A few days prior to his death, Roger Ebert published a piece titled “A Leave of Presence” for the Chicago Sun-Times. The publication was where he began his august career as a film critic almost 50 years ago. He writes:
“What in the world is a leave of presence? It means I am not going away. My intent is to continue to write selected reviews but to leave the rest to a talented team of writers handpicked and greatly admired by me. What’s more, I’ll be able at last to do what I’ve always fantasized about doing: reviewing only the movies I want to review.
At the same time, I am re-launching the new and improved Rogerebert.com and taking ownership of the site under a separate entity, Ebert Digital, run by me, my beloved wife, Chaz, and our brilliant friend, Josh Golden of Table XI. Stepping away from the day-to-day grind will enable me to continue as a film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times, and roll out other projects under the Ebert brand in the coming year.”
I have always been an admirer of his. His example crystallized for me, as a young girl, that one could make a living talking about, writing about film. A pop culture junkie, I’ve always wanted some aspect of my career to lie in film. Roger Ebert built a brand on trust, honesty, and good journalism. The legacy of his words and work, I’m sure, will not be forgotten.