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Charlie Chaplin: The Famous 'Tramp'

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History is always full of surprises. Many famous people have flaws just like us.

Charlie Chaplin

Charlie Chaplin

Charlie Chaplin

Charlie Chaplin

Charlie Chaplin's Early Life

Chaplin was born in 1889 in London to an alcoholic father, Charles Spencer Chaplin, and his mother, Hannah, a music hall singer. His father fled the family when Charlie was only a year old. He had an older brother Sydney, and his mother was unable to care for them, barely existing. So, the brothers were placed in an orphanage for at least two years. After the orphanage, the brothers spent their days selling papers, begging, and sleeping in doorways until they hooked up with Casey Court Circus.

In 1910 they were going to America, working with the Fred Kaeno team. And Charlie's life took a turn to lifelong fame. It wasn't long before Charlie went from low wages to a highly paid entertainer. His life from poverty, a true rags to riches story.

His best films included The Kid, The Gold Rush, and City Lights. Charlie also saw his need to direct and produce his movies. In the 1920s, Charlie, Douglas Fairbanks, and Mary Pickford founded United Artists.

Charlie was a perfectionist and would direct a scene repeatedly until it was perfect. It was probably difficult for the crews, but he was always right. He would be remembered worldwide even just by seeing his picture of a man with a bowler hat, baggy pants, and a cane. He made people laugh, and they loved him for it.


Chaplin Age 7 Lomdon School For Paupers London

Chaplin Age 7 Lomdon School For Paupers London

Chaplin And His Wives

Charlie was a dashing star hounded by his fans and especially women. He fell in love quickly, especially with younger women, and this, unfortunately, would bring him trouble. He had many, many affairs, but he did marry four times, and they were:

  • Mildred Harris married in 1918 divorced in 1920. She was 16. He was 29.
  • Lita Grey married in 1924, divorced in 1927.
  • Paulette Goddard married in 1936, divorced in 1942.
  • Oona O'Neill married in 1943. She was 18. He was 54. Her father, famous Eugene O'Neill, disowned her for marrying Chaplin. Oona and Charlie went on to have eight children and were together until he died in 1977.
Chaplin's Wives

Chaplin's Wives

Chaplin, Exiled From America

Charlie had lived and worked in the U.S. for forty years but had never filed for Citizenship. Then, in 1948, the FBI, along with J. Edgar Hoover, placed Chaplin on a Blacklist because of his association with communist organizations and his part of the Nazi Hitler in his movie, The Dictator . Combined with a paternity suit and his underage wives, the public was wary of Chaplin.

In 1952, Charlie, wife Oona, and their children sailed on Queen Elizabeth to England for the premier showing of Limelight. However, he received word that he would be banned from re-entering the U.S. This so enraged Charlie that he decided to live in Awitzerland, and he bought a home on the banks of Lake Geneva, where he lived until he died there. Today, his home is a museum dedicated to Chaplin and open to Vesey, Switzerland, 41-842-422-422.

Chaplin's Home, Switzerland

Chaplin's Home, Switzerland

Miscellaneous Notes On Charlie Chaplin

In 1928 Charlie and his brother Sydney brought their mother Hannahto American, bought her a home, and hired caregivers to care for her while she lived for another seven years. Hannah had given Charlie to dream of being on stage. He always felt she gave him the 'gift' to make people laugh.

1972 Chaplin got his Star on the Hollywood Hall Of Fame

  • 1975 Queen Elizbeth II knighted Chaplin
  • 1981 An asteroid was named after Chaplin

Shortly after Chaplin was buried, grave robbers dug up his body and issued a ransom of $600,000 to his widow, Oona. Oona refused to pay the ransom, and soon after, the robbers were caught. She then reburied Charlie in a life-proof concrete coffin.


Chaplin's Marker

Chaplin's Marker

Chaplin's Knighthood

Chaplin's Knighthood

Quotes By Charlie Chaplin

Some quotes by Charlie Chaplin:

  • You'll never find a rainbow if you're looking down
  • Nothing is permanent in this life, not even your troubles
  • Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself
  • We think too much and feel too little
  • A day without laughter is a day wasted.

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