Roger Ebert On 'Today': Nobody Told Me I Would Never Speak Again (VIDEO)

09/15/2011 08:59 am ET | Updated Nov 15, 2011

Roger Ebert appeared on the "Today" show Wednesday to promote his new memoir, "Life Itself."

Ebert was once mostly known as America's most famous film critic. In the past few years, however, he has become equally famous for his perseverance through repeated bouts of cancer that forced him to remove part of his jaw and cost him the ability to speak and eat. Ebert, who now uses a computerized voice to communicate, told Natalie Morales that the loss of his voice was a shock to him.

"There was never a time when anyone told me I would never speak again," he said. "Naturally, I felt awful." However, Ebert soon resumed his full-time critic's duty, as well as gaining an ever-wider online readership through his blog and his frequent use of Twitter and Facebook.

Ebert paid tribute to his readers and to his wife Chaz for helping him through such troubling times. And he reflected on Gene Siskel, the man he is still most associated with. Ebert said that Siskel, who died of cancer in 1999, would have been a rock if he was still alive.

"He would have been wholehearted in my corner through these troubles," he said. "Although we argued almost as a way of life, we shared a deep understanding of each other. He would have also continued to make jokes about me: 'well, at least you don't need a bookmark anymore to find your chin!'"