Skip to main content

Interview with Charlie Chaplin

Charlie Chaplin and the 'Little Tramp' 1889-1977

Charlie Chaplin and the 'Little Tramp' 1889-1977

Interview with Charlie Chaplin

Did you ever see a film with Charlie Chaplin as the appealing character he created – the 'Little Tramp’ – who wore too big baggy pants, too tight tattered coat, too small bowler hat and too large raggedy shoes?

Well, there I was at a Chaplin film festival watching The Kid – a silent film Charlie made in 1925. When the movie ended, a funny little fellow followed me out of the theater, furtively tapped me on the shoulder, and whispered: “Gotta minute, drbj?”

I turned and looked at him closely, my Mace at the ready and OMG, it was Charlie Chaplin himself – in the flesh (more or less). My supernatural interviewing skills had subconsciously summoned him.

me – Are you Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin?

Sir Charles – Who else would dress like this? And wear such a funny-looking mustache? But call me Charlie.

me – I have long wanted to interview you, Sir Charles … I mean, Charlie.

Charlie – I know. That’s why I’m here. I got your subliminal message and a mutual friend, Bruce Lee, told me to look you up. I would like to share with you the true story of my life and career.

me – Let’s go to the café up the street and I’ll buy you a coffee. I know you are not fond of alcohol.

Charlie – When you hear about my early life you will understand why.

Hannah Chaplin

Hannah Chaplin

Sydney Chaplin

Sydney Chaplin

Early Life

me – I remember reading, Charlie, that you were born in 1889 in London, and that your mother was a singer and comedienne, and your father, an actor.

Charlie – My mother, Hannah Chaplin, sang and acted in music halls using the stage name, Lily Harley. My father, Charles Chaplin, Sr., was a vaudeville actor with a drinking problem.

Before I was three years old, my father left us because my mother fell in love with another actor and had a son with him. My mother continued singing on the stage to earn money for the three of us.

me – Three of you?

Charlie – I already had a half-brother, Sydney, four years older.

me – How did your stage career begin?

Charlie – My mother had to bring us with her to the music hall every night. Day-care had not been invented yet. In the middle of a performance in 1894, my mother suddenly lost her singing voice. The unforgiving audience immediately began throwing trash at her.

I was only five years old and so upset that I impulsively ran on to the stage and finished my mother’s song. The audience loved me but my mother was fired and that was the end of her stage career.

Scroll to Continue

Clog dancing is a folk dance performed in many parts of the world. Dancers wear wooden clogs in order to make a stomping noise to emphasize their dance steps.

me – How did your mother continue to support you?

Charlie – She began sewing piecework and somehow we survived even though my father never paid one farthing (1/4 of a penny) for child support.

In 1896, we entered the Workhouse for the Poor. Later Sydney and I were sent to a School for Orphans and Destitute Children. My mother was admitted to an asylum since she was suffering from a psychosis caused by syphilis.

Eighteen months later, Sydney and I were sent to live with my father. He now had a common-law wife, Louise, who was also an alcoholic and unhappy about inheriting children.

When my father staggered home at night, he and Louise would fight because she had locked us out of the house. We often had to sleep outside and beg for food.

me –You were living the horrid life of Dickens’ Oliver Twist: ‘Please sir, I want some more.’

Charlie – You got that right. Hot porridge would have been a welcome change. But my father did get me into a clog-dancing troupe called 'The Eight Lancashire Lads' when I was 10 years old.

My clog-dancing career ended when I was diagnosed with asthma at the age of twelve. My father died of cirrhosis of the liver soon after. My brother found a job as a cabin boy and I worked odd jobs including barber’s helper, printer's assistant, and retail gopher.

me – Retail gopher?

Charlie – You know . . . gopher for this, gopher for that. (chuckles)

Charlie Chaplin DVDs

me – How did you get back on the stage?

