|Height:||165 cm (5' 5'')|
|Birth Day:||April 16, 1889|
|Death Date:||Dec 25, 1977 (age 88)|
|Birth Place:||Walworth, England|
|Youtube Channel:||Charlie Chaplin|
|#1||Annette Emily Chaplin||Daughter||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|#4||Geraldine Chaplin||Daughter||$20 Million||N/A||76||Theater Personalities|
|#5||Mildred Harris||Former spouse||$1 Million - $2 Million (Approx.)||N/A||22||Actor|
|#6||Paulette Goddard||Former spouse||$1 Million - $2 Million (Approx.)||N/A||79||Actor|
|#7||Lita Grey||Former spouse||$1 Million - $2 Million (Approx.)||N/A||112||Actor|
|#8||Oona Chaplin||Granddaughter||$7 Million||N/A||34||Actor|
|#9||Norman Spencer Chaplin||Son||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|#11||Michael Chaplin||Son||$1 Million - $2 Million (Approx.)||N/A||74||Actor|
|#12||Sydney Chaplin||Son||$1 Million - $2 Million (Approx.)||N/A||80||Actor|
|#13||Oona O'Neill||Spouse||$1 Million - $2 Million (Approx.)||N/A||66||Celebrity Family Member|
As per our current Database, Charlie Chaplin died on Dec 25, 1977 (age 88).
|Height||Weight||Hair Colour||Eye Colour||Blood Type||Tattoo(s)|
|165 cm (5' 5'')||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
He was forced to live in a workhouse at the age of seven, and his mother was sent to a mental asylum. When he was fourteen, he began touring as a comedian, and when he was 19, he moved to America with the Fred Karno company.
Charlie Chaplin plays for the team Charlie Chaplin
Charles Spencer Chaplin was born on 16 April 1889 to Hannah Chaplin (born Hannah Harriet Pedlingham Hill) and Charles Chaplin Sr. There is no official record of his birth, although Chaplin believed he was born at East Street, Walworth, in South London. His parents had married four years previously, at which time Charles Sr. became the legal guardian of Hannah's illegitimate son, Sydney John Hill. At the time of his birth, Chaplin's parents were both music hall entertainers. Hannah, the daughter of a shoemaker, had a brief and unsuccessful career under the stage name Lily Harley, while Charles Sr., a butcher's son, was a popular singer. Although they never divorced, Chaplin's parents were estranged by around 1891. The following year, Hannah gave birth to a third son, George Wheeler Dryden, fathered by the music hall entertainer Leo Dryden. The child was taken by Dryden at six months old, and did not re-enter Chaplin's life for thirty years.
Chaplin's childhood was fraught with poverty and hardship, making his eventual trajectory "the most dramatic of all the rags to riches stories ever told" according to his authorised biographer David Robinson. Chaplin's early years were spent with his mother and brother Sydney in the London district of Kennington; Hannah had no means of income, other than occasional nursing and dressmaking, and Chaplin Sr. provided no financial support. As the situation deteriorated, Chaplin was sent to Lambeth Workhouse when he was seven years old. The council housed him at the Central London District School for paupers, which Chaplin remembered as "a forlorn existence". He was briefly reunited with his mother 18 months later, before Hannah was forced to readmit her family to the workhouse in July 1898. The boys were promptly sent to Norwood Schools, another institution for destitute children.
In September 1898, Hannah was committed to Cane Hill mental asylum; she had developed a psychosis seemingly brought on by an infection of syphilis and malnutrition. For the two months she was there, Chaplin and his brother Sydney were sent to live with their father, whom the young boys scarcely knew. Charles Sr. was by then a severe alcoholic, and life there was bad enough to provoke a visit from the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. Chaplin's father died two years later, at 38 years old, from cirrhosis of the liver.
Hannah entered a period of remission but, in May 1903, became ill again. Chaplin, then 14, had the task of taking his mother to the infirmary, from where she was sent back to Cane Hill. He lived alone for several days, searching for food and occasionally sleeping rough, until Sydney – who had joined the Navy two years earlier – returned. Hannah was released from the asylum eight months later, but in March 1905, her illness returned, this time permanently. "There was nothing we could do but accept poor mother's fate," Chaplin later wrote, and she remained in care until her death in 1928.
In the years Chaplin was touring with the Eight Lancashire Lads, his mother ensured that he still attended school but, by age 13, he had abandoned education. He supported himself with a range of jobs, while nursing his ambition to become an actor. At 14, shortly after his mother's relapse, he registered with a theatrical agency in London's West End. The manager sensed potential in Chaplin, who was promptly given his first role as a newsboy in Harry Arthur Saintsbury's Jim, a Romance of Cockayne. It opened in July 1903, but the show was unsuccessful and closed after two weeks. Chaplin's comic performance, however, was singled out for praise in many of the reviews.
Saintsbury secured a role for Chaplin in Charles Frohman's production of Sherlock Holmes, where he played Billy the pageboy in three nationwide tours. His performance was so well received that he was called to London to play the role alongside William Gillette, the original Holmes. "It was like tidings from heaven," Chaplin recalled. At 16 years old, Chaplin starred in the play's West End production at the Duke of York's Theatre from October to December 1905. He completed one final tour of Sherlock Holmes in early 1906, before leaving the play after more than two-and-a-half years.
