Charlie Chaplin is arguably the most recognized actor for generations of audiences, entertaining the world with the antics and calamities of his “Little Tramp” character.
The iconic funny man with the mustache and ill-fitting clothes has appeared in dozens of silent films, engaging in scratches, romantic confusion and silly arguments. Chaplin, who grew up in London studios and performed on vaudeville stages as a child, became not only a talented actor, but an extraordinary director, producer and composer of music. Along with Hollywood heavyweights Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and DW Griffith, he started the United Artists studio.
He has had an incomparable influence on the world of comedy, the entertainment industry and the affairs of Hollywood. His life has also been filled with scandals. Two of his four wives were only 16 when he married them, his divorce settlement was the most expensive at the time, and he was forced to leave his adopted country America to live in exile in Switzerland.
Looking at Chaplin’s 88 years as an artist, creative genius, and sometimes controversial celebrity, Stacker has compiled a list of 25 facts from his life that you might not know. To compile the list, Stacker consulted media reviews, biographies, and movie stories.
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1889: Birth of artists in London
Charlie Chaplin was born on April 16, 1889 in South London to Hannah and Charles Chaplin Sr., who were music hall artists. Her parents separated, and Chaplin and her half-brother Sydney spent their childhood in work and charity homes after their mother was placed in an asylum in 1903. She lived in the asylum for 18 years. , before Chaplin took him to California in 1921.
[Pictured: Charlie Chaplin is third row from front, third from left.]
1899: Join a touring dance troupe
At age 10, Chaplin joined a troupe of hoof dancers called The Eight Lancashire Lads. They did a tour through England.
1903-1908: Appearance in burlesque, vaudeville, comedy
Chaplin landed roles in several plays and joined a burlesque company called Casey’s Circus. With his older brother Sydney, also a performer, he joined The Karno Co., a well-known comedy and vaudeville theater company.
[Pictured: Chaplin is center, wearing a bowler hat.]
1910-1913: Being discovered in America
As a member of The Karno Co. theater troupe, Chaplin toured the United States, where he caught the attention of the New York Motion Picture Co. In 1913, he landed a contract with the Keystone Film Co. earning $ 150 per week.
1914: Make his film debut
The first movie starring Charlie Chaplin was “Earning a Living“ in 1914. Wearing a large mustache, Chaplin played a charming crook named Edgar English.
1914: introduction of the “little tramp”
Chaplin little tramp cThe character first appeared in the 1914 film “Kid Auto Races At Venice”. Chaplin’s character was a spectator who disrupted a go-kart race. The film was shot during a real race, with the actors improvising with real spectators of the race.
1914: The ‘Little Clochard’ becomes famous
During his year at Keystone Film Co., Chaplin developed his “Little Tramp“ character and directed 35 comedy shorts. Chaplin later described how he chose his designer suit, saying, “I wanted everything to be a contradiction: the loose pants, the tight coat, the small hat, and the large shoes. “
1914: A first turn in the realization
Among the humorous short films made by Chaplin in 1914, “Vingt minutes d’amore“ was his first directing effort. From another comedy from 1914, “Son ami le bandit“, no known copy survives. The now-lost film starred Chaplin and Mabel Normand, and they also co-directed.
1915: The character of the ‘Little Clochard’ evolves
In “The Tramp”, produced in 1915 for Essanay Studios and directed by Chaplin, his iconic creation began to transform into a more familiar character that audiences are familiar with. The “Little Tramp” has become less burlesque and has become more poignant and caring.
1916: Become the highest paid actor
By signing a contract of $ 670,000 per year with the Mutual Film Company, Chaplin became the highest paid film actor in the world. He has directed a dozen short comedies for Mutual, including “The Floorwalker,” the first film to use the “walking staircase” gag in which actors descend an escalator – or vice versa – and get nowhere. .
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1918: marries 16-year-old actress Mildred Harris
In October 1918, at age 29, Chaplin married 16-year-old Mildred Harris, a popular child actress. They had a son in 1919 who only lived three days, and they separated later that year. When they divorced in 1920, Harris got a property and a $ 100,000 settlement.
