On Facebook, Los Angeles Times staff writer Susan King shared the impact made during her formative years by Charles Champlin, the retired editor, film and book critic who passed away Sunday at the age of 88. From her post:
Though I only talked to him twice on the phone, he had changed my life as a teenager. He hosted a series on PBS called Film Odyssey, which showed classic films from the Janus catalog.
One of the first films was Truffaut’s Jules & Jim. That film changed my life. The series changed my life and Champlin changed my life. There’s a big chance I would be doing something else if it wasn’t for that show.
Champlin worked at the Los Angeles Times from 1967 to 1991, joining the paper after stints at Life and Time. Post-retirement, he continued to contribute the paper and also wrote two books, despite becoming legally blind. From the LA Times obituary:
“Charles Champlin was one of the great gentlemen of American film criticism, and a pioneer in showing that mass-market newspaper reviewing could be smart and well-written as well as accessible,” said Times film critic Kenneth Turan.
Every film critic has at least one review they wish they could take back. In the case of Champlin, it might have been the one he wrote for Jaws. RIP.
[Photo of Champlin’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, awarded in 2077: nito/Shutterstock.com]