Chaplin soon found work with a new company and went on tour with his brother, who was also pursuing an acting career, in a comedy sketch called Repairs. In May 1906, Chaplin joined the juvenile act Casey's Circus, where he developed popular burlesque pieces and was soon the star of the show. By the time the act finished touring in July 1907, the 18-year-old had become an accomplished comedic performer. He struggled to find more work, however, and a brief attempt at a solo act was a failure.
Meanwhile, Sydney Chaplin had joined Fred Karno's prestigious comedy company in 1906 and, by 1908, he was one of their key performers. In February, he managed to secure a two-week trial for his younger brother. Karno was initially wary, and considered Chaplin a "pale, puny, sullen-looking youngster" who "looked much too shy to do any good in the theatre". However, the teenager made an impact on his first night at the London Coliseum and he was quickly signed to a contract. Chaplin began by playing a series of minor parts, eventually progressing to starring roles in 1909. In April 1910, he was given the lead in a new sketch, Jimmy the Fearless. It was a big success, and Chaplin received considerable press attention.
Karno selected his new star to join the section of the company, one that also included Stan Laurel, that toured North America's vaudeville circuit. The young comedian headed the show and impressed reviewers, being described as "one of the best pantomime artists ever seen here". His most successful role was a drunk called the "Inebriate Swell", which drew him significant recognition. The tour lasted 21 months, and the troupe returned to England in June 1912. Chaplin recalled that he "had a disquieting feeling of sinking back into a depressing commonplaceness" and was, therefore, delighted when a new tour began in October.
Six months into the second American tour, Chaplin was invited to join the New York Motion Picture Company. A representative who had seen his performances thought he could replace Fred Mace, a star of their Keystone Studios who intended to leave. Chaplin thought the Keystone comedies "a crude mélange of rough and rumble", but liked the idea of working in films and rationalised: "Besides, it would mean a new life." He met with the company and signed a $150-per-week contract in September 1913. Chaplin arrived in Los Angeles in early December, and began working for the Keystone studio on 5 January 1914.
Chaplin's boss was Mack Sennett, who initially expressed concern that the 24-year-old looked too young. He was not used in a picture until late January, during which time Chaplin attempted to learn the processes of filmmaking. The one-reeler Making a Living marked his film acting debut and was released on 2 February 1914. Chaplin strongly disliked the picture, but one review picked him out as "a comedian of the first water". For his second appearance in front of the camera, Chaplin selected the costume with which he became identified. He described the process in his autobiography:
The film was Mabel's Strange Predicament, but "the Tramp" character, as it became known, debuted to audiences in Kid Auto Races at Venice – shot later than Mabel's Strange Predicament but released two days earlier on 7 February 1914. Chaplin adopted the character as his screen persona and attempted to make suggestions for the films he appeared in. These ideas were dismissed by his directors. During the filming of his eleventh picture, Mabel at the Wheel, he clashed with director Mabel Normand and was almost released from his contract. Sennett kept him on, however, when he received orders from exhibitors for more Chaplin films. Sennett also allowed Chaplin to direct his next film himself after Chaplin promised to pay $1,500 ($38,803 in 2019 dollars) if the film was unsuccessful.
Caught in the Rain, issued 4 May 1914, was Chaplin's directorial debut and was highly successful. Thereafter he directed almost every short film in which he appeared for Keystone, at the rate of approximately one per week, a period which he later remembered as the most exciting time of his career. Chaplin's films introduced a slower form of comedy than the typical Keystone farce, and he developed a large fan base. In November 1914, he had a supporting role in the first feature length comedy film, Tillie's Punctured Romance, directed by Sennett and starring Marie Dressler, which was a commercial success and increased his popularity. When Chaplin's contract came up for renewal at the end of the year, he asked for $1,000 a week ($25,869 in 2019 dollars) – an amount Sennett refused as too large.
During 1915, Chaplin became a cultural phenomenon. Shops were stocked with Chaplin merchandise, he was featured in cartoons and comic strips, and several songs were written about him. In July, a journalist for Motion Picture Magazine wrote that "Chaplinitis" had spread across America. As his fame grew worldwide, he became the film industry's first international star. When the Essanay contract ended in December 1915, Chaplin, fully aware of his popularity, requested a $150,000 signing bonus from his next studio. He received several offers, including Universal, Fox, and Vitagraph, the best of which came from the Mutual Film Corporation at $10,000 a week.
Mutual gave Chaplin his own Los Angeles studio to work in, which opened in March 1916. He added two key members to his stock company, Albert Austin and Eric Campbell, and produced a series of elaborate two-reelers: The Floorwalker, The Fireman, The Vagabond, One A.M., and The Count. For The Pawnshop, he recruited the actor Henry Bergman, who was to work with Chaplin for 30 years. Behind the Screen and The Rink completed Chaplin's releases for 1916. The Mutual contract stipulated that he release a two-reel film every four weeks, which he had managed to achieve. With the new year, however, Chaplin began to demand more time. He made only four more films for Mutual over the first ten months of 1917: Easy Street, The Cure, The Immigrant, and The Adventurer. With their careful construction, these films are considered by Chaplin scholars to be among his finest work. Later in life, Chaplin referred to his Mutual years as the happiest period of his career. However, Chaplin also felt that those films became increasingly formulaic over the period of the contract and he was increasingly dissatisfied with the working conditions encouraging that.
