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1 Beaverton Film and Television- Criticism and Theory

Life Itself: A Memoir

by

Life Itself: A Memoir Cover

ISBN13: 9780446584975
ISBN10: 0446584975
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Roger Ebert is the best-known film critic of our time. He has been reviewing films for the Chicago Sun-Times since 1967, and was the first film critic ever to win a Pulitzer Prize. He has appeared on television for four decades, including twenty-three years as cohost of Siskel & Ebert at the Movies.

In 2006, complications from thyroid cancer treatment resulted in the loss of his ability to eat, drink, or speak. But with the loss of his voice, Ebert has only become a more prolific and influential writer. And now, for the first time, he tells the full, dramatic story of his life and career.

Roger Ebert's journalism carried him on a path far from his nearly idyllic childhood in Urbana, Illinois. It is a journey that began as a reporter for his local daily, and took him to Chicago, where he was unexpectedly given the job of film critic for the Sun-Times, launching a lifetime's adventures.

In this candid, personal history, Ebert chronicles it all: his loves, losses, and obsessions; his struggle and recovery from alcoholism; his marriage; his politics; and his spiritual beliefs. He writes about his years at the Sun-Times, his colorful newspaper friends, and his life-changing collaboration with Gene Siskel. He remembers his friendships with Studs Terkel, Mike Royko, Oprah Winfrey, and Russ Meyer (for whom he wrote Beyond the Valley of the Dolls and an ill-fated Sex Pistols movie). He shares his insights into movie stars and directors like John Wayne, Werner Herzog, and Martin Scorsese.

This is a story that only Roger Ebert could tell. Filled with the same deep insight, dry wit, and sharp observations that his readers have long cherished, this is more than a memoir-it is a singular, warm-hearted, inspiring look at life itself.

"I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn't always know this, and am happy I lived long enough to find it out." -from Life Itself

Review:

"It's hardly surprising that Ebert, the Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times since 1967, begins this candid examination of an extraordinary life with an allusion to Ingmar Bergman's Persona, about an actress who loses her voice in mid-performance. Though three thyroid cancer surgeries resulting in the removal of his lower jaw have left Ebert unable to speak, eat, or drink, these are not famous last words. Forgoing a traditional linear format, each chapter — particularly 'My Old Man' and 'Big John Wayne' — could function as a stand-alone essay. Born in Urbana, Ill., in 1942, Ebert spent a carefree childhood, often with his nose in a book. Drawn to newspapers beginning in high school, he became the sports reporter for his school paper before rising to the rank of co-editor. The position of film critic fell into his lap at the Sun-Times — a paper he joined after leaving a graduate English program — and Ebert hasn't looked back. And while films have governed his life for close to 50 years, he wisely doesn't choose the greatest hits version of his reviewing career, focusing instead on the life he's lived in between screenings: his battle with alcoholism; tight-knit friendships forged in the newsroom (and bar); and his marriage to Chaz, whom he calls 'the great fact of my life.' Hollywood gets its due, but it's an ensemble player, sharing the screen with reminiscences both witty and passionate from one of our most important cultural voices. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Synopsis:

World-famous film critic and television host Roger Ebert delivers one of the most eagerly-anticipated memoirs of the year. Roger Ebert has been reviewing films for the Chicago Sun-Times since 1967. The first film critic ever to win a Pulitzer Prize, he has been a fixture on television for over 30 years, co-hosting Siskel & Ebert at the Movies until Gene Siskel's death in 1999, and then with Richard Roeper until 2006. Then, complications from thyroid-cancer treatment resulted in the loss of his ability to eat, drink, or speak. But with the loss of his voice, Ebert has only become a more prolific and influential writer. And now, for the first time, he tells the full, dramatic story of his life and career. He chronicles his loves, losses, and obsessions; his recovery from alcoholism, his marriage, his politics, and his spiritual beliefs. He also provides details about his years at the Sun-Times, his colorful newspaper friends, his friendships with Oprah Winfrey, Studs Terkel, and others, insights into stars like John Wayne, Lee Marvin, and Robert Mitchum, and his perspective on such influential directors as Ingmar Bergman, Martin Scorsese, and Werner Herzog.

