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Roger Ebert, before and after: Movie critic reveals his new prosthetic jaw

January 21, 2011 |  1:10 pm

Roger Ebert before and after his prosthetic jaw and surgery Film critic Roger Ebert posted a picture Friday on his Chicago Sun-Times blog, showing the prosthetic jaw he will wear  Friday night for the premiere of "Ebert Presents at the Movies," the newest incarnation of the dueling-critics movie review show that originated in 1986. 

Ebert will do a segment on each show, hosted by critics Ignatiy Vishnevetsky and Christy Lemire.

The device, top right, is "not to fool anyone, because my appearance is widely known," Ebert wrote on his blog. "It will be used in a medium shot of me working in my office, and will be a pleasant reminder of the person I was for 64 years." He said he's OK with how he looks, and will not wear the prosthetic at all times.

Compare the new made-for-TV look with pictures of Ebert over the years: Bottom right is Ebert last week at "The Dilemma" premiere, having lost most of his jaw to various surgeries over the years in the wake of a 2002 cancer diagnosis. Bottom left, the critic in 1986; and top left, the face familiar to most fans, in a 1999 picture.

It took two years, he wrote, to develop the silicon device. Older pictures of him -- plus a bust sculpted by a friend for art class -- were used as models, and a sufficiently soft material was found after a couple of tries.

It was designed to "pass muster at a certain distance," Ebert wrote.

For a better idea of what viewers on the show can expect amd more details on the process, check out Ebert's blog, which has the full photo snapped when the device was fitted, but before it was colored to match his skin. The picture was taken by David Rotter of the University of Illinois, who helped build the device.

Ebert worked for years with Gene Siskel, who died in 1999 of complications of brain surgery. The new show will be seen on public TV.


Roger Ebert makes final 'At the Movies' cohost pick: Ignatiy Vishnevetsky

-- Christie D'Zurilla

Photos, clockwise from top right: Ebert wearing his new prosthetic jaw, in an image posted Friday on his blog; the critic on Jan. 14, 2011; in 1986; and in 1999. Credits, clockwise from top right: Roger Ebert; Tannen Maury / EPA; BusinessWire; BusinessWire.