Chaplin was attacked in the British media for not fighting in the First World War. He defended himself, claiming that he would fight for Britain if called and had registered for the American draft, but he was not summoned by either country. Despite this criticism Chaplin was a favourite with the troops, and his popularity continued to grow worldwide. Harper's Weekly reported that the name of Charlie Chaplin was "a part of the common language of almost every country", and that the Tramp image was "universally familiar". In 1917, professional Chaplin imitators were so widespread that he took legal action, and it was reported that nine out of ten men who attended costume parties, did so dressed as the Tramp. The same year, a study by the Boston Society for Psychical Research concluded that Chaplin was "an American obsession". The actress Minnie Maddern Fiske wrote that "a constantly increasing body of cultured, artistic people are beginning to regard the young English buffoon, Charles Chaplin, as an extraordinary artist, as well as a comic genius".
Mutual was patient with Chaplin's decreased rate of output, and the contract ended amicably. With his aforementioned concern about the declining quality of his films because of contract scheduling stipulations, Chaplin's primary concern in finding a new distributor was independence; Sydney Chaplin, then his business manager, told the press, "Charlie [must] be allowed all the time he needs and all the money for producing [films] the way he wants ... It is quality, not quantity, we are after." In June 1917, Chaplin signed to complete eight films for First National Exhibitors' Circuit in return for $1 million ($20 million today). He chose to build his own studio, situated on five acres of land off Sunset Boulevard, with production facilities of the highest order. It was completed in January 1918, and Chaplin was given freedom over the making of his pictures.
In January 1918, Chaplin was visited by leading British singer and comedian Harry Lauder, and the two acted in a short film together.
A Dog's Life, released April 1918, was the first film under the new contract. In it, Chaplin demonstrated his increasing concern with story construction and his treatment of the Tramp as "a sort of Pierrot". The film was described by Louis Delluc as "cinema's first total work of art". Chaplin then embarked on the Third Liberty Bond campaign, touring the United States for one month to raise money for the Allies of the First World War. He also produced a short propaganda film at his own expense, donated to the government for fund-raising, called The Bond. Chaplin's next release was war-based, placing the Tramp in the trenches for Shoulder Arms. Associates warned him against making a comedy about the war but, as he later recalled: "Dangerous or not, the idea excited me." He spent four months filming the 45-minute-long picture, which was released in October 1918 with great success.
Before the creation of United Artists, Chaplin married for the first time. The 16-year-old actress Mildred Harris had revealed that she was pregnant with his child, and in September 1918, he married her quietly in Los Angeles to avoid controversy. Soon after, the pregnancy was found to be false. Chaplin was unhappy with the union and, feeling that marriage stunted his creativity, struggled over the production of his film Sunnyside. Harris was by then legitimately pregnant, and on 7 July 1919, gave birth to a son. Norman Spencer Chaplin was born malformed and died three days later. The marriage ended in April 1920, with Chaplin explaining in his autobiography that they were "irreconcilably mismated".
After the release of Shoulder Arms, Chaplin requested more money from First National, which was refused. Frustrated with their lack of concern for quality, and worried about rumours of a possible merger between the company and Famous Players-Lasky, Chaplin joined forces with Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, and D. W. Griffith to form a new distribution company, United Artists, in January 1919. The arrangement was revolutionary in the film industry, as it enabled the four partners – all creative artists – to personally fund their pictures and have complete control. Chaplin was eager to start with the new company and offered to buy out his contract with First National. They refused and insisted that he complete the final six films owed.
Losing the child, plus his own childhood experiences, are thought to have influenced Chaplin's next film, which turned the Tramp into the caretaker of a young boy. For this new venture, Chaplin also wished to do more than comedy and, according to Louvish, "make his mark on a changed world". Filming on The Kid began in August 1919, with four-year-old Jackie Coogan his co-star. The Kid was in production for nine months until May 1920 and, at 68 minutes, it was Chaplin's longest picture to date. Dealing with issues of poverty and parent–child separation, The Kid was one of the earliest films to combine comedy and drama. It was released in January 1921 with instant success, and, by 1924, had been screened in over 50 countries.
Chaplin spent five months on his next film, the two-reeler The Idle Class. Following its September 1921 release, he chose to return to England for the first time in almost a decade. He wrote a book about his journey, titled "My Wonderful Visit". He then worked to fulfil his First National contract, releasing Pay Day in February 1922. The Pilgrim, his final short film, was delayed by distribution disagreements with the studio and released a year later.
Having fulfilled his First National contract, Chaplin was free to make his first picture as an independent producer. In November 1922, he began filming A Woman of Paris, a romantic drama about ill-fated lovers. Chaplin intended it to be a star-making vehicle for Edna Purviance, and did not appear in the picture himself other than in a brief, uncredited cameo. He wished the film to have a realistic feel and directed his cast to give restrained performances. In real life, he explained, "men and women try to hide their emotions rather than seek to express them". A Woman of Paris premiered in September 1923 and was acclaimed for its innovative, subtle approach. The public, however, seemed to have little interest in a Chaplin film without Chaplin, and it was a box office disappointment. The filmmaker was hurt by this failure – he had long wanted to produce a dramatic film and was proud of the result – and soon withdrew A Woman of Paris from circulation.
