Special Segments

Beyond the Balcony with Roger Ebert

Monday, September 26, 2011

Film critic Roger Ebert's new memoir, "Life Itself," is already a best-seller.

Ebert lost the ability to eat, drink and speak due to complications of cancer treatments, and he uses a computer-generated voice.

In his memoir, he shares the many lessons he's learned from his remarkable life.

"Being close to death adds inspiration to looking back and taking stock," Ebert told ABC7. "Of course, I look forward to it these days, especially because I'm unable to speak, I find myself spending more and more time within my own mind."

When asked about the abundance of opportunities that found him throughout his career, Ebert says he has always "sailed along trusting in my good luck."

"So many opportunities came to me that I didn't even know were available. The TV show, for example, materialized out of the clear blue sky. And although I did get cancer, I survived it. I seem to be cancer-free and today I am active and happy," Ebert said.

In his memoir, Roger writes that his wife Chaz of nearly 20 years is "the great fact of my life." When the doctors told Chaz her husband was gone, she told them he is coming back.

"I knew that Roger was not finished, that he wanted to stay here and it wasn't just a feeling that I wanted him here, I did want him here. But he so wanted to be here. And I wanted to do everything that I could to help him. He told me to fight for him," Chaz said.

"I have never felt one moment of rage over my illness or disabilities. You have to accept reality. You do the best you can. I survived and have continued to work. We all get sick and we all die. I have had a long and happy life. What should I be mad about?" Ebert said.

Ebert has already been approached about turning his memoir into a movie -- an idea he's not so sure about yet. But if any actor plays him, he thinks it should be Philip Seymour Hoffman.

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