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Charles Chaplin

Charles Chaplin

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Dog's Life ... Chaplins classic character, The Tramp, strives to succeed in the big city with... more info $11.95was $10.99 Buy Now

Stealing Charlie Chaplin ... In 1978, three months after Comedy Icon, Charlie Chaplin's death, his body... more info $16.95was $19.99 Buy Now

Gfa Children's Collection ... This set includes five classic Christian films for children of all ages. The... more info $11.95was $14.99 Buy Now

The Kid (Criterion... Charlie Chaplin was already an international star when he decided to break out... more info $19.47was $29.95 Buy Now

Monsieur Verdoux (Criterion... Charlie Chaplin plays shockingly against type in his most controversial film, a... more info $19.47was $29.95 Buy Now

Modern Times (Criterion... Modern Times, Charlie Chaplin's last outing as the Little Tramp, puts the iconic... more info $19.47was $29.95 Buy Now

Also Known As: Charles Spencer Chaplin, Sir Charles Chaplin, Charles Chaplin, Charlie Chaplin Died: December 25, 1977
Born: April 16, 1889 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: London, England, GB Profession: director, actor, screenwriter, composer, producer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

nd William Randolph Hearst mistress, Marion Davies. In the mid- to late-1930s, some controversy sprang over whether or not Chaplin had married star Paulette Goddard, though the two were living together for a number of years in the actor¿s Beverly Hills home. Perhaps most troublesome was his brief fling with aspiring actress, Joan Barry, who later claimed that Chaplin was the father of her daughter. A highly public and tawdry court battle ensued that ended with a judge dismissing a negative blood test as evidence and ordering Chaplin to pay for child support. At 54 years old, Chaplin married O¿Neill when she was barely 18 and proceeded to father eight children with her, the last coming when he was 73. Chaplin and O¿Neill stayed together for the remainder of his life.Almost 20 years after he was effectively exiled from the country that once claimed him as his own, Hollywood welcomed the Tramp back, presenting Chaplin with an Honorary Academy Award amid the loudest and longest ovation in its history ¿ a full 12 minutes when all was told. His speech consisted of a simple ode of thanks for being invited while stating that words for such a moment would seem futile. The frail man of 82, who had long since...

nd William Randolph Hearst mistress, Marion Davies. In the mid- to late-1930s, some controversy sprang over whether or not Chaplin had married star Paulette Goddard, though the two were living together for a number of years in the actor¿s Beverly Hills home. Perhaps most troublesome was his brief fling with aspiring actress, Joan Barry, who later claimed that Chaplin was the father of her daughter. A highly public and tawdry court battle ensued that ended with a judge dismissing a negative blood test as evidence and ordering Chaplin to pay for child support. At 54 years old, Chaplin married O¿Neill when she was barely 18 and proceeded to father eight children with her, the last coming when he was 73. Chaplin and O¿Neill stayed together for the remainder of his life.

Almost 20 years after he was effectively exiled from the country that once claimed him as his own, Hollywood welcomed the Tramp back, presenting Chaplin with an Honorary Academy Award amid the loudest and longest ovation in its history ¿ a full 12 minutes when all was told. His speech consisted of a simple ode of thanks for being invited while stating that words for such a moment would seem futile. The frail man of 82, who had long since given up radical politics, also picked up an Oscar the following year for writing the score of "Limelight," which was eligible since it had not played the Los Angeles area before 1972. His final great tribute came when Queen Elizabeth II knighted him in 1975. With his very name inextricably linked to the very idea of movies, Chaplin¿s stature and legacy only stood to grow following his death on Dec. 25, 1977 after years of declining health that led to diminished speech and the use of a wheelchair. Despite some personal failings and public outcry over his politics, The Little Tramp brought countless joy and sublimity to a world always in desperate need of laughter. Writer James Agee perhaps said it best: "Of all comedians, he worked most deeply and most shrewdly within a realization of what a human being is, and is up against. The Tramp is as centrally representative of humanity, as many-sided and as mysterious, as Hamlet, and it seems unlikely that any dancer or actor can ever have excelled him in eloquence, variety, or poignancy of motion."Tramp and his conflict with "normal" social expectations, forming what might be called the so-called marriage group. "The Gold Rush" (1925), featuring the famous feasting on shoe leather scene, suggested that his striking it rich might make him an acceptable mate, but he was back on the road in "The Circus" (1928) after failing to fulfill the heroine's vision of romance. Audiences rewarded the director's bold move of resisting sound for "City Lights" (1931), proving they would still see a silent film if Chaplin was the star. The fourth-biggest grosser of the year told the story of the Tramp¿s love for a blind flower girl, and though he facilitates the operation that gives her sight, the abrupt conclusion suggests she will not share her life with a lowly tramp ¿ an ending widely considered to be one of the most moving in cinema history.