Chaplin returned to comedy for his next project. Setting his standards high, he told himself "This next film must be an epic! The Greatest!" Inspired by a photograph of the 1898 Klondike Gold Rush, and later the story of the Donner Party of 1846–1847, he made what Geoffrey Macnab calls "an epic comedy out of grim subject matter". In The Gold Rush, the Tramp is a lonely prospector fighting adversity and looking for love. With Georgia Hale as his leading lady, Chaplin began filming the picture in February 1924. Its elaborate production, costing almost $1 million, included location shooting in the Truckee mountains in Nevada with 600 extras, extravagant sets, and special effects. The last scene was shot in May 1925 after 15 months of filming.
While making The Gold Rush, Chaplin married for the second time. Mirroring the circumstances of his first union, Lita Grey was a teenage actress, originally set to star in the film, whose surprise announcement of pregnancy forced Chaplin into marriage. She was 16 and he was 35, meaning Chaplin could have been charged with statutory rape under California law. He therefore arranged a discreet marriage in Mexico on 25 November 1924. They originally met during her childhood and she had previously appeared in his works The Kid and The Idle Class. Their first son, Charles Spencer Chaplin, Jr., was born on 5 May 1925, followed by Sydney Earl Chaplin on 30 March 1926.
Chaplin felt The Gold Rush was the best film he had made. It opened in August 1925 and became one of the highest-grossing films of the silent era with a U.S. box-office of $5 million. The comedy contains some of Chaplin's most famous sequences, such as the Tramp eating his shoe and the "Dance of the Rolls". Macnab has called it "the quintessential Chaplin film". Chaplin stated at its release, "This is the picture that I want to be remembered by".
Chaplin's silent films typically follow the Tramp's efforts to survive in a hostile world. The character lives in poverty and is frequently treated badly, but remains kind and upbeat; defying his social position, he strives to be seen as a gentleman. As Chaplin said in 1925, "The whole point of the Little Fellow is that no matter how down on his ass he is, no matter how well the jackals succeed in tearing him apart, he's still a man of dignity." The Tramp defies authority figures and "gives as good as he gets", leading Robinson and Louvish to see him as a representative for the underprivileged – an "everyman turned heroic saviour". Hansmeyer notes that several of Chaplin's films end with "the homeless and lonely Tramp [walking] optimistically ... into the sunset ... to continue his journey."
It was an unhappy marriage, and Chaplin spent long hours at the studio to avoid seeing his wife. In November 1926, Grey took the children and left the family home. A bitter divorce followed, in which Grey's application – accusing Chaplin of infidelity, abuse, and of harbouring "perverted sexual desires" – was leaked to the press. Chaplin was reported to be in a state of nervous breakdown, as the story became headline news and groups formed across America calling for his films to be banned. Eager to end the case without further scandal, Chaplin's lawyers agreed to a cash settlement of $600,000 – the largest awarded by American courts at that time. His fan base was strong enough to survive the incident, and it was soon forgotten, but Chaplin was deeply affected by it.
Before the divorce suit was filed, Chaplin had begun work on a new film, The Circus. He built a story around the idea of walking a tightrope while besieged by monkeys, and turned the Tramp into the accidental star of a circus. Filming was suspended for ten months while he dealt with the divorce scandal, and it was generally a trouble-ridden production. Finally completed in October 1927, The Circus was released in January 1928 to a positive reception. At the 1st Academy Awards, Chaplin was given a special trophy "For versatility and genius in acting, writing, directing and producing The Circus". Despite its success, he permanently associated the film with the stress of its production; Chaplin omitted The Circus from his autobiography, and struggled to work on it when he recorded the score in his later years.
Chaplin received three Academy Awards: an Honorary Award for "versatility and genius in acting, writing, directing, and producing The Circus" in 1929, a second Honorary Award for "the incalculable effect he has had in making motion pictures the art form of this century" in 1972, and a Best Score award in 1973 for Limelight (shared with Ray Rasch and Larry Russell). He was further nominated in the Best Actor, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Picture (as producer) categories for The Great Dictator, and received another Best Original Screenplay nomination for Monsieur Verdoux. In 1976, Chaplin was made a Fellow of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA).
Chaplin finished editing City Lights in December 1930, by which time silent films were an anachronism. A preview before an unsuspecting public audience was not a success, but a showing for the press produced positive reviews. One journalist wrote, "Nobody in the world but Charlie Chaplin could have done it. He is the only person that has that peculiar something called 'audience appeal' in sufficient quality to defy the popular penchant for movies that talk." Given its general release in January 1931, City Lights proved to be a popular and financial success, eventually grossing over $3 million. The British Film Institute cites it as Chaplin's finest accomplishment, and the critic James Agee hails the closing scene as "the greatest piece of acting and the highest moment in movies". City Lights became Chaplin's personal favourite of his films and remained so throughout his life.
City Lights had been a success, but Chaplin was unsure if he could make another picture without dialogue. He remained convinced that sound would not work in his films, but was also "obsessed by a depressing fear of being old-fashioned". In this state of uncertainty, early in 1931, the comedian decided to take a holiday and ended up travelling for 16 months. He spent months travelling Western Europe, including extended stays in France and Switzerland, and spontaneously decided to visit Japan. The day after he arrived in Japan, Prime Minister Inukai Tsuyoshi was assassinated by ultra-nationalists in the May 15 Incident. The group's original plan had been to provoke a war with the United States by assassinating Chaplin at a welcome reception organised by the prime minister, but the plan had been foiled due to delayed public announcement of the event's date.