Charlie – When I was 14, I got a small part in the play, Sherlock Holmes. When the show ended, I joined my brother, Sydney, who was working as a comedian in cheap-ticket music halls.

me – When did you start developing your own comedy character?

Charlie – I played a clumsy dolt of a plumber's assistant in a comedy called Repairs.

Recalling my mother’s pantomiming antics and my father’s drunken mishaps, I invented my own klutzy clowning technique - a sort of early Three Stooges role.

At eighteen, I was given the lead in a comedy for the Fred Karno Troupe. On opening night, stage fright suddenly struck. I completely lost my voice just as my mother had.

All the actors were taught all the character roles so my brother, Sydney, suggested that I play the part of a pantomime drunk. I played that drunk with such gusto that the audience loved me in the sketch, A Night in an English Music Hall.

The Keystone Kops

The Keystone Kops

Handsome Charlie without 'Tramp' makeup

Handsome Charlie without 'Tramp' makeup

Famous dinner rolls ballet from 'The Tramp' (1915)

Funny roller skating scene from 'Modern Times' (1936)

Coming to America

me – Where did the Karno Troupe appear in the U.S.?

Charlie – In 1910 we played Jersey City, Cleveland, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Kansas City, Butte, Billings and Denver - a true cross section of the American population. (laughs)

On my second tour of the U.S. in 1912, serendipity struck. Mack Sennett, the head of Keystone Studios, saw me perform as a funny drunk, and offered me a contract at $150 per week – a princely sum in those days. I joined him in Los Angeles when my contract with Karno ended in 1913.

me – Keystone Studios? Wasn't that the home of the Keystone Kops?

Charlie – Righto. Those short silent films with slapstick cops chasing slapstick criminals were very popular and very profitable. Unlike the written scripts in today’s movies, Sennett’s films had no script at all.

Instead, Sennett would start with an idea for the beginning of the film, and then just shout commands to the actors until it led to a chase scene. Remember – these were silent films – no sound was recorded during filming.

me – When did you first play the part of the Little Tramp?

Charlie – In my first short film, Kid Auto Races at Venice (1914), “I thought I would dress in baggy pants, big shoes, a cane and a derby hat – everything a contradiction: the pants baggy, the coat tight, the hat small and the shoes large.”

Voila! The Little Tramp was born!

me – I have always been curious, Charlie. Why did you add that strange little mustache?

Charlie – I thought it made me look a little older without disguising my facial emotions.

In my spare time, I practiced playing the violin, and read every book I could get my hands on. I had discovered a passion for self-education. Even without the advantages of today's Goggle and Bang, I became a walking encyclopedia.

me – Do you mean Google and Bing?

Charlie Righto.

Charlie Chaplin was so popular in the 1920s and 30s that when his fans saw him, they struggled to be near him and tear at his clothing. And women constantly pursued him. He still despised alcohol, but he adored younger women.

'The Kid' (1921)

Jackie Coogan as 'The Kid ' (1921)

Jackie Coogan as 'The Kid ' (1921)

Jackie Coogan as Uncle Fester in the 'Addams Family' television series (1960s)

Jackie Coogan as Uncle Fester in the 'Addams Family' television series (1960s)

me – When did you become a director as well as actor?

Charlie – The directors I worked with did not appreciate my telling them how to do their jobs. (rolls eyes). So I asked Sennett if I could direct a picture. My timing was perfect since his distributors were clamoring for more hilarious Chaplin film shorts.

My first film as a director was Caught in the Rain (1914), a 16-minute short film with me playing a very tipsy hotel guest. Sennett was so impressed with my acting AND directing that he added a $25 bonus to my salary for each short I directed. With my new clout, I got Keystone to sign my brother as an actor, too.

me – How did you find new ideas for your films?

Charlie“All I need to make a comedy is a park, a policeman and a pretty girl.”

The Tramp (1915), my first full-length motion picture, was a gigantic hit. I made 35 films for Keystone before Essenay Studios offered me a higher salary.

