It was ironic but delightful that when Roger Ebert lost his voice, he gained another.
Ebert, the longtime Chicago Sun-Times movie reviewer, who died today at 70 after a long battle with cancer, was – as was former partner Gene Siskel – one of the most familiar faces and voices in film criticism for decades beginning in the 1970s.
After operations for cancer of the thyroid, salivary glands and chin in the past decade, Ebert lost much of his lower jaw as well as his ability to eat solid foods and speak.
But coincidentally to those losses, Ebert – who had written thousands of movie reviews during his career and several books – became a frequent blogger and even more frequent Twitter user. Hundreds of thousands of people – including me – followed him on Twitter, and I would venture a guess that most of us enjoyed his pithy comments on not only movies but politics and art and life.
The best thing that can be said about Ebert is that he was always fun to read, educational and entertaining. The other best thing is that, thanks to his drive and his embracing of social media, he was always relevant.
The balcony is closed.