Roger Ebert will continue to be all thumbs for the time being.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic and veteran half of the reviewfest At the Movies with Ebert & Roeper announced Tuesday that he's now healthy enough to continue his life's work, albeit only on paper.
"I am at last returning to the movie beat," Ebert, who underwent surgery in 2006 to remove a cancerous growth on his salivary gland, wrote in a letter printed by his longtime medium of choice, the Chicago Sun-Times.
"After my current stay at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, I’m looking forward to opening night of my annual film festival at the University of Illinois on April 23, and I will resume writing movie reviews shortly thereafter."
Alas, he said, a third surgery performed in January—he underwent a second procedure in 2006 to repair a burst blood vessel, a complication from the first operation—did not restore his ability to speak, as he had hoped. The 65-year-old journalist says he'll have to undergo yet another surgery to deal with that.
"But I still have all my other abilities, including the love of viewing movies and writing about them," Ebert continued. "And at my side I have my angelic wife, Chaz."
In the meantime, he says he's cancer-free and "should be content with the abundance I have."
Ebert also underwent surgery in 2002 to remove a cancerous tumor from his thyroid gland and then again twice the following year to tackle growths on his salivary gland.
Sun-Times columnist Richard Roeper was permanently installed as Ebert's TV cohost in 2000, a year after the death of Ebert's longtime fellow balcony inhabitant, Chicago Tribune critic Gene Siskel.
Their syndicated show, once titled Siskel & Ebert, subsequently underwent several name changes, starting out as Ebert & Roeper and the Movies before being shortened to just Ebert & Roeper and then finally winding up At the Movies with Ebert & Roeper.
Roeper has continued to preside over the show in Ebert's absence, during which he's filled the empty chair with guest hosts such as Kevin Smith, Jay Leno, Harold Ramis, Fred Willard, John Mellencamp and, more often than not lately, prominent critics from major outlets like the New York Times and National Public Radio.