Friday, April 5, 2013

Page 228

"Once inside, I was ready to rush up to the balcony to grab the best available seats, but the red carpet wound its way from the sidewalk and through the lobby of the theater.  It ended at an elevator that took important non-balcony-seating people to their seats down below.  Our group thought it a better move to stand by the red carpet than to find our seats just then.

A man who was obviously very sick walked up behind me.  "That's Gene Siskel!" Carol whispered from my left.  "That is Gene Siskel!"  But it wasn't Gene Siskel because Gene Siskel had been dead for close to a decade.  

It was Roger Ebert.  No one recognized him or bothered him or even said anything to him.  He stood next to me, patiently, until a woman escorted him to the elevator."

A couple of years later, when Roger Ebert was interviewed by Oprah, I learned that the woman I'd seen come to his aid was his wife.  A chance event, and one in which no words were exchanged, but something I will never forget:  waiting silently with Roger Ebert to go into the theater to see Rendition.

May he rest in peace.

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