Charles Champlin, Former L.A. Times Film Critic, Dead at 88

The arts editor and columnist spent 26 years at the Los Angeles paper

Los Angeles Times arts editor and film critic Charles Champlin died in his home in Los Angeles on Sunday. He was 88.

The cause of death was due to complications of Alzheimer’s disease, his son, Charles Champlin Jr. told The Times. Champlin spent 26 years at the The Times and held the position of principal film critic from 1967 to 1980.

Following his tenure as film critic, Champlin moved into reviewing books and authored a “Critic at Large” column on the arts. He hosted television shows on several networks, among them PBS’ “Film Odyssey” (1972), showcasing classic films and featuring interviews from filmmakers like Alfred Hitchcock. In the early 1970s, he also hosted “Citywatchers” alongside Times writer Art Seidenbaum, discussing local cultural issues.

His books on the film industry include “The Flicks: Or, Whatever Became of Andy Hardy” (1975); “George Lucas: The Creative Impulse” (1992); and “A Life in Writing: The Story of an American Journalist” (2006).

In the 1990s, Champlin was diagnosed with macular degeneration and became legally blind. He wrote a book about the disease, “My Friend, You are Legally Blind,” and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2007.

Champlin is survived by his son Charles Jr., Margaret (Peggy) Derby Champlin, his wife of 66 years; daughters Katherine Laundrie, Judith Desmond, Susan Champlin and Nancy Cecconi; son John of Valencia; 13 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

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