Roger Ebert is actually here for HIFF (Hawaiian International Film Festival) but graciously did a book signing on Saturday.
Originally the book signing was for his newest cookbook, “The Pot and How To Use It” but thankfully Barnes and Noble were on site selling his other books as well. (You might recall, he does a “Great Movies” collection, and the most recent is volume III, which is what I actually purchased.)
It was hard not to want to purchase all his books.
After waiting in line, it was my turn to get my book signed. I was so nervous, after all, Roger Ebert has been writing for the Chicago Sun-Times since 1967, is a Pulitzer Prize Winner, a highly acclaimed film critic (and arguably the first in my eyes), has his OWN film festival-Ebertfest, Forbes describes his as “the most powerful pundit in America" and the list goes on and on.
Side note: Many of you probably don’t realize but Roger had been battling thyroid cancer for quite some time and it was his surgery in 2006 that required him to remove tissues near his throat and part of his lower jaw. He continues to write and blog, but now speaks through his wife (who is still by his side.) Here is a picture of me with Roger.
As I was speaking to his wife, I explained how much I enjoy films and with the help of a local magazine, was able to launch a dedicated film newsletter that gets emailed once a week to all our subscribers. His wife listened, and then stopped when she noticed Roger scribbling something on a sticky note inside my book. She asked him why he was signing the sticky note versus the book. He turned the page to show that he had indeed signed the book (which I asked if he could put “To Suzie... An Aspiring Film Critic". After lifting the book, his wife read the note, which asked me to email him a copy of the newsletter and website. This is the point, where I almost faint.
Then he handed the book back to me... and this is what he signed instead.
This is where I want to say from the bottom of my heart, Roger Ebert is the nicest person you will ever meet. He could have been arrogant, he could have cared less. After all, none of my reviews are published in print, yet he listened and showed I mattered. And that is why I love him. What an experience, I will never forget. And... you can bet I will email him.