1918: Helping the war effort
Chaplin made “The Bond” in 1918 at his own expense to promote the sale of US Liberty Bonds to help finance the country’s military effort during World War I. The film featured a number of comedic sketches depicting types of bonding such as friendship and marriage.
1919: Creation of the United Artists workshop
In 1919, Chaplin joined forces with actress Mary Pickford, actor Douglas Fairbanks and director DW Griffiths to create the United Artists studio. It was an effort by the stars to exercise more control over their work.
1924: wife Lita Gray, 16-year-old actress
In 1924, Chaplin married actress Lita Gray. He was 35 and she was 16, preparing to star in the film The gold Rush. She got pregnant and lost the role. The couple had two sons, Charles Chaplin Jr. and Sydney Earle Chaplin, both of whom became actors.
1927: An angry and costly divorce
Chaplin divorced his wife Lita Gray in 1927 in acrimonious proceedings. He paid her a record settlement of $ 825,000 and legal costs for the divorce amounted to nearly $ 1 million. A Chaplin biographer said their marriage served as the inspiration for the novel Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov, on a man’s obsession with a 12-year-old girl.
1925-1931: Creating a work legacy
In 1925, Chaplin wrote, produced, directed and starred in one of his most acclaimed works, the silent film The gold Rush. In 1931, when most films were talkies, he silenced City lights, which featured a musical score composed by Chaplin.
1936: The “Little Clochard” bows out
In his last appearance as “Little Tramp”, Chaplin made the 1936 film Modern times. The film is seen as a commentary on the unemployment and poverty faced by millions of people during the Great Depression.
1936: wedding of actress Paulette Goddard
The year 1936 saw Chaplin marry the actress Paulette Goddard, whom he had chosen as a street kid in Modern times. She was 22 when they first met. They kept their marriage largely secret and he did not present her publicly as his wife until 1940. They separated in 1942. The actor later said they were married in secret, but also stated that it was a common-law marriage.
1940: Fighting Nazism through comedy
Chaplin The great dictator, released in 1940, is his first fully talking film. In the parody of Adolf Hitler and Nazism, Chaplin plays two roles – a Jewish barber and fascist leader Adenoid Hynkel – and delivers a scathing critique of the German leader. He was nominated for the Academy Awards for Best Actor and Best Picture.
1943: marriage of the fourth wife Oona O’Neill
Chaplin married Oona O’Neill in 1943. He was 54 and she was barely 18. Her father was playwright Eugene O’Neill, who condemned the union and cut off all contact with his daughter for the rest of her life. The couple had eight children, including actress Geraldine Chaplin.
1943: Accused in paternity
The same year Chaplin married his fourth wife, Oona O’Neill, he was sued for paternity by actress Joan Barry. The scandal cost him in terms of popularity and public image. Blood tests showed he was not the father, but the results were not admitted as evidence in a 1944 trial, and Chaplin was ordered to pay $ 75 a week until the Barry’s child is 21 years old.
1952: Exiled from America
During a trip to London in 1952, Chaplin learned that US immigration officials would not let him return home to America after openly criticizing the House Un-American Activities Committee hearings and being suspected by government officials. to have communist sympathies. He moved to Corsier-sur-Vevey in Switzerland.
1972: A 12-minute standing ovation from Hollywood
Chaplin returned to the United States to receive an Honorary Oscar in 1972. The audience gave him a standing ovation that lasted 12 minutes.
1975: knighted by Queen Elizabeth
Queen Elizabeth knighted Chaplin at the age of 85. The honor had been proposed and rejected in 1931 because Chaplin had not served in World War I and again in 1956 when the Conservative British government did not want to damage relations with the United States during the Cold War.
1977: Death in Switzerland
Chaplin died in Switzerland on Christmas Day in 1977 after suffering from health problems for several years. He was buried in the cemetery of Corsier-sur-Vevey in Switzerland, where in 1978 a band of thieves stole his body in an attempted extortion. The grave robbers were arrested and the body was found after 11 weeks near Lake Geneva. He was re-buried in a vault under several feet of concrete.
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