Film buffs, moviegoers, critics or anyone who’s ever had a love affair with the big screen knows his name. For over 40 years he has been a columnist for the Chicago Sun Times. His television show, At the Movies, spanned a career of more than 20 years. For ten years he published annual movie review yearbooks, along with video companion guides to movies and the famous great movies series. He has written books about movie greats including Martin Scorsese. And recently he published a new book, The Pot and How to Use It!
Roger Ebert may have had the charmed Hollywood life others dream about until his big 6-0. In 2002 his life would take on a new twist. A ten year battle with cancers would change much about this man, except his will to live.
Detecting a lump in his throat in 2002 Ebert was diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer. Accorinding to his surgeon, Dr. Harold Pelzer, chief of head and neck surgery at Chicago’s Northwestern Memorial Hospital, “Roger’s thyroid cancer was the most common and indolent type.” While his prognosis was “good”, in 2003 Ebert battled Salivary Cancer. After several years of treatment, Ebert was on the road to recovery when he would meet with his next challenge in 2006, Jaw Bone Cancer. It was at this time Ebert would face the removal of part of his jaw bone which resulted in a cartoid burst and a tracheostomy.
The movie reviewer would no longer be able to eat or speak independently. But Ebert was not one to be silenced. In 2007 he adopted a MAC OS X, computerized voice system. And in 2010 he switched to a software system called CereProc, that tailors text-to-speech software for voiceless. Ebert’s speech is now patterned after his voice, the voice of Roger that we are accustomed to hearing.
An inspiration to all and in brave, bold Ebert fashion he was interviewed in March of 2010 by Oprah Winfrey before a live audience.
So why would Ebert write a cookbook at this time? Just because he doesn’t eat, doesn’t mean he cannot enjoy the camaraderie associated with the kitchen and mealtime. And when life gives you a trach, you make a cookbook.
Two Thumbs Up for Roger Ebert!