Roger Ebert's Voice, Out Loud, on Oprah

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>Roger Ebert debuts his new voice on this afternoon's episode of Oprah, and you should have your tissues handy. By now, many have read Esquire's beautifully written and heart-wrenching article about the celebrated writer and film critic's battle with thyroid cancer. While the piece served as most of the general public's first glimpse at Ebert's appearance, today's episode will be a first peek at not only his new voice, but at the future of text-to-speech technology. Teaming up with programmers at a Scottish company, hours of the critic's voice from various DVD commentary tracks have been compiled to create a beta version of his new "voice."

Below is a clip from today's Oprah, which taped last Friday, where he reveals the new technology to his wife of 18 years, Chaz:

While a simple Google search will bring up endless links about Ebert in relation to this TV appearance and the Esquire piece, another article that emerged yesterday over at Deadspin that is noteworthy. The author, Will Leitch, was a onetime mentee of Ebert, and later publicly trashed him in a Web magazine article—which Leitch immediately regretted. (Ebert has since tweeted, "All is forgiven.") In his tough and honest Deadspin post, Leitch offers some points to remember for those planning to watch the Oprah episode:

So, as you watch Ebert on Oprah this week and see him, ready for his closeup, the center of the world at last, if you wonder to yourself, "They're making him into some sort of saint. Is he really that nice of a guy?" ... just know that, yes, he really is that nice of a guy. But more than that, he's a wonderful, soulful writer who is better, and more devoted, than just about anyone in the game.
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Aylin Zafar is a freelance writer based in New York.

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