I made 15 films there before going to Mutual where I made 12 films between 1916 and 1917, earning a hefty $10,000 a week plus bonuses which amounted to $670,000 that year. I was the highest paid entertainer in the world.

me – Why did you build your own motion picture studio?

Charlie – When I was 27, First National Pictures, Inc. signed one of the first million-dollar contracts in the history of Hollywood with me. But, they had no studio. So I built my own studio at Sunset Boulevard and La Brea in Hollywood. Sydney joined me as my financial adviser.

At Charlie Chaplin Studios, we created both shorts and feature-length movies including these favorites of mine: A Dog’s Life (1918), The Kid (1921), The Gold Rush (1925), City Lights (1931), Modern Times (1936), The Great Dictator (1940), Monsieur Verdoux (1947), and Limelight (1952).

In 1919, I co-founded the United Artists film distribution company with actors Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks and director D.W. Griffith so that we would have our own power over film distribution.

In 1921, I moved my mother from the asylum where she had been living to a house I bought for her in California where she was cared for until her death in 1928.

Mildred Harris

Mildred Harris

Charlie Chaplin and Lita Grey

Charlie Chaplin and Lita Grey

Charlie Chaplin and Paulette Goddard

Charlie Chaplin and Paulette Goddard

Charlie Chaplin and Oona O'Neill

Charlie Chaplin and Oona O'Neill


me – Tell me about wife number one.

Charlie – In 1918 when I was 29, I met 16-year-old Mildred Harris, a young ingenue, at a party. We dated for a few months and then Mildred told me she was pregnant. To avoid a scandal, I quietly married her. It turned out that she wasn't really pregnant.

Later, she did get pregnant but the baby died shortly after birth. When I asked her for a divorce offering a settlement of $100,000, she asked for $1,000,000. We were divorced in 1920 and I paid her $200,000.

me – And wife number two?

Charlie – In 1924, I met 16-year-old Lita Grey (I had her change her name from Lillita MacMurray) who was to be my leading lady in The Gold Rush. When she became pregnant, she was replaced in the film and became my second wife. We had two sons, Charlie, Jr. and Sydney.

We divorced in 1928. Her grounds - my adultery. I paid her $825,000. This ordeal turned my hair prematurely white at the age of 35.

me – And putative wife number three?

Charlie –My leading lady in Modern Times and The Great Dictator, was 22-year-old Paulette Goddard. We lived together between 1932 and 1940. When she didn’t get the part as Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind (1939), we thought it was because we were not legally married.

So we announced we had been secretly married in 1936. Before you ask, no, I don’t have the marriage certificate.

me – Moving on, next wife?

Charlie – I love younger women – much younger women – and had numerous affairs and some legal battles as a result. But I remained single until the age of 54. Then, in 1943 I married 18-year old Oona O’Neil, daughter of playwright Eugene O'Neill.

We had eight children and I remained married to her for the rest of my life. BTW, (proudly) I was 73 when my last child was born.

The Red Scare (McCarthyism) was a period in the United States when accusations of communism, often without supporting evidence, led to blacklisting of many in the movie industry.


The Red Scare

me – Why did FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover and the House Un-American Activities Committee become suspicious of you during McCarthy's Red Scare?

Charlie – Although I had lived in the U.S. for several decades, I had never applied for U.S. citizenship. The Committee claimed that I was inserting communist propaganda into my films. I denied being a communist and argued that even though I never became a U.S. citizen, I had been paying U.S. taxes.

But it seems that my previous affairs, divorces, and appreciation of teenage girls didn’t help my case. I was labeled a communist.

In 1952, while abroad on a trip to Europe with Oona and the children, I was denied re-entry into the U.S. So my family and I eventually settled in Switzerland. I saw the entire ordeal as political persecution and satirized my experiences in my European-made film, A King in New York (1957).