In his autobiography, Chaplin recalled that on his return to Los Angeles, "I was confused and without plan, restless and conscious of an extreme loneliness". He briefly considered retiring and moving to China. Chaplin's loneliness was relieved when he met 21-year-old actress Paulette Goddard in July 1932, and the pair began a relationship. He was not ready to commit to a film, however, and focused on writing a serial about his travels (published in Woman's Home Companion). The trip had been a stimulating experience for Chaplin, including meetings with several prominent thinkers, and he became increasingly interested in world affairs. The state of labour in America troubled him, and he feared that capitalism and machinery in the workplace would increase unemployment levels. It was these concerns that stimulated Chaplin to develop his new film.
Modern Times was announced by Chaplin as "a satire on certain phases of our industrial life". Featuring the Tramp and Goddard as they endure the Great Depression, it took ten and a half months to film. Chaplin intended to use spoken dialogue but changed his mind during rehearsals. Like its predecessor, Modern Times employed sound effects but almost no speaking. Chaplin's performance of a gibberish song did, however, give the Tramp a voice for the only time on film. After recording the music, Chaplin released Modern Times in February 1936. It was his first feature in 15 years to adopt political references and social realism, a factor that attracted considerable press coverage despite Chaplin's attempts to downplay the issue. The film earned less at the box-office than his previous features and received mixed reviews, as some viewers disliked the politicising. Today, Modern Times is seen by the British Film Institute as one of Chaplin's "great features", while David Robinson says it shows the filmmaker at "his unrivalled peak as a creator of visual comedy".
Chaplin spent two years developing the script and began filming in September 1939, six days after Britain declared war on Germany. He had submitted to using spoken dialogue, partly out of acceptance that he had no other choice, but also because he recognised it as a better method for delivering a political message. Making a comedy about Hitler was seen as highly controversial, but Chaplin's financial independence allowed him to take the risk. "I was determined to go ahead," he later wrote, "for Hitler must be laughed at." Chaplin replaced the Tramp (while wearing similar attire) with "A Jewish Barber", a reference to the Nazi party's belief that he was Jewish. In a dual performance, he also played the dictator "Adenoid Hynkel", who parodied Hitler.
The Great Dictator spent a year in production and was released in October 1940. The film generated a vast amount of publicity, with a critic for The New York Times calling it "the most eagerly awaited picture of the year", and it was one of the biggest money-makers of the era. The ending was unpopular, however, and generated controversy. Chaplin concluded the film with a five-minute speech in which he abandoned his barber character, looked directly into the camera, and pleaded against war and fascism. Charles J. Maland has identified this overt preaching as triggering a decline in Chaplin's popularity, and writes, "Henceforth, no movie fan would ever be able to separate the dimension of politics from [his] star image". Nevertheless, both Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt liked the film, which they saw at private screenings before its release. Roosevelt subsequently invited Chaplin to read the film's final speech over the radio during his January 1941 inauguration, with the speech becoming a "hit" of the celebration. Chaplin was often invited to other patriotic functions to read the speech to audiences during the years of the war. The Great Dictator received five Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay and Best Actor.
Following the release of Modern Times, Chaplin left with Goddard for a trip to the Far East. The couple had refused to comment on the nature of their relationship, and it was not known whether they were married or not. Some time later, Chaplin revealed that they married in Canton during this trip. By 1938, the couple had drifted apart, as both focused heavily on their work, although Goddard was again his leading lady in his next feature film, The Great Dictator. She eventually divorced Chaplin in Mexico in 1942, citing incompatibility and separation for more than a year.
Barry's child, Carol Ann, was born in October 1943, and the paternity suit went to court in December 1944. After two arduous trials, in which the prosecuting lawyer accused him of "moral turpitude", Chaplin was declared to be the father. Evidence from blood tests which indicated otherwise were not admissible, and the judge ordered Chaplin to pay child support until Carol Ann turned 21. Media coverage of the paternity suit was influenced by the FBI, as information was fed to the prominent gossip columnist Hedda Hopper, and Chaplin was portrayed in an overwhelmingly critical light.
The director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), J. Edgar Hoover, who had long been suspicious of Chaplin's political leanings, used the opportunity to generate negative publicity about him. As part of a smear campaign to damage Chaplin's image, the FBI named him in four indictments related to the Barry case. Most serious of these was an alleged violation of the Mann Act, which prohibits the transportation of women across state boundaries for sexual purposes. The historian Otto Friedrich has called this an "absurd prosecution" of an "ancient statute", yet if Chaplin was found guilty, he faced 23 years in jail. Three charges lacked sufficient evidence to proceed to court, but the Mann Act trial began on 21 March 1944. Chaplin was acquitted two weeks later, on 4 April. The case was frequently headline news, with Newsweek calling it the "biggest public relations scandal since the Fatty Arbuckle murder trial in 1921".
Chaplin claimed that the Barry trials had "crippled [his] creativeness", and it was some time before he began working again. In April 1946, he finally began filming a project that had been in development since 1942. Monsieur Verdoux was a black comedy, the story of a French bank clerk, Verdoux (Chaplin), who loses his job and begins marrying and murdering wealthy widows to support his family. Chaplin's inspiration for the project came from Orson Welles, who wanted him to star in a film about the French serial killer Henri Désiré Landru. Chaplin decided that the concept would "make a wonderful comedy", and paid Welles $5,000 for the idea.
