A Life in Writing: The Story of an American Journalist

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Syracuse University Press, Apr 3, 2006 - Biography & Autobiography - 220 pages
Charles Champlin is best known as a columnist and film critic for the Los Angeles Times. His career as a journalist, however, has spanned decades, first as a writer for Life and later as a London-based correspondent for Time magazine. This book continues where his last memoir left off, with the author moving at the age of sixteen with his mother from Hammondsport, New York, to a village on Oneida Lake. Turning his journalistic eye on his own life, Champlin offers a series of vivid sketches that brings to life the events and people he encounters. His interviews with Peter O'Toole and other theatrical luminaries, his experience working with Henry Luce, and his compassionate reporting are all vividly recounted, revealing the author's personal impressions that richly detail an era. With wry insight and keen observation, Champlin narrates both the daily and the legendary events at Time, offering readers a glimpse into the world of magazine writing and publishing before the age of the computer. Balancing self-portrait with historical narrative, Champlin presents a story of self-discovery in the larger context of a changing world. Relying on retrospection and personal and professional experience, he recalls crucial moments during WWII, the postwar years, and the sixties, reflections that will resonate with many readers. His prosespare and unpretentiousis filled with humor and reveals a veteran writer who has lost none of the wit and wisdom from his earlier memoir.
 

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Contents

Leaving
1
Pop
7
Settling In
12
Discovering Cleveland New York
19
Joe
23
Camden New York
32
Harvard
44
The Army
60
Farewell Fair Harvard
105
Intimations of Life
110
Luce
116
The Future Begins
122
Toddling Town
134
Portrait of a Country Slicker
143
Interlude at 5280 Feet
148
New York Again
158

Combat
72
The Summer of 46
81
Back to Harvard
91
The Last Keuka Lake Summer
99
Welcome to LA
171
Home to England
184
Afterword
202
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

Charles Davenport Champlin was born in Bath, New York on March 23, 1926. During World War II, he joined the Army and saw combat in Germany, where he was injured by a German mortar shell. He received a degree in English from Harvard University in 1948. He worked for Life magazine and for Time magazine before becoming the entertainment editor of The Los Angeles Times in 1965. He was the lead movie critic for The Los Angeles Times from 1967 until 1980 and reviewed books thereafter. He also wrote a column entitled Critic at Large. He wrote several books during his lifetime including Back There Where the Past Was: A Small-Town Boyhood, Hollywood's Revolutionary Decade: Charles Champlin Reviews the Movies of the 1970s, A Life in Writing: The Story of an American Journalist, and My Friend, You Are Legally Blind: A Writer Struggles with Macular Degeneration. He died on November 16, 2014 at the age of 88.

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