Iconic film critic Roger Ebert succumbed to the cancer he had been fighting since 2002 today. He was 70 years old. He was the first film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize, his columns were syndicated in more than 200 newspapers worldwide, he wrote more than 15 books, and in 2005 he became the first critic to be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. From The New York Times: “Mr. Ebert’s struggle with cancer gave him an altogether different public image — as someone who refused to surrender to illness. Though he had operations for cancer of the thyroid, salivary glands and chin, lost his ability to eat, drink and speak (a prosthesis partly obscured the loss of much of his chin, and he was fed through a tube) and became a gaunter version of his once-portly self, he continued to write reviews and commentary and published a cookbook he had started, on meals that could be made with a rice cooker. ‘When I am writing, my problems become invisible, and I am the same person I always was,’ he told Esquire magazine in 2010. ‘All is well. I am as I should be.’ In recent years, Mr. Ebert had written extensively about his illness via Twitter, on Facebook and in his blog. It would not be a stretch to say that Mr. Ebert was the best-known film reviewer of his generation, and one of the most trusted. He liked to say his approach — dryly witty, occasionally sarcastic, sometimes quirky in his opinions — reflected the working newspaper reporter he had been, not a formal student of film. His tastes ran from the classics to boldly independent cinema to cartoons, and his put-downs could be withering. ‘I will one day be thin, but Vincent Gallo will always be the director of The Brown Bunny,’ he wrote.” For a good cry, read his famous essay “Nil By Mouth,” about his memories of eating, written after he had lost the ability to do so.
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