Chaplin again vocalised his political views in Monsieur Verdoux, criticising capitalism and arguing that the world encourages mass killing through wars and weapons of mass destruction. Because of this, the film met with controversy when it was released in April 1947; Chaplin was booed at the premiere, and there were calls for a boycott. Monsieur Verdoux was the first Chaplin release that failed both critically and commercially in the United States. It was more successful abroad, and Chaplin's screenplay was nominated at the Academy Awards. He was proud of the film, writing in his autobiography, "Monsieur Verdoux is the cleverest and most brilliant film I have yet made."
The negative reaction to Monsieur Verdoux was largely the result of changes in Chaplin's public image. Along with damage of the Joan Barry scandal, he was publicly accused of being a communist. His political activity had heightened during World War II, when he campaigned for the opening of a Second Front to help the Soviet Union and supported various Soviet–American friendship groups. He was also friendly with several suspected communists, and attended functions given by Soviet diplomats in Los Angeles. In the political climate of 1940s America, such activities meant Chaplin was considered, as Larcher writes, "dangerously progressive and amoral". The FBI wanted him out of the country, and launched an official investigation in early 1947.
Filming began in November 1951, by which time Chaplin had spent three years working on the story. He aimed for a more serious tone than any of his previous films, regularly using the word "melancholy" when explaining his plans to his co-star Claire Bloom. Limelight featured a cameo appearance from Buster Keaton, whom Chaplin cast as his stage partner in a pantomime scene. This marked the only time the comedians worked together in a feature film.
Chaplin decided to hold the world premiere of Limelight in London, since it was the setting of the film. As he left Los Angeles, he expressed a premonition that he would not be returning. At New York, he boarded the RMS Queen Elizabeth with his family on 18 September 1952. The next day, United States Attorney General James P. McGranery revoked Chaplin's re-entry permit and stated that he would have to submit to an interview concerning his political views and moral behaviour to re-enter the US. Although McGranery told the press that he had "a pretty good case against Chaplin", Maland has concluded, on the basis of the FBI files that were released in the 1980s, that the US government had no real evidence to prevent Chaplin's re-entry. It is likely that he would have gained entry if he had applied for it. However, when Chaplin received a cablegram informing him of the news, he privately decided to cut his ties with the United States:
Chaplin did not attempt to return to the United States after his re-entry permit was revoked, and instead sent his wife to settle his affairs. The couple decided to settle in Switzerland and, in January 1953, the family moved into their permanent home: Manoir de Ban, a 14-hectare (35-acre) estate overlooking Lake Geneva in Corsier-sur-Vevey. Chaplin put his Beverly Hills house and studio up for sale in March, and surrendered his re-entry permit in April. The next year, his wife renounced her US citizenship and became a British citizen. Chaplin severed the last of his professional ties with the United States in 1955, when he sold the remainder of his stock in United Artists, which had been in financial difficulty since the early 1940s.
Chaplin remained a controversial figure throughout the 1950s, especially after he was awarded the International Peace Prize by the communist-led World Peace Council, and after his meetings with Zhou Enlai and Nikita Khrushchev. He began developing his first European film, A King in New York, in 1954. Casting himself as an exiled king who seeks asylum in the United States, Chaplin included several of his recent experiences in the screenplay. His son, Michael, was cast as a boy whose parents are targeted by the FBI, while Chaplin's character faces accusations of communism. The political satire parodied HUAC and attacked elements of 1950s culture – including consumerism, plastic surgery, and wide-screen cinema. In a review, the playwright John Osborne called it Chaplin's "most bitter" and "most openly personal" film. In a 1957 interview, when asked to clarify his political views, Chaplin stated "As for politics, I am an anarchist. I hate government and rules – and fetters ... People must be free."
Chaplin's compositions produced three popular songs. "Smile", composed originally for Modern Times (1936) and later set to lyrics by John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons, was a hit for Nat King Cole in 1954. For Limelight, Chaplin composed "Terry's Theme", which was popularised by Jimmy Young as "Eternally" (1952). Finally, "This Is My Song", performed by Petula Clark for A Countess from Hong Kong (1967), reached number one on the UK and other European charts. Chaplin also received his only competitive Oscar for his composition work, as the Limelight theme won an Academy Award for Best Original Score in 1973 following the film's re-release.
Chaplin founded a new production company, Attica, and used Shepperton Studios for the shooting. Filming in England proved a difficult experience, as he was used to his own Hollywood studio and familiar crew, and no longer had limitless production time. According to Robinson, this had an effect on the quality of the film. A King in New York was released in September 1957, and received mixed reviews. Chaplin banned American journalists from its Paris première and decided not to release the film in the United States. This severely limited its revenue, although it achieved moderate commercial success in Europe. A King in New York was not shown in America until 1973.
In the last two decades of his career, Chaplin concentrated on re-editing and scoring his old films for re-release, along with securing their ownership and distribution rights. In an interview he granted in 1959, the year of his 70th birthday, Chaplin stated that there was still "room for the Little Man in the atomic age". The first of these re-releases was The Chaplin Revue (1959), which included new versions of A Dog's Life, Shoulder Arms, and The Pilgrim.