Silence was the medium in which the Tramp lived, but for "City Lights," Chaplin's concession to sound was providing musical scoring and sound effects. From that point on, he composed the scores for all his sound films, as well as adding musical tracks to silent classics. No longer able to resist synchronized sound, he finally bid farewell to the Tramp in "Modern Times" (1936), allowing him his only talking sequence on film, a jumble of gibberish in the form of a song and dance number. When he took to the road this last time, it was also finally in the company of another, Paulette Goddard, Chaplin's wife at the time, albeit secretly. He had made only four films in 11 years, but his output slowed even further with his final three American films coming in the next 16 years. "The Great Dictator" (1940), his first full-talkie, combined slapstick, satire and social commentary, casting Chaplin in the dual role of a Tramp-like Jewish barber and Adenoid Hynkel, the Hitler-like dictator of Tomania. In addition to the send-up of Hitler as a maniacal clown, Jack Oakie weighed in unforgettably as Benzino Napaloni of rival country Bacteria, a hysterical take-off of Mussolini. At the time, however, Chaplin courted public controversy for his unorthodox support of a second European front alongside the Soviet army. Still, the film was a smash success and earned five Academy Award nominations, including Best Actor, Best Writing and Best Picture.

The Tramp had been a character of 19th century sensibilities, a leftover from a Dickensian world. But with "Monsieur Verdoux" (1947), Chaplin proved he was firmly in the 20th century with a resonant film of his times. Another political fable, "Verdoux" presented him as a man who marries rich, repellent ladies and murders them to support his beloved wife on an idyllic farm. The startling transformation of their precious Tramp into a murderous Bluebeard turned his once adoring public against him. But his creative expression was right on target for a post-Holocaust world. Equating Verdoux's murderous trade with acceptable professions ¿ munitions manufacturing, stock trading, banking ¿ was clearly years ahead of its time, and its wry humor and pacifist sentiments made it quite contemporary compared to later decades. Under fire for his liberal views in an era defined by Joe McCarthy's anti-Communist tirades, Chaplin released a final affectionate tribute to his art and its traditions, "Limelight" (1952). But because of his public support for a joint front with the Soviets during World War II, he became a target of FBI head J. Edgar Hoover, who revoked Chaplin¿s re-entry permit after learning the actor had briefly left the country for his native England. Having never become an American citizen, Chaplin settled with his family in Switzerland, while "Limelight" failed to receive American distribution until 1972.

"Limelight" functioned as Chaplin¿s cinematic swan song. In his most autobiographical and most underrated work, Chaplin played Calvero, an old, drunken has-been comedian struggling for a comeback ¿ a superb commentary on his own fabulous career, one which saw the triumph and decline of the physical comedy he had brought to silent films from the English music hall. For the last time on celluloid, he exercised classic pantomime bits that recalled the Tramp, like taming a flea and imagining himself a great lion tamer. Chaplin's hilarious routine with the great Buster Keaton ¿ the only time the two appeared together ¿ before Calvero collapses and dies is his last significant screen image, a fitting finale to a wondrous career. Meanwhile, public reaction against Chaplin was so rabid that his first European film, "A King in New York" (1957), a slight satire on American consumerism and political paranoia, remained unreleased in the United States until 1973. Chaplin's final film as a director, "A Countess From Hong Kong" (1967), in which he merely made a cameo appearance as a waiter opposite stars Sophia Loren and Marlon Brando, was even more disappointing, suffering as had its predecessor at the hands of a low budget, tight schedule and a production team of strangers.

Throughout his career, Chaplin was involved with numerous women, some of who he married; others he did not, while siring a great number of children, particularly with his last wife, Oona O¿Neill, daughter of famed playwright Eugene O¿Neill. He had a longtime affair with aforementioned costar Edna Purviance before he married child actress, Mildred Harris, when she was 16 ¿ a penchant for underage girls he displayed throughout his life. Following the death of their newborn child, they divorced in 1920 and Chaplin moved on to a high profile romance with Polish actress Pola Negri. He next married the 16-year-old actress Lita Grey, with whom he had two sons, while reportedly carrying on with starlet a

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
2.
  The Chaplin Revue (1964) Director
3.
  A King in New York (1957) Director
4.
  Limelight (1953) Director
5.
  Monsieur Verdoux (1947) Director
6.
7.
  The Great Dictator (1941) Director
8.
  Modern Times (1936) Director
9.
  City Lights (1931) Director
10.
  The Circus (1928) Director

