Legendary L.A. Times arts editor, film critic and columnist Charles Champlin passed yesterday at age 88. I knew him only slightly (i.e., to chat with at parties) in the ’80s and ’90s, but he was never less than elegant, gracious and considerate with me, each and every time. (The best people always make marginal, not-so-important people feel otherwise — that was Champlin.) His L.A. Times heyday lasted 14 years, 1967 to 1980, when he was the top critic. That was a helluva time, of course — the most exciting era in 20th Century filmmaking. Champlin was as sharp as any major critic of his day, and during those flush years he knew the filmmaking community like few others, and I mean on a first-name basis…up, down, over and sideways. Filmmakers loved him (he was known for kind reviews) and respected him as a guy who really got it, who recognized and celebrated the best films and filmmakers. He did very well on his watch.