In America, the political atmosphere began to change and attention was once again directed to Chaplin's films instead of his views. In July 1962, The New York Times published an editorial stating that "we do not believe the Republic would be in danger if yesterday's unforgotten little tramp were allowed to amble down the gangplank of a steamer or plane in an American port". The same month, Chaplin was invested with the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters by the universities of Oxford and Durham. In November 1963, the Plaza Theater in New York started a year-long series of Chaplin's films, including Monsieur Verdoux and Limelight, which gained excellent reviews from American critics. September 1964 saw the release of Chaplin's memoirs, My Autobiography, which he had been working on since 1957. The 500-page book became a worldwide best-seller. It focused on his early years and personal life, and was criticised for lacking information on his film career.
Shortly after the publication of his memoirs, Chaplin began work on A Countess from Hong Kong (1967), a romantic comedy based on a script he had written for Paulette Goddard in the 1930s. Set on an ocean liner, it starred Marlon Brando as an American ambassador and Sophia Loren as a stowaway found in his cabin. The film differed from Chaplin's earlier productions in several aspects. It was his first to use Technicolor and the widescreen format, while he concentrated on directing and appeared on-screen only in a cameo role as a seasick steward. He also signed a deal with Universal Pictures and appointed his assistant, Jerome Epstein, as the producer. Chaplin was paid $600,000 director's fee as well as a percentage of the gross receipts. A Countess from Hong Kong premiered in January 1967, to unfavourable reviews, and was a box-office failure. Chaplin was deeply hurt by the negative reaction to the film, which turned out to be his last.
Chaplin suffered a series of minor strokes in the late 1960s, which marked the beginning of a slow decline in his health. Despite the setbacks, he was soon writing a new film script, The Freak, a story of a winged girl found in South America, which he intended as a starring vehicle for his daughter, Victoria. His fragile health prevented the project from being realised. In the early 1970s, Chaplin concentrated on re-releasing his old films, including The Kid and The Circus. In 1971, he was made a Commander of the National Order of the Legion of Honour at the Cannes Film Festival. The following year, he was honoured with a special award by the Venice Film Festival.
In 1972, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences offered Chaplin an Honorary Award, which Robinson sees as a sign that America "wanted to make amends". Chaplin was initially hesitant about accepting but decided to return to the US for the first time in 20 years. The visit attracted a large amount of press coverage and, at the Academy Awards gala, he was given a 12-minute standing ovation, the longest in the Academy's history. Visibly emotional, Chaplin accepted his award for "the incalculable effect he has had in making motion pictures the art form of this century".
From the film industry, Chaplin received a special Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 1972, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Lincoln Center Film Society the same year. The latter has since been presented annually to filmmakers as The Chaplin Award. Chaplin was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1972, having been previously excluded because of his political beliefs.
Chaplin received many awards and honours, especially later in life. In the 1975 New Year Honours, he was appointed a Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE). He was also awarded honorary Doctor of Letters degrees by the University of Oxford and the University of Durham in 1962. In 1965, he and Ingmar Bergman were joint winners of the Erasmus Prize and, in 1971, he was appointed a Commander of the National Order of the Legion of Honour by the French government.
Although Chaplin still had plans for future film projects, by the mid-1970s he was very frail. He experienced several further strokes, which made it difficult for him to communicate, and he had to use a wheelchair. His final projects were compiling a pictorial autobiography, My Life in Pictures (1974) and scoring A Woman of Paris for re-release in 1976. He also appeared in a documentary about his life, The Gentleman Tramp (1975), directed by Richard Patterson. In the 1975 New Year Honours, Chaplin was awarded a knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II, though he was too weak to kneel and received the honour in his wheelchair.
By October 1977, Chaplin's health had declined to the point that he needed constant care. In the early morning of 25 December 1977, Chaplin died at home after suffering a stroke in his sleep. He was 88 years old. The funeral, on 27 December, was a small and private Anglican ceremony, according to his wishes. Chaplin was interred in the Corsier-sur-Vevey cemetery. Among the film industry's tributes, director René Clair wrote, "He was a monument of the cinema, of all countries and all times ... the most beautiful gift the cinema made to us." Actor Bob Hope declared, "We were lucky to have lived in his time."
On 1 March 1978, Chaplin's coffin was dug up and stolen from its grave by two unemployed immigrants, Roman Wardas, from Poland, and Gantcho Ganev, from Bulgaria. The body was held for ransom in an attempt to extort money from Oona Chaplin. The pair were caught in a large police operation in May, and Chaplin's coffin was found buried in a field in the nearby village of Noville. It was re-interred in the Corsier cemetery surrounded by reinforced concrete.
In London, a statue of Chaplin as the Tramp, sculpted by John Doubleday and unveiled in 1981, is located in Leicester Square. The city also includes a road named after him in central London, "Charlie Chaplin Walk", which is the location of the BFI IMAX. There are nine blue plaques memorialising Chaplin in London, Hampshire, and Yorkshire. The Swiss town of Vevey named a park in his honour in 1980 and erected a statue there in 1982. In 2011, two large murals depicting Chaplin on two 14-storey buildings were also unveiled in Vevey. Chaplin has also been honoured by the Irish town of Waterville, where he spent several summers with his family in the 1960s. A statue was erected in 1998; since 2011, the town has been host to the annual Charlie Chaplin Comedy Film Festival, which was founded to celebrate Chaplin's legacy and to showcase new comic talent.
Chaplin has also been characterised in literary fiction. He is the protagonist of Robert Coover's short story "Charlie in the House of Rue" (1980; reprinted in Coover's 1987 collection A Night at the Movies), and of Glen David Gold's Sunnyside (2009), a historical novel set in the First World War period. A day in Chaplin's life in 1909 is dramatised in the chapter titled "Modern Times" in Alan Moore's Jerusalem (2016), a novel set in the author's home town of Northampton, England.
