Roger

About 20 minutes ago, I learned that Roger had passed away.

I’ve lost one of my favorite writers of all time. I’ve lost one of my most trusted, respected, and generous advisors on all subjects that could possibly matter to a modern human being. And I’ve lost a great friend of more than 20 years.

But I still have him in the form of the finest and highest standard of what it means to be a journalist and critic. All my life, Roger Ebert has always been the bar I’ve tried to reach. I never will. But his example has made me stronger through failure.

For years, I resisted the thought of writing down a few notes and organizing what I would say when this day came. I think having such a draft on my Mac would have acknowledged that someday, Roger would be going away.

(Roger released his own statement about his “leave of presence” this week. Prepared and excellent, to the very end. See what I mean about the Ebert Standard?)

I will collect my thoughts and share them tomorrow. Tonight, I’m just going to let myself be sad.

48 replies
  1. Jeff
    Jeff says:

    I saw the headline and didn’t even finish reading the whole thing before heading here. I feel like consoling you as I would a dear friend, Andy, even though I am just an anonymous listener. Be well my friend.

  2. Mitch
    Mitch says:

    There was no one else I was happier to follow on Twitter. Everything he wrote was interesting. As much a writer’s writer as a reader’s writer.

  3. Frank
    Frank says:

    What I loved about Mr. Ebert was he became more engaged with social media after he was sadly stricken with cancer. A great part of his legacy was created after his cancer struck and to me that says a lot about him and is a great lesson for all of us.

  4. Christian
    Christian says:

    I have enjoyed reading both of your works over the years. When I learned you were a friend a collaborator of Mr. Ebert’s, I was pleased and only a little surprised.

    Whether I agreed with him or not (and usually I did), I respected Mr. Ebert’s thoughts and ability to so eloquently express himself. His loss is a blow to everyone who still appreciates real writing.

  5. David J. Loehr
    David J. Loehr says:

    Well said, sir.

    “We must try to contriube joy to the world,” is a quote of his that I’d never seen until today, but I know I’ll carry it with me from here.

  6. Robert Bell
    Robert Bell says:

    Andy, I saw the headline and immediately thought of you. Thank you for your professionalism & being able to gather your thoughts, even for a brief moment. I’m very sorry for your loss of a dear friend & mentor and I hope you find the grieving process comforting. Roger has left us all with great memories and much to think about. He will continue to be a great man and a relevant voice.

  7. John
    John says:

    Andy, I read your thoughts with a big lump in my throat. I only met Roger once, but I admired him almost as deeply as you do. I’m certain your eulogy will be one of the very best.

  8. Joshua
    Joshua says:

    His article “A Leave of Presence” read a bit differently now knowing what he knew as he wrote it

  9. John A
    John A says:

    Very well stated. He would have appreciated your thoughts and words with a simple “thumb up”. We will miss him. Sad as well.

  10. Phil
    Phil says:

    Andy what a sad day for Rogers family and obviously yourself. Hoping that time heals and the pain fades.Roger had integrity and talent a combination hard to find in the world of media, and its obvious why you held him in such high esteem.RIP Roger

  11. EB
    EB says:

    My condolences Andy, it was a shock to read the news this afternoon.

    Everyone, maybe we should watch a movie tonight. Turn off the phone and the Internet, and just enjoy. (Of course if you use the Internet to watch movies, leave the Internet on.) I’ve been meaning to watch a few of the Oscar nominees, and I always wait to read Roger’s reviews until after I’ve seen the movie, we didn’t always agree but i always enjoyed reading his take. And I loved, loved, loved his blog. And his most recent book, his memoir. I highly recommend it for anyone who enjoyed Roger’s writing, his humor, his “take” on this little thing called Life.

    Sincere condolences, Andy, for your loss.

  12. Gabie Hill-Stewart
    Gabie Hill-Stewart says:

    Hi Andy,

    I am so sorry to hear about your dear friend. I hope the coming days and weeks will seem a little brighter for you.