Chaplin receiving honorary Oscar (1972)

The Chaplin residence in Switzerland

The Chaplin residence in Switzerland

One particular song, ‘Smile,’ which was the theme song Chaplin wrote for Modern Times, became a hit on the Billboard charts in 1954 when lyrics were written for it and sung by Nat King Cole. Here is Barbra Streisand's version as she sang it on Oprah Winfrey's television show in 2003.

Smile by Barbra Streisand (2003)


Return to the U.S.

me – You returned to the U.S. in 1972 to receive an Academy Award. What was the award for?

Charlie – This Academy Award was given to me, and I quote: ‘for his incalculable effect in making motion pictures the art form of the century.’

I was 82 years old at the time and could barely speak while receiving the longest standing ovation in Oscar history – a full five minutes.

I died of natural causes in 1977 when I was 88 at my home in Vevey, Switzerland, surrounded by my family. I was buried in Corsier-Sur-Vevey Cemetery, Switzerland.

me – What’s that story about your body being held for ransom?

Charlie – It's true! Two months after I died, two local auto mechanics dug up my coffin, reburied it in a secret location, and telephoned my widow that they were holding it for ransom. The police traced the men when they made calls to her.

The men were charged with attempted extortion and disturbing the peace of the dead – now, that’s funny! The coffin was dug up from a field, about a mile away from my home, and then cemented back in its original grave site.

Have to run now. I’m late for a meeting with Lucille Ball. We get together each year to compare our pantomime techniques. Ta, ta.

me – Thank you, Charlie, for the interview and all the laughter you have provided. You were indeed a genuine Renaissance Man of the silent film era – an actor, a director, a writer and a music composer. Ta, ta.


Although Chaplin made Limelight in 1952, before he was denied U.S. re-entry, his music for the film won him an Oscar in 1973 when the movie was finally played in a Los Angeles theater.

In 1975, Chaplin became Sir Charlie Chaplin when knighted by the Queen of England for his services to entertainment.

© Copyright BJ Rakow, Ph.D. 2013, 2014. All rights reserved. Author, "Much of What You Know about Job Search Just Ain't So." Learn to write a dynamic resume and cover letter, network effectively, interview confidently, and negotiate salary.

  • Interview with Bruce Lee – Martial Arts Master, Fi...
    There are so many deceased famous people for me to interview with my supernatural powers, that I am having a difficult time selecting just one. But fortunately, this one selected me. I was finishing my moo shu pork in my favorite Chinese restaurant w
  • Interview with James Dean
    Do you remember how Bruce Lee found me in a Chinese restaurant so I could conduct one of my supernatural interviews with him? Well, it has happened again. This time I went to a revival of James Dean films ...
  • Interview with Channing Tatum
    Are you surprised that I was able to interview Channing Tatum? No sweat. I used my new supernatural brain-wave invention to read his mind!

Comments for Interview with Charlie Chaplin

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on July 10, 2016:

Thank you Kevin. My Mom really enjoyed doing that piece on Charlie Chaplin.

Kevin Kabuga from Naivasha _ Kenya on July 06, 2016:

Great delivery. Liked the interview and videos in the article.

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on November 19, 2014:

So nice to meet you, Sonia. Delighted we both share an admiration of Charlie and appreciate you letting me know. I enjoyed 'The Kid,' too.

Sonia Procha from Chandigharh on November 16, 2014:

Outstanding Article, I am one of the fan of The legendary comedian Charlie Chaplin and I feel really very good to read this. I like his Movie "The kid" most.

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on July 16, 2013:

Dear Colin - we both share a love for Charlie's beautiful song, 'Smile.' I love to see you at one of my hubs and thank you for your visits, accolades, and the warmth of your friendship.

You already know how much I appreciate you and your work and your sharing of mine. I salute the poet laureate of Hubpages. Stay well, my friend.

epigramman on July 14, 2013:

Well here I am at the hub doorstep of a true legend bowing at your pretty feet and yes Charlie Chaplin wrote one of my favorite songs - Smile.