In other tributes, a minor planet, 3623 Chaplin (discovered by Soviet astronomer Lyudmila Karachkina in 1981) is named after Charlie. Throughout the 1980s, the Tramp image was used by IBM to advertise their personal computers. Chaplin's 100th birthday anniversary in 1989 was marked with several events around the world, and on 15 April 2011, a day before his 122nd birthday, Google celebrated him with a special Google Doodle video on its global and other country-wide homepages. Many countries, spanning six continents, have honoured Chaplin with a postal stamp.
Chaplin is the subject of a biographical film, Chaplin (1992) directed by Richard Attenborough, and starring Robert Downey Jr. in the title role and Geraldine Chaplin playing Hannah Chaplin. He is also a character in the historical drama film The Cat's Meow (2001), played by Eddie Izzard, and in the made-for-television movie The Scarlett O'Hara War (1980), played by Clive Revill. A television series about Chaplin's childhood, Young Charlie Chaplin, ran on PBS in 1989, and was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Children's Program. The French film The Price of Fame (2014) is a fictionalised account of the robbery of Chaplin's grave.
In 1998, the film critic Andrew Sarris called Chaplin "arguably the single most important artist produced by the cinema, certainly its most extraordinary performer and probably still its most universal icon". He is described by the British Film Institute as "a towering figure in world culture", and was included in Time magazine's list of the "100 Most Important People of the 20th Century" for the "laughter [he brought] to millions" and because he "more or less invented global recognizability and helped turn an industry into an art".
Chaplin's legacy is managed on behalf of his children by the Chaplin office, located in Paris. The office represents Association Chaplin, founded by some of his children "to protect the name, image and moral rights" to his body of work, Roy Export SAS, which owns the copyright to most of his films made after 1918, and Bubbles Incorporated S.A., which owns the copyrights to his image and name. Their central archive is held at the archives of Montreux, Switzerland and scanned versions of its contents, including 83,630 images, 118 scripts, 976 manuscripts, 7,756 letters, and thousands of other documents, are available for research purposes at the Chaplin Research Centre at the Cineteca di Bologna. The photographic archive, which includes approximately 10,000 photographs from Chaplin's life and career, is kept at the Musée de l'Elysée in Lausanne, Switzerland. The British Film Institute has also established the Charles Chaplin Research Foundation, and the first international Charles Chaplin Conference was held in London in July 2005. Elements for many of Chaplin's films are held by the Academy Film Archive as part of the Roy Export Chaplin Collection.
The image of the Tramp has become a part of cultural history; according to Simon Louvish, the character is recognisable to people who have never seen a Chaplin film, and in places where his films are never shown. The critic Leonard Maltin has written of the "unique" and "indelible" nature of the Tramp, and argued that no other comedian matched his "worldwide impact". Praising the character, Richard Schickel suggests that Chaplin's films with the Tramp contain the most "eloquent, richly comedic expressions of the human spirit" in movie history. Memorabilia connected to the character still fetches large sums in auctions: in 2006 a bowler hat and a bamboo cane that were part of the Tramp's costume were bought for $140,000 in a Los Angeles auction.
Chaplin's life has also been the subject of several stage productions. Two musicals, Little Tramp and Chaplin, were produced in the early 1990s. In 2006, Thomas Meehan and Christopher Curtis created another musical, Limelight: The Story of Charlie Chaplin, which was first performed at the La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego in 2010. It was adapted for Broadway two years later, re-titled Chaplin – A Musical. Chaplin was portrayed by Robert McClure in both productions. In 2013, two plays about Chaplin premiered in Finland: Chaplin at the Svenska Teatern, and Kulkuri (The Tramp) at the Tampere Workers' Theatre.
In the 21st century, several of Chaplin's films are still regarded as classics and among the greatest ever made. The 2012 Sight & Sound poll, which compiles "top ten" ballots from film critics and directors to determine each group's most acclaimed films, saw City Lights rank among the critics' top 50, Modern Times inside the top 100, and The Great Dictator and The Gold Rush placed in the top 250. The top 100 films as voted on by directors included Modern Times at number 22, City Lights at number 30, and The Gold Rush at number 91. Every one of Chaplin's features received a vote. In 2007, the American Film Institute named City Lights the 11th greatest American film of all time, while The Gold Rush and Modern Times again ranked in the top 100. Books about Chaplin continue to be published regularly, and he is a popular subject for media scholars and film archivists. Many of Chaplin's film have had a DVD and Blu-ray release.
Chaplin's final home, Manoir de Ban in Corsier-sur-Vevey, Switzerland, has been converted into a museum named "Chaplin's World". It opened on 17 April 2016 after fifteen years of development, and is described by Reuters as "an interactive museum showcasing the life and works of Charlie Chaplin". On the 128th anniversary of his birth, a record-setting 662 people dressed as the Tramp in an event organised by the museum. Previously, the Museum of the Moving Image in London held a permanent display on Chaplin, and hosted a dedicated exhibition to his life and career in 1988. The London Film Museum hosted an exhibition called Charlie Chaplin – The Great Londoner, from 2010 until 2013.
Currently, Charlie Chaplin is 132 years, 2 months and 6 days old. Charlie Chaplin will celebrate 133rd birthday on a Saturday 16th of April 2022.
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