March 2nd, 2010
02:04 PM ET

Roger Ebert debuts his 'new voice' on 'Oprah'

Breeanna Hare

Renowned film critic Roger Ebert hasn't been able to speak for the past four years, but that doesn't mean he's been silent.

The Chicago-based author still pens film reviews, posts updates on his online journal, and offers his picks for the Academy Awards, as he did on Tuesday's "Oprah Winfrey Show," using a computer-generated voice that sounds remarkably similar to his own.

Until recently, Ebert communicated with hand signals and monotone text-to-speech software.

When Ebert sat down for an interview for Esquire magazine's March issue that chronicled his life since he lost his voice to thyroid cancer, he said he had used an English voice with his text-to-speech software, which he named "Lawrence." But "Lawrence" had a tendency towards odd phrasing and Ebert ultimately settled for something more generically American.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Film • Oprah Winfrey
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