As always my dear DRBJ your interview series is your masterstroke of genius of good natured wit and packed with enlightening information, images and text.

No one does it better than you my friend. It's always an honor to visit your sacred page or to receive a visit from you.

I am sending to you my warmest wishes for your continued health and happiness from Colin, Little Miss Tiffy and Mister Gabriel at lake erie time 5:50pm and just about to have my supper out on the deck with my cats - salmon and new potatoes, and they ain't getting any of the salmon, lol - I will post and link your awesome tribute/interview here on my FB for all to see your true hub labors of love

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on April 28, 2013:

So happy, Docmo, that you enjoy Charlie Chaplin's multi-faceted talents as much as I do. He was and is a genuine icon. And his humor will never go out of style. Thanks for the kind comments and the visit, my friend.

Mohan Kumar from UK on April 28, 2013:

I owe a lot to Charlie, drbj. I loved his shorts and his amazing full length features that opened up a world of imagination, humour and sheer joy. His talent fascinated me - writer, director, actor , musician, successful producer .and much much more. I still get to watch all his films with my children and his talent does transcend time. Thanks for this wonderful interview.

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on April 22, 2013:

How nice to see you here, Dianna, I've missed you. I'm not surprised that young folks still enjoy Charlie's films. His creative humor appeals to all ages. Thanks for the gracious comments and sharing, m'dear.

What have you been up to?

Dianna Mendez on April 21, 2013:

I am amazed at how some of the younger college students still enjoy watching his movies. He was such a talented and creative artist. Great share and well done!

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on April 13, 2013:

Hi, ishwaryaa. Nice to know that you are also a big Charlie Chaplin fan. Thanks for enjoying my 'entertaining' interview, for the sharing, the Up, and the sublime comments.

Edna Purviance was Charlie's leading lady in 33 films. She appears in 'The Kid' in the video above. Edna retired in 1927 and Charlie kept her on the payroll until her death in 1958.

Ishwaryaa Dhandapani from Chennai, India on April 13, 2013:

An absolutely wonderful interview with the legend of the silent films era! I am a big fan of Charlie Chaplin and his priceless films. I enjoyed reading your interview as well as learning more about this timeless icon. I adore his pairing with Edna Purviance, one of his numerous leading ladies. Once again, an entertaining read! Way to go!

Thanks for SHARING. Awesome & Interesting. Voted up

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on April 13, 2013:

I would never mind any question you ask, Alastar. Of course, answering them could be a different story. My all-time favorite Charlie Chaplin films are 'Modern Times' (1936) for its amazing roller skating sketch (see the video clip above), and both "The Kid' and 'The Gold Rush' (entire films are in videos above). Thanks for asking.

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on April 13, 2013:

Hi, citywolf. Thank you for the visit and appreciating my whimsical approach. I, too, hope that many readers share my hubs with their kids and others, and will endeavor to 'continue the great work.' But you need not call me 'sir.' Your Royal Highness will do. :)

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on April 13, 2013:

It's a knack, Mary, being in the right place at the right time. :)

Because Charlie grew up across the pond, many fans in the U.S. had no clue about his early, troubled beginnings. But his personal life in America was fodder for the media. Thanks for loving this m'dear, and the gracious comments.

And I KNOW you are not as old as some may think!

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on April 12, 2013:

Well, Wayne, since you mentioned you would like to get the inside scoop on Charlie's 'appreciation' of young women in the interests of science of course, I'll see what I can do.

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on April 12, 2013:

So glad you were persistent, Petra, and returned to comment when the interview with Charlie was published again. He was a very special talent who contributed so much to the development of the movies we take for granted today.

Thank you for your gracious comment, m'luv, it is always my pleasure to see you here.

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on April 12, 2013:

If I impressed you with this 'creative and captivating way to tell Chaplin's story,' Crystal, then I have done my job. So happy you were hooked. Thanks for the Up and the sharing, m'dear.

