Person of Interest

Roger Ebert's Struggle

Sometime in 2006, Roger Ebert, perhaps America’s most famous movie critic, took his last drink and ate his last piece of food. The man who knows all of cinema’s famous last words can’t remember his own. Suffering from thyroid cancer, doctors removed Ebert’s lower jaw. With the help of a Scottish company, though, Ebert may get a more-authentic voice back—in a way. CereProc develops custom text-to-speech software, and they can use all those hours of television and commentary the Chicago Sun-Times critic has done to a tailor a new digital voice for him. Ebert, who lives in Chicago with his wife Chaz, who now uses a more-rudimentary voice program still watches and reviews hundreds of movies a year. And he writes and writes, taking to the web to create a journal. “It is saving me,” he tells Chris Jones of Esquire.