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April 19, 2014

Roger Ebert to Appear on 'Oprah' March 2

by Joel Keller, posted Feb 26th 2010 5:31PM
Roger Ebert and Oprah Winfrey in the 1980sIt's interesting how quickly the wonderful Esquire profile of Roger Ebert, written by Chris Jones, rocketed around the interwebs last week. It speaks to the power of two things: a) Ebert's endearing popularity, almost four years after he stopped being an on-camera movie critic, and b) that a well-written magazine profile can give a reader more insight into a person than sometimes talking to the person himself can even do.

But the article, and the stark pictures of Ebert that accompanied it, has led Ebert in some interesting directions. For instance, he'll be going on Oprah Winfrey's show on March 2 to do his first interview since various cancer surgeries robbed him of his voice, most of his jaw, and his ability to eat and drink. Ebert will speak through the use of a computer.

The two Chicago titans have a long history together; five years ago, Ebert revealed that the two of them even went out on a couple of dates in the 1980s, where Ebert gave Oprah the idea to syndicate her talk show rather than take it to the network level.

I'm sure it'll be a riveting interview, given the pair's longtime friendship and the way Ebert has been able to philosophize about his current situation. And, despite what anyone may think of Oprah, she is one of the best interviewers out there, as she re-proved with her sit-down with Jay Leno.

Roger Ebert in Esquire magazineWhat strikes me as the most ironic part of this entire sequence of events, though, is how yet again a previously-polarizing figure now gets universal respect after he comes down with a debilitating disease. I've always been an Ebert fan, especially of his almost lyrical written reviews, but during the heyday of 'Siskel & Ebert,' Ebert wasn't nearly as loved.

Some fans saw him as the pompous one of the pair, while others felt that Ebert's tastes were too pedestrian. He was raked over the coals for writing the Russ Meyer campfest 'Beyond the Valley of the Dolls' as he was criticizing the work of others. And the names he was called because of his weight almost outnumber the list of movies he's reviewed.

But now? He's an elder statesman of the movie review trade that almost every young critic looks up to, including former partner Richard Roeper and the new hosts of 'At The Movies,' Michael Phillips and A.O. Scott. And, with the Esquire profile and his prolific blog, he's become a hugely sympathetic figure. Maybe, if people can get past the looks and the computerized voice, we can see Ebert back on TV in some capacity soon.

[via TVWeek]

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Phyl Matteson

But it is not a computerized voice at all. It is his very own ~ complete with inflection. It is a beautiful thing. Even more beautiful is the passion between him and Chaz. As unfortunate as this is for him, I feel there are masses who envy him that kind of love. Most of us never know it and sit here knowing if a terrible thing like that were to befall us, we would have to face it alone.

March 02 2010 at 6:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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