Alastar Packer from North Carolina on April 12, 2013:

That's okay Drbj, I knew it wasn't a time traveler. After all, who would he be talking to in 1928! Cool info on the hear aid. What is your all-time fave Charlie movie, drbj, if you don't mind me asking?

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on April 12, 2013:

What a lovely comment, Nell. You were so totally enthralled that you were disappointed when you got to the end. Now that's what a writer wants to hear. Yes, Charlie was extremely verbal and we are both delighted you learned so much. Thank you for the Up vote and the sharing, m'dear.

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on April 11, 2013:

You are my kind of Hubbuddy, Thelma, since you like my Interviews of popular dead people and awesome animals. Yes, Charlie was very fond of very young women and had a number of legal troubles as a result.

But as you pointed out he was a great actor and show business entertainer. I like watching his escapades, too. Take a look at that roller skating scene from 'Modern Times' that I just added above. I think it will make you laugh - out loud!

Thanks for the Up and the awesome.

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on April 11, 2013:

Hi, mary. Happy you enjoyed that bit of foolery from "Modern Times." Charlie's roller skating ability is even more amazing when you realize he performed those stunts without the aid of computer effects. He surely was one of a kind, m'dear, but then so are you!

Thanks for reminding me about that funny bit - I added it to the interview above.

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on April 11, 2013:

Thank you, Alastar, for enjoying this 'tour-de-force of an interview.' And thank you for that sublime description. Yes, Charlie was a ladies man to the nth degree - especially the younger ladies. Those two dolts who tried to ransom his casket were caught because the local police tracked down the source of their phone calls.

The scene from his 'The Circus' silent film shown on You Tube does show an individual talking on what appears to be a cell phone long before cell phones were invented. But Charlies says that actor was holding a rectangular hearing aid to his ear, not a phone. Such aids were invented in 1925 and the film was made in 1928. Sorry to shoot down the time traveler theory. :)

Sarah Wolfe from Oregon on April 11, 2013:

You are wonderful. I love this whimsical approach. I hope there quite a few out there reading these to their kids. Continue the great work sir.

Mary Craig from New York on April 11, 2013:

Your list of interviewees is amazing, how wonderful you are always in the right place at the right time ;) Seriously, this was a great piece. You provided information about Charlie Chaplin that most of us do not know. I, like many others, had no idea about his terrible, troubled past. I remember Oona being much younger and that he was married many times but since I am not as old as many think, I didn't know much about his previous marriages. Loved this!

Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

Wayne Brown from Texas on April 10, 2013:

Doc... I simply must meet with Charlie and get his inside scoop on the younger know! Can you arrange it? ~WB

Petra Vlah from Los Angeles on April 10, 2013:

I read the interview the day you published it and then for whatever reason (when I came back to leave a comment) it was unpublished. I am glad you put it up again - as usual it is a great way to learn more about a person who had a special role in history and only you have that unique talent to present it in such an entertaining fashion.

Crystal Tatum from Georgia on April 10, 2013:

Well, I am very impressed. This was such a creative and captivating way to tell Chaplin's story. I was hooked. Voting up and sharing!

Nell Rose from England on April 10, 2013:

Now that was a great read! I was so totally enthralled that I was quite disappointed when I got to the end! lol! fantastic! I felt as though he was really talking to you, and I learned so much, voted all the way and shared! nell

Thelma Alberts from Germany on April 10, 2013:

Great interview as always, drbj. I like the way you interviewed popular dead people and awesome animals. I know about some of Chaplins story but not that he loved young girls. Anyway, he was a great actor. I like his films. Thanks for sharing. Voted up and awesome.

Mary Hyatt from Florida on April 09, 2013:

Thanks so much for the link for the video "Modern Times". I'm sitting here laughing out loud! Then, of course, one thing led to another and I wound up watching about five more of these videos of him, including "The Skating Rink".

He was truly one of a kind! Thanks again.

