To the editor: Charles Champlin was such a humble man. He and I once were sitting next to each other, and we were both scheduled to talk before a huge auditorium of college students about journalism and the people we had interviewed. ("Charles Champlin dies at 88; former L.A. Times arts editor, critic," Nov. 17)
I said to him: "Oh my goodness. I'm so scared being on a panel with someone like you. That they're going to think I don't belong here with someone like you."
He laughed and took my hand and told me, "Every time I get up to speak at one of these things, I think, when are they going to find out?" He reassured me I'd do just fine.
Joan Saunders Wixen, Los Angeles
To the editor: While I was chairman of theater arts at UCLA in the late 1960s, we started to showcase a selection of our students' films in Royce Hall. I came to know Champlin then because he was generous enough to pay attention to these screenings of the new generation's work — as if it was important.
Although it is no longer a mystery that talent can be spotted and nurtured in a film school, Champlin was among the first of the major critics to realize this, and my students benefited from his enthusiasm.
Champlin was a charming and most engaging man.
Sevenoaks, Great Britain
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