If you are a long-time reader of my other blog, you know that Roger Ebert was an early supporter of it, back when Dreams of Literary Grandeur was on Blogger and Murmurs from the Balcony didn’t exist, yet while Dreams of Literary Grandeur would have existed without Roger Ebert, Murmurs from the Balcony would not have. Of course I’ve read other criticism besides Ebert’s, especially when it comes to non-movie reviews, but none as loyally, or for as long. His reviews were syndicated in my local newspaper, and I discovered his show soon after the passing of Gene Siskel (and then hunted down old episodes with Siskel in it). Without Roger Ebert, I would have stopped writing reviews once I graduated from college, and my love for film would have developed more slowly than it did. In addition, the whole reason that I started writing about the Seattle International Film Festival is because neither Ebert nor the FFCs were here to cover it, like he did the Cannes, Toronto, SXSW, and Sundance film festivals. And if Ebert hadn’t covered those other festivals, it’s doubtful I would have written about the one here.
Since Dreams of Literary Grandeur was the blog he initially supported, I’ve written my tribute to him on there. Tomorrow is his funeral, and while I will be many miles away from Chicago on that day, I’ll be there in spirit, as I’m sure will be the case for thousands, if not millions, of others.
I would like to close this post with an observance made about the great cellist Pablo Casals, which I think will also hold true for Roger Ebert:
“Even more than he loved great music, Casals loved people, and he delighted in leading the masses to a higher spiritual, cultural and moral level. This is truly why we still remember Casals today. Not because he was such a great cellist, but because he was a great human being with a heart of love.” (highlights mine)
Rest in peace, Rog. And thank you.