Charlie Chaplin (Charles Spencer Chaplin) was born in London, England, on April 16th 1889. His father was  an actor; and his mother, known under the stage name of Lily Harley, was an  actress and singer.

Charlie was fending for himself before he reached the age of ten as the early death of his father and the subsequent illness of his mother made it necessary for Charlie and his brother Sidney to make their own way.

The youngsters  inherited natural talents from their parents and took to the stage as the best opportunity for a career, Charlie having been introduced to the stage when he was five.  His  professional debut as a member of a juvenile group called “The Eight Lancashire Lads”  rapidly won him popular favor as an outstanding tap dancer. He went on to be one of the most financially successful stars of early Holywood, refining the character of “Charlie the Tramp”, which would become his legacy.

Chaplin was a masterful silent film actor and pantomimist who could inspire  both laughter and tears from his audiences, He resisted the arrival of sound in movies. In his first film that featured sound (City Lights in 1931), he used only music. His first true sound film was 1940’s The Great Dictator, in which he mocked fascism.

Charlie Chaplin  founded United Artists Corporation in 1919 with Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and director D.W. Griffith. His fourth wife, Oona O’Neill, who was 18 when she married the 54-year-old actor, was the daughter of playwright Eugene O’Neill. Though he had lived in the United States for 42 years, Chaplin never became a U.S. citizen.

“A vocal pacifist, Chaplin was accused of communist ties, which he denied. Nevertheless, in 1952, immigration officials prevented Chaplin and his wife from re-entering the United States after a foreign tour. The couple did not return to the United States for 20 years; instead they settled in Switzerland with their eight children. Chaplin returned to America 1972 to accept a special Academy Award for “the incalculable effect he has had on making motion pictures the art for and of this century.” He was knighted Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin in 1975. He died two years later.”

To learn more about the genius of Charlie Chaplin click on the link

Also, click on the video and enjoy:

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7 Comments on Charlie Chaplin’s 122nd birthday tomorrow, April 16

  1. Joe K says:

    This is a beautiful post. I especially liked your choice of YouTube video. Very touching. Charlie was a genius.

  2. Marg H says:

    Thank you for this post it’s a reminder of Charlie Chaplan’s genius. I loved the You Tube video and of his “Smile”. Michael Jackson’s rendition is great too. Perhaps Michael found inspiration to feed his own genius through Charlie Chaplin.

  3. Vani Z. says:

    Thanks for this post especially the music. Nat King Cole sang Smile beautifully. Michael Jackson’s version is great too. I haven’t seen Charlie Chaplan’s work but will make a point of finding out more about him.

  4. Ben says:

    Lots of happy memories seeing Charlie Chaplin again. Hard to believe he would be so old. Well done Spittalstreet. I wonder if Una is still alive and how have their eight children lived their lives. Any more info?

  5. Jennifer F says:

    What a wonderful post and beautiful video tribute! Amazing facts about Charlie Chaplin’s life and career. He was an amazing and unique performer. Thank you!

  6. Sandy says:

    Hi Ben, If you’d like to read about Oona Chaplin here’s a link to Wikipedia. There’s a lot of good information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oona_O'Neill

  7. Lisa M. says:

    Thanks for this post. Chaplin was an amazing artist a true genius as was Nat King Cole.

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