A Leave Of Presence: Movie Critic Roger Ebert Scales Back His Work, As Cancer Returns

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The famed movie critic Roger Ebert has been forced to scale back his reviewing work, after a “painful fracture” in his leg has been re-diagnosed as a cancer. “The 'painful fracture' that made it difficult for me to walk has recently been revealed to be a cancer. It is being treated with radiation, which has made it impossible for me to attend as many movies as I used to,” writes Ebert, who is unable to speak, following previous bouts of cancer.

On his blog for Chicago Sun-Times, for whom he has written for 46 years, Ebert revealed that it has become necessary for him to slow down. He describes this next phase in his lengthy career as a “leave of presence.” He explained what he meant by the term, by writing “this means I am not going away. My intent is to continue to write selected reviews but to leave the rest to a talented team of writers handpicked and greatly admired by me. What's more, I'll be able at last to do what I've always fantasized about doing: reviewing only the movies I want to review.” He reassured readers that he will continue to work as a film critic, as well as working on other elements of the ‘Ebert brand,’ including his annual film festival, Ebertfest.

Ebert went on to say that he will be relating his movie reviews to his life dealing with a difficult illness. “It really stinks that the cancer has returned and that I have spent too many days in the hospital. So on bad days I may write about the vulnerability that accompanies illness. On good days, I may wax ecstatic about a movie so good it transports me beyond illness.” 

Roger Ebert
Roger Ebert: pictured here in May 2011


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