About the Author

Roger Ebert won the Pulitzer Prize for criticism in 1975, and his reviews are syndicated in newspapers around the world. He was cohost of Siskel & Ebert and Ebert & Roeper for thirty-three years, and is now managing editor and reviewer for Ebert Presents At the Movies. He is the author of seventeen books, including Scorsese by Ebert and Awake in the Dark. The only film critic with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Roger Ebert is also an honorary member of the Directors Guild of America. He received the Carl Sandburg Literary Award of the Chicago Public Library and won the Webby Awards Person of the Year in 2010. His website, rogerebert.com, receives 110 million visits a year. He lives with his wife, Chaz Hammelsmith Ebert, in Chicago.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 5 comments:

W S Krauss, January 28, 2013 (view all comments by W S Krauss)
Roger Ebert has written a thorough account of his life. Faced with a severely disfiguring cancer and the subsequent inability to speak, eat or drink, he perseveres through, or rather he transcends, his disabilities to make use of his talents through the medium of writing, which has always been a big part of his life. I enjoyed reading about his family and how his life was shaped by his upbringing. The chapters on some of the actors and directors he has known were very personal and unearthed some interesting aspects of these celebrities. Especially poignant were the chapters on his wife Chaz, his Sneak Previews co-star Gene Siskel, and those about his cancer, his many surgeries and facing his own mortality. It's a very personal book and I quite enjoyed his style of writing. I would recommend this to anyone, regardless of their interest in the movies or movie critics. It has as its focus the human condition, or "life itself".
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Norman Wilson, January 2, 2012 (view all comments by Norman Wilson)
This was my favorite book of the year because it took me totally by surprise. I have always enjoyed Roger Ebert's film reviews, and I have fun memories of watching him and Gene Siskel arguing like spoiled brats on their TV show. But I never knew the whole story behind Ebert's rise to critic stardom or his genuine love of journalism. His coming-of-age in suburban Illinois, his travels, his loves and friendships are all captured in beautiful style. The writing is colorful and captivating, and his story is uplifting and interesting. I highly recommend this book to all lovers of movies, journalism, criticism and well-told autobiographies. It made me an even bigger Ebert fan than I was before.
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nataliez, January 1, 2012 (view all comments by nataliez)
If one is supposed to rate a book from the past year, this would be it. I really enjoyed knowing more about the man behind the reviews.
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View all 5 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780446584975
Subtitle:
A Memoir
Author:
Ebert, Roger
Publisher:
Grand Central Publishing
Subject:
Biography - General
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20110931
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Film and Television » Biographies
Arts and Entertainment » Film and Television » Criticism and Theory
Arts and Entertainment » Film and Television » Critics
Arts and Entertainment » Film and Television » History and Criticism
Biography » Entertainment and Performing Arts
Biography » General
Featured Titles » Biography

Life Itself: A Memoir Used Hardcover
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$11.50 In Stock
Product details pages Grand Central Publishing - English 9780446584975 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "It's hardly surprising that Ebert, the Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times since 1967, begins this candid examination of an extraordinary life with an allusion to Ingmar Bergman's Persona, about an actress who loses her voice in mid-performance. Though three thyroid cancer surgeries resulting in the removal of his lower jaw have left Ebert unable to speak, eat, or drink, these are not famous last words. Forgoing a traditional linear format, each chapter — particularly 'My Old Man' and 'Big John Wayne' — could function as a stand-alone essay. Born in Urbana, Ill., in 1942, Ebert spent a carefree childhood, often with his nose in a book. Drawn to newspapers beginning in high school, he became the sports reporter for his school paper before rising to the rank of co-editor. The position of film critic fell into his lap at the Sun-Times — a paper he joined after leaving a graduate English program — and Ebert hasn't looked back. And while films have governed his life for close to 50 years, he wisely doesn't choose the greatest hits version of his reviewing career, focusing instead on the life he's lived in between screenings: his battle with alcoholism; tight-knit friendships forged in the newsroom (and bar); and his marriage to Chaz, whom he calls 'the great fact of my life.' Hollywood gets its due, but it's an ensemble player, sharing the screen with reminiscences both witty and passionate from one of our most important cultural voices. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Synopsis" by , World-famous film critic and television host Roger Ebert delivers one of the most eagerly-anticipated memoirs of the year. Roger Ebert has been reviewing films for the Chicago Sun-Times since 1967. The first film critic ever to win a Pulitzer Prize, he has been a fixture on television for over 30 years, co-hosting Siskel & Ebert at the Movies until Gene Siskel's death in 1999, and then with Richard Roeper until 2006. Then, complications from thyroid-cancer treatment resulted in the loss of his ability to eat, drink, or speak. But with the loss of his voice, Ebert has only become a more prolific and influential writer. And now, for the first time, he tells the full, dramatic story of his life and career. He chronicles his loves, losses, and obsessions; his recovery from alcoholism, his marriage, his politics, and his spiritual beliefs. He also provides details about his years at the Sun-Times, his colorful newspaper friends, his friendships with Oprah Winfrey, Studs Terkel, and others, insights into stars like John Wayne, Lee Marvin, and Robert Mitchum, and his perspective on such influential directors as Ingmar Bergman, Martin Scorsese, and Werner Herzog.
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