Recently we lost Roger Ebert to cancer. I remember reading in the news that afternoon that he was undergoing treatment again and would be reducing his workload. Just a few short hours later he died. I can't imagine the pain that he endured and hope that he has found peace.
He was a hero to me as a child. His reviews fueled my love for the movies, and I obsessively highlighted my favorites and built lists around his recommendations. He almost single-handedly introduced me to what are now considered the classics of the 60's, 70's and 80's, and opened my eyes to art-house and off-beat cinema (pop passed the jump for my great and not-so-great list of must-watch-movies from childhood; Ebert
should not get the credit blame for some of these travesties).
He was a hero to me as an adult. His passion for film never wavered, and despite a disease that drained and disfigured him, he carried on -- eloquently and intelligently, with humor. Few people find such success and respect, and endure in the face of such challenge.
He was the last word, and sometimes the only word that mattered, in sealing a movie's fate. I doubt anyone will come close again.
[ photo by grossyall]