candid, breathtaking, wise, and heartbreaking. His perspective on life was empathetic and inspiring. His 2010 cover photo and article in Esquire made me stand up and applaud. I was awed by his resiliency and hope in the face of his illness, and the courage it took to reveal his true face to the world. I feel like I lost a good friend and mentor on Thursday.
Goodbye, Mr. Ebert.