39 Years Of Roger Ebert, One Year Without

Even though we might not always agree, we've always loved reading Roger Ebert's reviews. As you know Roger underwent surgery for to remove a cancerous growth on his salivary gland last June, and has been absent ever since. Sure, he came back and wrote a couple small reviews, and made some bad oscar predictions (but he's not in 100% capacity, so we can't blame him), but for the most part he has disappeared. He didn't even make the trip to Sundance this year.

Today marks Roger's 40th anniversary with the Chicago Sun-Times. And what better time than ever for the critic to check in and give us a much needed update:

Nine months ago I was leaving Northwestern Memorial hospital after surgery for salivary cancer. I was planning to be back in action in a few weeks, but unfortunately, there were complications, and more medical procedures resulted. I was in bed so long that I experienced serious deconditioning that led to a stint at the famous Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.

I began my rehabilitation there, and I am continuing it, along with an overhaul of my general health, at the Pritikin Center in Florida. Also, because of a tracheostomy, my speaking voice is on hold until my upcoming completion surgery. I am feeling better every day and my wife Chaz says we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Ebert goes on to say that his Ninth Annual Overlooked Film Festival will be held as scheduled at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign April 25-29.

I'll be there, but friends and colleagues will take over the onstage Q&A duties. I'll watch from the audience. I think of the festival as the first step on my return to action. Because I will be under scrutiny there, I'll tell you what to expect: a sick guy, getting better, who still loves the movies and the festival.

This has been a long and unexpected ordeal, made better by many kind and gifted doctors and nurses, led by the incomparable Dr. Harold Pelzer and Dr. Robert Havey, and above all by the selfless and loving care of my wife, Chaz.

I plan to gradually increase my duties in the months to come. I still love writing about the movies. Forty years is not enough.

We're glad to hear it.