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Charles Champlin

Charles Champlin
Born Charles Davenport Champlin
(1926-03-23)March 23, 1926
Hammondsport, New York
Died November 16, 2014(2014-11-16) (aged 88)
Los Angeles, California
Occupation Film critic

Charles Davenport Champlin (March 23, 1926 – November 16, 2014) was an American film critic and writer. He is not to be confused with Charlie Chaplin.

Champlin's family has been active in the wine industry in upstate New York since 1855. He served in the infantry in Europe in World War II and was awarded the Purple Heart and battle stars. He graduated from Harvard University in 1948 and joined LIFE magazine.

Champlin was a writer and correspondent for LIFE and TIME magazine for seventeen years, and was a member of the Overseas Press Club. He joined the Los Angeles Times as entertainment editor and columnist in 1965, was its principal film critic from 1967 to 1980, and wrote book reviews and a regular column titled "Critic at Large." He is a founder of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, and has been a board member of the American Cinematheque.

Champlin’s television career began in 1971 when he hosted “Film Odyssey” on PBS, introducing classic films and interviewing major directors. That same year, he hosted an arts series, “Homewood,” also for PBS. For six years he co-hosted a public affairs program, “Citywatchers,” on KCET in Los Angeles with columnist Art Seidenbaum. He has interviewed hundreds of film personalities, first on the Z Channel’s “On the Film Scene” in Los Angeles, then with “Champlin on Film” on Bravo Cable.

Champlin taught film criticism at Loyola Marymount University from 1969 to 1985, was adjunct professor of film at USC from 1985 to 1996, and has also taught at UC Irvine and the AFI Conservatory. He has also written many books, including his biographies Back There where the Past Was (1989) and A Life in Writing (2006).

In 1992, he was a member of the jury at the 42nd Berlin International Film Festival.[1]

In his later years, Champlin had macular degeneration since the late 1990s, and in 2001 wrote My Friend, You Are Legally Blind, a memoir about his struggle with the disease. He died on November 16, 2014, aged 88. He had Alzheimer's disease.[2]


  • The Flicks: Or, Whatever Became of Andy Hardy. 1977, ISBN 0-378-06164-X
  • The Movies Grow Up: 1940-1980. 1982, ISBN 0-8040-0363-7
  • George Lucas: The Creative Impulse. Lucasfilm's First Twenty Years. 1992, ISBN 0-8109-3564-3
  • John Frankenheimer. A Conversation With Charles Champlin. 1995, ISBN 1-880756-09-9
  • Hollywood's Revolutionary Decade Charles Champlin Reviews the Movies of the 1970s. 1998, ISBN 1-880284-26-X
  • Back There Where the Past Was. A Small-Town Boyhood. 1999, ISBN 0-8156-0612-5 (Forward by Ray Bradbury)
  • My Friend You Are Legally Blind A Writer's Struggle with Macular Degeneration Charles Champlin. 2001, ISBN 1-880284-48-0
  • A Life in Writing. The Story of an American Journalist. 2006, ISBN 0-8156-0847-0


  1. ^ "Berlinale: 1992 Juries". Retrieved 2011-03-27. 
  2. ^

External links

  • Internet Movie Database Biography
  • Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences bio
  • Profile of Champlin's ancestors
  • A film clip "The Open Mind - A Critical Mass (1988)" is available for free download at the Internet Archive []
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