Alastar Packer from North Carolina on April 09, 2013:

Drbj! So glad to see your Chaplin interview, the other day it appeared unpublished. Couldn't imagine why unless Charlie didn't like something and was pestering you from his lofty realm. Anyway, a tour-de-force of an interview, much enjoyed. My that young Lita Gray caused our genius some trouble, but then again, he was a heck of a ladies man, no doubts about it. And how about that with the ransom, my,my, what some will do for the love of lucre. Drbj, you may not be aware and thus were unable to ask Mr Chaplin about the scene on YouTube from The Circus. Seems there may have been a time traveler talking on a cell phone!

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on April 09, 2013:

That was typical of Charlie, KK Gals. He would rush in where others might fear to tread - even at the early age of five. His mother had a very sad life and some of that is reflected in a few of the desolate characters in his films. You are so right - he was a born entertainer.

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on April 09, 2013:

I get to meet not only the most interesting deceased celebrities, chris, but also the nicest folks on Hubpages. Charlie was a great entertainer and I thank you for the great tribute comment.

Just so you know, I have tried several times to get that laudatory review on Amazon for you but no luck ... so far.

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on April 09, 2013:

Hi, Patricia, so happy I was able to provide you with details about Charlie that you may have not known. I, too, learned a lot doing this research. And it was definitely my pleasure to share with you, m'dear.

And I was amazed at that grave robbing episode, too.

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on April 09, 2013:

Nice to meet you, Archa Ghodge. You are so right. Charlie's troubled past did not interfere with his message of the importance of laughter which he reflected in almost every film role. Thanks for the visit.

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on April 09, 2013:

It is my sincere pleasure to refresh your memory, mary. Charlie roller skated in 'The Rink' (1916), but his roller skating was even more memorable in 'Modern Times' (1936) with Paulette Goddard. He skated blindfolded in a department store toy department and repeatedly averted disaster. Here's the link to enjoy:

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on April 09, 2013:

Me giving you information about film stars, Bruce? That has to be a first. It's usually the other way around with the fascinating compilations of movie history that you write.

Charlie did have a very poor and deprived childhood and was fortunate that his older brother was often there to look after him. Delighted you enjoyed the photos and videos.

His final movie with those two movie star icons was not well received but I enjoyed it. Thanks for the visit and the kind words.

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on April 09, 2013:

It's remarkable, Martie, how many people all over the world recognize Charlie Chaplin's image even after all these years. His first film role was in 1914 so we're talking almost 100 years ago. Delighted that you enjoy the song, 'Smile,' as much as I do.

Thanks for your loyal support, m'dear, 'tis entirely my pleasure.

Susan Hazelton from Northern New York on April 09, 2013:

Charlie Chaplin was quite a character. Somehow I'm not surprized that he was brave enough at the age of five to go on stage and finish his mothers sone. Too bad about her career. He was something = a born entertaineer.

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on April 09, 2013:

Not surprised, Bill, that you knew about Charlie's predilection for very young women - that was always an integral part of his mystique. He was an icon of silent films with many talents. Thanks for loving the interview style - it's one of my favorites, too. Don't worry about appearing old, m'dear, since I'm probably older than you. I am older than soil, y'know.

Christopher Antony Meade from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom on April 09, 2013:

You certainly do manage to meet the most interesting people. Charlie had a very rough beginning, but he rose above it. A great man and a great tribute.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on April 09, 2013:

Good morning drbj...

this is so interesting. I had no idea...truthfully I had always thought Charlie was born here...never researched him so that false idea was never corrected. But now thanks to you, I know what I didn't know.

thanks for sharing his story...sadly his remains were not allowed to remain undisturbed...I never fail to be amazed.

Thanks for sharing this...

Sending many Angels to you this morning :) ps

Archa from India on April 08, 2013:

Charlie Chaplin had such a troubled past . But it was never reflected in his acting. Great hub.

Mary Hyatt from Florida on April 08, 2013:

Refresh my memory, please.....what was the name of the movie 'Charlie C. skated so well in. I can just see him skating around. You included a photo of him with skates on.

