Charlie Chaplin Unseen Photographs

A Brief Biography of Charlie Chaplin

Charlie Chaplin was born on April 16, 1889, in London England. His birth name was Charles Spencer Chaplin, though he had many nicknames growing up such as Charlie, Charlot, and The Little Tramp.

Charlie Chaplin with his closest friend
Douglas Fairbanks on skiing holiday
His father, Charles Chaplin, and his mother, Hannah Chaplin, were inducted into the music hall of fame, leading the way to his exposure even as a young boy. His first onstage moment was when he was 5 years old; he sang a song that was intended to be sang by his own mother, though she had become ill at the time of the performance so little Charlie Chaplin stood in sand performed for his mother. Charlie Chaplin came to the United States in 1910, at the age of 21.
Charlie Chaplin with Mahatma Gandhi


He was brought to New York, which was known to be a great place to start out for anyone trying to become a professional actor. Two years later, in 1913, Chaplin signed his very first contract at Keystone and it was no time before he headed to Hollywood.
Charlie Chaplin with Marlene Dietrich

His first movie premiered in 1914, "Making a Living," and went on to make over 35 movies total in that year alone. His rise in popularity was like nothing that people had seen, though with parents of fame, it was nothing new to Charlie. He grew to become one of the most popular and successful actors of all time. The moment that really kicked off his long career was in 1921 when he starred in, and produced, his first full length film called "The Kid."
Paulette Goddard with Charlie Chaplin


In Kid Auto Races at Venice, he originated the gentleman tramp routine, twirling cane, bowler, tight jacket, and baggy pants that became his trademark. He also learned to direct his own short films. During the next four years, Charlie consolidated his growing international reputation. At the same time he refined his tramp character into a poetic figure that combined comedy and pathos yet retained his meticulously timed acrobatic skills.

Charlie with his wife Oona Chaplin, and
two children Geraldine and Michael
His films grew in length and subtlety with A Dog's Life and Shoulder Arms (both 1918). After co-founding United Artists in 1919, He began independent production in the 1920s of his best feature-length films: A Woman of Paris (1923), The Gold Rush (1925), The Circus (1928), City Lights (1931), Modern Times (1936), and The Great Dictator (1940), his first all-talking film, in which he abandoned the tramp to parody Adolf Hitler. Among his later films only the poignant Limelight (1952) achieved popularity;the
Charlie Chaplin with Joan Crawford

apparent cynicism of Monsieur Verdoux (1947) and A King in New York (1957) alienated audiences, while his last effort, A Countless from Hong Kong (1966), left little impression. Although he was loved and appreciated throughout the world as the inimitable Charlie, Chaplin's personal life including four marriages, a 1944 paternity suit, and his refusal to accept U.S. citizenship gained him adverse publicity in America.
Charlie Chaplin in Childhood

In 1953, accused of Communist sympathies, he was denied re-entry into the country. Thereafter, he settled in Switzerland with his wife, Oona O'Neill and a family of nine children. Initially embittered, he returned in triumph to the United States in 1972 to receive a special achievement award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, followed in 1973 by an Academy Award for his score to Limelight.
In 1975, at age 86, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. He died on December 25, 1977, in Vevey, Switzerland. He had apparently died of natural causes in his sleep from old age.

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