CAST: (feature film)

2.
3.
 American Lifestyles (1987) ("The Movie Marches On" - "Show Business: The War Years")
4.
 It's Showtime (1976) Himself
6.
 A Countess From Hong Kong (1967) Old steward
7.
8.
9.
 A King in New York (1957) King Shadhov
10.
 Limelight (1953) Calvero
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Began music hall career at age 5
1898:
Toured as one of the Eight Lancashire Lads
1903:
First featured stage role in "Sherlock Holmes"; toured English provinces
1905:
Appeared in London West End production of "Sherlock Holmes", starring its American author, William Gillette
1907:
Joined Fred Karno's Pantomime Troupe in England; quickly rose to Karno's star attraction, specializing in a dexterous portrayal of a comic drunk
1910:
Made first trip to America with Karno's Speechless Comedians
1913:
Hired by Mack Sennett's Keystone Company while on tour with Karno; left for Hollywood, arriving on Sennett's lot in December with a contract for $150 per week
1914:
Film acting debut in Keystone's "Making a Living"
1914:
First appearance of the tramp in "Kid Auto Races at Venice"
1914:
Directed, acted in and wrote over 20 shorts
1915:
Left Keystone Company; signed with Essanay Company for $1250 per week (Sennett had offered $750) plus a $10,000 signing bonus; met key collaborator, cameraman Rollie Totheroh, who would shoot every Chaplin film (and only Chaplin films) until his death in 1946
1915:
First film with Edna Purviance; she would play the idealized woman in every Chaplin film for the next eight years, remaining on the Chaplin payroll until her death in 1958
1916:
Moved to Mutual Film Corporation; the popularity of such Mutual two-reelers as "The Pawnshop", "The Immigrant" and "Easy Street" (only pic in which he ever played a cop) made him an international star
1918:
Signed by First National Exhibitors Circuit, producing his films independently; contract allowed him to build his own studio, which he alone used until 1952
1919:
Co-founded United Artists Corporation (with Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and D.W. Griffith)
1921:
Strayed from First National contract calling for two-reelers to make "The Kid" (a six-reeler), his longest and most ambitious film to that time
1923:
Wrote and directed (appearing only briefly as a railway porter) "A Woman of Paris" (first full-length film), a comedy of manners starring Purviance (her final film with Chaplin); first UA release
1925:
Tramp's feature debut for UA, "The Gold Rush"; Chaplin called it "the picture I want to be remembered by"
1928:
Awarded an honorary Oscar for "versatility and genius in writing, acting, directing, and producing 'The Circus'"
1931:
First feature of the sound era, "City Lights" (a silent film); fourth biggest grosser of the year
1936:
Voice first heard in a commercial film, "Modern Times", when he sang a nonsense song; mild left-wing point of view signaled his growing political convivtion; year's second biggest money-earner after "San Francisco"
1940:
First full talkie, "The Great Dictator"; received Oscar nominations for best actor, best screenplay and best picture; refused New York Film Critics Award as Best Actor
1942:
His appearance at a rally supporting a Russian counterattack of Germany (a second front) led to his becoming a target of investigation by the FBI
1943:
Named in paternity suit by actress Joan Barry, who claimed that Chaplin had been her lover for several years and was the father of her child; though Chaplin denied Barry's claims and genetic evidence suggested that he was not the father of her child, the court ruled in Barry's favor
1947:
Played "lady killer" in "Monsieur Verdoux"; Oscar-nominated for his screenplay
:
Refused to testify before House Committee on Un-American Activities
1952:
Denied reentry into America after attending the London premiere of "Limelight" (only film in which he appared with Buster Keaton); settled in Switzerland
:
Sold interest in United Artists
1957:
First film outside the US, "A King in New York"
1963:
Orchestrated a festival of his films in NYC
1967:
Last film, "The Countess of Hong Kong", starring Sophia Loren and Marlon Brando; Chaplin had cameo as waiter
1972:
Returned to the USA after nearly 20 years to accept an honorary Academy Award
1975:
Knighted by Queen Elizabeth II
1978:
Body dug up by two grave robbers on March 2; found 2 1/2 months later and reburied
1992:
Subject of a biographical motion picture "Chaplin", directed by Richard Attenborough and starring Robert Downey Jr
1995:
Voted the greatest actor in movie history by a worldwide survey of film critics
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Notes

