After 3-Month Absence, Ebert Returns to ‘Sun-Times’

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By: E&P Staff

Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic Roger Ebert returned to the pages of the Chicago Sun-Times Thursday for the first time since surgery for recurring salivary cancer in June.

In a letter to readers, Ebert thanked his family, friends and physicians, as well as the many people who sent letters, flowers, prayers and other gestures of encouragement.

Ebert said his first review since June will appear Friday, when he writes about the movie “The Queen.” Ebert said he viewed the film on DVD from his bed in his ongoing rehab.

“And now I am at the famous Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago — learning to walk again!” he wrote. “My muscles were atrophied by the weeks of inactivity, and I became a rehabilitation candidate. It’s been quite an adventure, made easier by the tireless good cheer and expertise of Dr. Jim Sliwa and his RIC team.”

Ebert had expected a speedy recovery when he went into surgery last June, but he said he had several episodes of sudden and serious bleeding.

“They stabilized me, operated on me to deal with the arteries, kept me sedated to avoid disturbing the affected areas — and then I essentially spent July and August completely out of it,” he wrote. “I remember only fragmentary episodes.”

He came out of sedation in September.

“During all of this, I didn’t lose any marbles,” Ebert wrote. “My thinking is intact and my mental process doesn’t require rehabilitation.”

He added, though, that he’s “curiously” found himself more engaged by classic novels such as Henry James’ “The Ambassadors” than “watching a lot of DVDs.”

“I prefer to see the new Oliver Stone, Martin Scorsese and Clint Eastwood films on a big screen, for example,” he wrote.

Ebert said he would be doing a few more reviews, but “I won’t be back to full production until sometime early next year.”

He said he planned to cover the Cannes Film Festival and the Oscars.

For 40 years,” he wrote, “I didn’t miss a single deadline, but since July, I have missed every one.”

Ebert’s columns are distributed by Universal Press Syndicate.

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