Oh, I'm not selling my house; only the collectibles my kids don't want.

Night, Mary

UltimateMovieRankings from Virginia on April 08, 2013:

Very well done...I now know three times the amount of information on Chaplain than I knew before reading your interview. Wow what a sad least his brother was in his life. I loved the pictures and the videos you included that help tell the story of his life.

I recently watched his last movie he directed...A Countess from Hong Kong...with Marlon Brando and Sophie Loren....sad to see all that talent make a very average movie......but it least they all have wonderful other films to remember them by.

Voted up interesting and educational....job well done.

Martie Coetser from South Africa on April 08, 2013:

I don't know why, but I have accepted Charlie without ever knowing who he really was. Especially after I've learned that he was the man behind 'Smile'. So I have found this interview with him extremely interesting. Thank you drbj!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on April 08, 2013:

Some of this I knew, and I'm not sure why...the part about the young girls was in my head but don't know who I knew it. Anyway, he was quite famous when I was growing up...still a household name....and yes, that means I am quite old. :) Great information....loved the interview style.

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on April 08, 2013:

'The Kid' is one of my favorites, too, mary - such pathos, such humor - and all without one word spoken. Yes, he was one of a kind. But then so are you, m'dear!

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on April 08, 2013:

Mary - Forgot to ask - how is the home sale going?

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on April 08, 2013:

Hi, Don. If you enjoyed 'The Great Dictator,' you will also enjoy most of Charlie's silent films as well - particularly 'The Kid' and 'The Gold Rush.' Timeless although silent humor! Thanks for the comments and the sharing.

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on April 08, 2013:

Hi, Jaye, happy to learn you are a Charlie Chaplin fan, too. He was, as you pointed out, immensely talented, and became very successful by his own efforts. Until I did the research, I was not aware of his musical talents as well. His song, 'Smile,' has always been one of my favorites. Thank you for your gracious comment, m'dear.

drbj and sherry (author) from south Florida on April 08, 2013:

Thank you for the praise, Will. Yes, times have changed a bit since wooing and bedding underage girls was accepted if not condoned.

Mary Hyatt from Florida on April 06, 2013:

I have always been a fan of Charlie Chaplin. I think (I hope) I've see all of his movies. My favorite is The Kid.

I never knew his background, so I was glad to learn your interesting facts about him and his life.

I'm so happy he granted you this interview! He was truly one of a kind!

Voted UP, and will certainly share.

Don A. Hoglund from Wisconsin Rapids on April 06, 2013:

I never really watched Chaplin or the other silent movie funny people. I happened to have a VHS tape of "The dictator" and watched it the other night. I do have to admire some of the technique of timing and such from those days.I learned much I did not know about chaplin from your interview. keep up the good work. sharing.

Jaye Denman from Deep South, USA on April 06, 2013:

Awesome! I've always been fascinated with the life and work of Charlie Chaplin, and your interview with the departed (but, it seems, not inactive) comedian was quite interesting and enjoyable.

True, Charlie's penchant for younger women is frowned upon today, but in many states in the U.S. girls younger than those he chose could (and in some states, even now, can) be married with parental consent. Young women, especially those not from affluent families, were not always given the benefit of higher education; rather, they were encouraged to find husbands who could support them.

So, in the context of that time, Charlie's marriages (including the common-law marriage to Paulette Goddard) don't seem as out of line as they would today.

While he eschewed his father's drinking, Charlie chose womanizing as his vice until he met and married Oona O'Neill and became the father of a large family of children.

Whatever one thinks of his personal behavior, it's evident that Charlie Chaplin was an immensely talented individual who began life and early childhood under terrible circumstances, but rose above them to become a success.

Voted Up, Awesome and Interesting (and shared)


WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on April 06, 2013:

Excellent as always, drbj.

Wow! Sixteen year old girls? Today he would have gone to jail.

Related Articles