"Halfway through, a shower of money poured on the stage. Immediately I stopped and announced that I would pick up the money first and sing afterwards. This caused much laughter. The stage manager came on with a handkerchief and helped me gather it up. I thought he was going to keep it. This thought was conveyed to the audience and increased their laughter, especially when he walked off with it with me anxiously following him. Not until he handed it to Mother did I return and continue to sing. I was quite at home. I talked to the audience, danced and did several imitations including one of Mother singing her Irish march song." --Charles Chaplin, remembering his stage debut at the age of five in "My Autobiography"

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Hetty Kelly. First love; met in 1908; died in 1918 in England.
companion:
Peggy Pearce. Actor. Dated in 1914.
wife:
Mildred Harris. Married in 1918; divorced in 1920; born on November 29, 1901; died on July 20, 1944.
companion:
Pola Negri. Actor. Had on-again, off-again romance from c. 1923 to 1924.
wife:
Lillita MacMurray. Actor. Born on April 15, 1908; married in 1924; divorced in 1927; died at age 87 on December 29, 1995 in Woodland Hills, California; Chaplin cast her in his "The Kid" when she was 12 and the two were married when she was 16; when they divorced Grey received $825,000, the then-largest divorce settlement in American history.
companion:
Louise Brooks. Actor, dancer. Had relationship in summer 1925.
wife:
Paulette Goddard. Actor. Married c. 1933, divorced in 1942; some controversy has surrounded exactly when the two were married; Goddard acted opposite Chaplin in his films "Modern Times" (1936) and "The Great Dictator" (1940); born on June 3, 1911; died on April 23, 1990.
wife:
Oona O'Neill. Married from June 1943 until Chaplin's death in 1977; daughter of American playwright Eugene O'Neill; met Chaplin in 1942 at age 17 when a Hollywood agent recommended her for a part in the unfilmed "Shadow and Substance"; renounced her American citizenship in 1954; died of pancreatic cancer at age 66 on September 27, 1991 in Corsier-sur-Vevey, Switzerland.
VIEW COMPLETE COMPANION LISTING

Family close complete family listing

father:
Charles Chaplin. Music hall entertainer. Born in 1863; left family when Chaplin was a young child; died of alcoholism in 1901.
mother:
Hannah Chaplin. Music hall entertainer. Born in 1865; had breakdown after husband left; institutionalized for most of her remaining years; died in 1928; portrayed by her granddaughter Geraldine in the biopic "Chaplin" (1992).
half-brother:
Sydney Chaplin. Actor, business manager. Born in 1885; handled most of brother's business affairs in the 1920s; died in 1965.
half-brother:
Wheeler Dryden. Actor. Died in 1957.
son:
Charles Chaplin Jr. Actor. Born in 1925; mother, Lita Grey; debuted in "Limelight" (1952) as one of the clowns; died in 1968.
son:
Sydney Earl Chaplin. Actor, singer. Born on March 30, 1926; mother, Lita Grey; made film debut as the romantic lead of "Limelight"; starred in several Broadway shows in the late 1950s and 1960s including "Funny Girl" (1964).
daughter:
Geraldine Chaplin. Actor. Born on July 31, 1944; mother, Oona O'Neill; debuted as street urchin in "Limelight"; portrayed her grandmother in biopic "Chaplin" (1992).
son:
Michael Chaplin. Actor. Born in 1946; mother, Oona O'Neill; debuted in father's "A King in New York" (1957).
daughter:
Josephine Chaplin. Actor. Born in 1949; mother, Oona O'Neill.
daughter:
Victoria Chaplin. Circus performer. Born in 1951; mother, Oona O'Neill.
son:
Eugene Chaplin. Born in 1953; mother, Oona O'Neill.
daughter:
Jane Chaplin. Born in 1957; mother, Oona O'Neill.
daughter:
Annette Chaplin. Born in 1959; mother, Oona O'Neill.
son:
Christopher Chaplin. Actor. Born in 1962; mother, Oona O'Neill.
grandson:
James Thieree. Circus acrobat. Made film debut in Peter Greenaway's "Prospero's Books" (1991).
granddaughter:
Dolores Chaplin. Actor, model. Appeared in the film "The Ice Rink" (2000).
granddaughter:
Kiera Chaplin. Actor. Born c. 1981; daughter of Eugene Chaplin.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"Charles Chaplin: My Autobiography"
"Chaplin: Last of the Clowns" Garland Publishing
"My Life in Pictures"
"Chaplin and American Culture"
"Tramp: The Life of Charlie Chaplin" HarperCollins
"Charlie Chaplin: Comic Genius" Harry N. Abrams Inc.
"Charlie Chaplin and His World" Aurum Press
"Oona: Living in the Shadows"
"The Intimate Charlie Chaplin" McFarland
VIEW COMPLETE BIBLIOGRAPHY

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