    Gabie from England

  13. JohnO
    JohnO says:

    Like others here, when I read that Roger had passed away, I immediately thought of you, Andy. I’m sorry for your loss. Roger has been part of my life for more years than I care to count. I never had the pleasure of meeting him in person.

  14. Shamey Reed
    Shamey Reed says:

    I would give anything to see a photo of Roger wearing Andy’s hat.

    Thank you RE for making our lives more interesting. I can’t think of another person who has curated a major part of my life the way I have trusted you to curate cinema for me. I really am sad.

  15. Alex Santos
    Alex Santos says:

    It’s always difficult to lose someone close and dear. It will happen to all of us, many a time unfortunately. One day, we too will leave others behind. Reserving a day for reflection is the best thing you can do. My deepest condolences Andy.

  16. Randall Willis
    Randall Willis says:

    As soon as I heard I came here. I am sorry for your loss. You are a reflection of his standard of excellence. As long as you continue to write and share your thoughts with us he still lives in some small way.

  17. Vinny Giardina
    Vinny Giardina says:

    My condolences. Perhaps we should all watch “Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls” in his honor.

    I’ve just been reading his “Bigger Little Movie Glossary” and “Your Movie Stinks”. I guess the great ones always make it look effortless.

  18. Ruby Tangelo
    Ruby Tangelo says:

    Well said, Andy. I read Roger’s leave of presence yesterday. He was someone who I enjoyed on TV and here on Twitter. He will be missed and the aisle seat will be forever empty.

  19. Paolo Palombo
    Paolo Palombo says:

    Like many others, I thought of you after I read of Ebert’s passing.
    My condolences and prayers are with Roger’s family. My thoughts with you as well.
    May he rest in peace.

  20. Alex Hardy
    Alex Hardy says:

    When I heard the sad news, my thoughts turned to you.
    We have never met, and may never meet, but today, you’re in my thoughts from the other side of the globe.

    Sorry for your loss, Andy.

  21. A. Rex Simonsen
    A. Rex Simonsen says:

    Having followed your work for the last twenty years I have heard you mention Mr. Ebert’s name many times. It quickly became obvious how much you thought of the man and his work. And so, on word of his passing and knowing your pain, I came here first. Although we have never met I offer my condolences. I,too, will miss his fierce intellect.

  22. Kendall harrison
    Kendall harrison says:

    Andy
    I read your stuff and listen to a couple of podcasts you are a part of. Just heard of RE’s death. I have appreciated his depth of analysis and joie de vivre. I know from listening to you the care and respect you have carried for him as a person and a professional. Take good care of yourself.

  23. Joe Gudac
    Joe Gudac says:

    Rest in peace Roger, You opened my eyes some 17 years ago reminding me that it was only a MOVIE and not life. Enjoy it, but put it into perspective. Sometimes it may be telling a story, sometimes it is just pure entertainment!

  24. Rebecca
    Rebecca says:

    When I was in middle/high school, I read through a good chunk of Roger’s reviews on Compuserve, and then got on the Movies Forum. I was a blossoming nerd who knew too many big words, and the forum was a very welcoming place where kind people had discussions with me as if I were an adult. Those people included both you & Roger.

    When I was a senior in high school, I posted that I was considering applying for a Rotary exchange year. Roger wrote back and said he had done a Rotary fellowship, that it was a wonderful experience, and that I should let him know if there was any way he could help. I didn’t end up needing any assistance, but just the suggestion was quite the kick in the pants to go for it! I spent a year in Sweden. Five years later I went to a book signing he did in Denver, and thanked him in person, although I’m sure he didn’t remember it among the thousands of small and large kindnesses he did for others. He did, of course, remember the Compuserve days; he was in town for the Conference on World Affairs and he said I should come up for it because you and several other people from the forum would be there. I said I wished I could but had to work all week, and thanked him again, and that was it.

