Battling Cancer, Ebert Hopes To Return to Show Soon


The Chicago Sun-Times Pulitzer Prize-winning movie critic Roger Ebert, who has been battling thyroid cancer and unable to tape his weekly Buena Vista TV (BVT) review series, Ebert & Roeper at the Movies, this season, issued a statement Friday saying he hopes to return to work soon.

“As Faulkner says, ‘We shall not merely prevail, we shall endure,’” Ebert said in the statement, issued on the eve of next week’s National Association of Television Program Executives conference.

In an update on his condition, Ebert says, “It's been some time since I checked in to let you know how I'm doing. I had hoped to be back in my seat in the balcony alongside my partner Richard Roeper, but the surgeons tell me they will have to take a staged, multiphased approach to getting me back in shape. To borrow from the Chicago Bears, we tried for the long pass, but now we're going for a series of shorter passes until we score a touchdown.”

Ebert will not be on the red carpet interviewing nominees at this year’s Academy Awards but does intend to conduct his “Outguess Ebert” contest in the Sun-Times and work with WLS Chicago to make his Oscar predictions.

The critic has not been idle, however. His Overlooked Film Festival is sold out and he published two books this past fall: Awake in the Dark and the Movie Yearbook 2007.

“I am working on the follow-up to I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie, tentatively called Your Movie Sucks,” Ebert says.

He thanked viewers and readers for their thoughts and prayers and notes and said he and his wife have been receiving a steady stream of calls, letters, flowers and e-mails, which “have sustained us through this time out.”

Ebert also thanked BVT President Janice Marinelli and others at the studio “for staunch support during this ordeal.”

Roeper has been appearing with guest critics this season. The Sun-Times critic joined the show following the death of Ebert’s former partner Gene Siskel in 1999.