    My interactions with him were so small, and in no way compare to the friendship the two of you shared. And putting this in the comments of your blog is a little odd, but my blog isn’t the place to do it, and somehow I still feel those connections from 15(!) years ago. So I suppose what I’m trying to say is, Roger was a great man, a brilliant writer, and so kind – even to me – and I’m sorry for your loss, and it is truly a huge loss.

  25. brian
    brian says:

    Andy, I too tout of you and your loss when I heard of his death. Very sad, but how fortunate you were to know him, work with him, and call him a friend for 20 years. You were very lucky. Once you get over the initial sadness, I hope you can find joy in what you had.

  26. conal
    conal says:

    I don’t think I would be as affected by Ebert laoshr’s passing if it wasn’t for your linking to some of his pieces over the last few years. He was not a presence in my life.

    However: watching some of the clips of the ‘best of’ tonight brought the theme music back into my life. It was a very Atavistic reaction. A part of my development.

  27. Eric Isaacson
    Eric Isaacson says:

    I am seeing more than ever the number of people Roger affected directly, quite independently of his considerable fame. What a brilliant, kind, generous man he was!

    And I could see how much he admired you, Andy. You have a lot of things to be proud of, but that’s one of the biggest.

  28. David McDonald
    David McDonald says:

    Dreadfully sad news about Roger, what an amazing and inspirational person he was. I only know of him from his fabulous memoir and his prolific blog/website/Tweets.
    Even at this remote, I am saddened greatly on hearing of his death – can only imagine how devastated you are Andy.
    I hope happy memories and celebration of Roger’s life will help temper the grief.

    Loved this quote from Roger’s memoir:

    “To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts”

    Thanks Roger, I’m still trying to make this my philosophy.

  29. mike dee
    mike dee says:

    I only heard this today after work. I must admit I came to read Roger Eberts thro’ listening to Andy talk effusively on Macbreak weekly.

    Things like this are harder on those left behind as they get to grieve the loss of someone they’ll miss and know in their heart they’ll never see again. Thats the thing about death.

    I hope Andy, and all his friends and relations can remember this man for the good times and memories.

    what more can anyone say but heartfelt commiserations.

  30. Brian
    Brian says:

    I credit you, Andy, for making me aware of just how great a treasure Roger was as a critic, journalist, and person. Thank you.

  31. Karen Gehres
    Karen Gehres says:

    Andy,he was the one person I wanted approval from with my work. When he invited my doc “Begging Naked” to Ebertfest I cried. It was so wonderful how he brought all of us who love movies together. The number of filmmakers,writers and artists he encouraged is staggering.He was a gift. Wishing you well Andy.

  32. Thom
    Thom says:

    Andy, as listener of your various podcasts, I was immediately compelled to come to your site, not just to read what I was sure would be a thoughtful and caring note about Roger’s life, but also to express my condolences. I admire you and Roger both – this is very sad indeed. Part of me will also think to myself – “I wonder what Roger Ebert would think of this” as I go through my life watching and thinking about films and the medium. I think he left an indelible impression on the art form.

  33. Ray Chuang
    Ray Chuang says:

    Andy, I think from your latest posting, it appears that Mr. Ebert very effectively hid the fact his condition was getting worse–few people outside of his close friends knew of this. The fact Ebert’s mind still stayed sharp right to the very end tells me that there was still more he wanted to do.

    But this is not a time to mourn, but to celebrate the life of arguably the most influential movie critic in American history. Not only was Ebert a great movie reviewer, but his many writings showed essentially a scholarly knowledge of the movie industry, but written in a style that appealed to “everyman.”

    Because Ebert was such a enthusiastic supporter of the movie industry, I personally feel that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS)–if it’s possible–should award an posthumous honorary Oscar to Ebert at next year’s Academy Award ceremonies. Many in the movie industry appreciated his work, as noted by the innumerable messages of condolence on Twitter by many prominent people in Hollywood.

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