In 1914 Chaplin made his film debut in a somewhat forgettable one-reeler called Make a Living . To differentiate himself from the clad of other actors in Sennett films, Chaplin decided to play a single identifiable character, and "The Little Tramp" was born, with audiences getting their first taste of him in Kid Auto Races at Venice (1914).
A short, curly haired European immigrant with overtly Semitic looks. An entertainer, performer and filmmaker of the highest quality. A virulent anti-Nazi who poked fun of Hitler and even played a Jew in one of his films. Charlie Chaplin certainly has all the credentials. There's just one problem. He's not Jewish. Guess it's too much to ask that a Chaplin abandon the church. It's too bad, because by all accounts he's someone we'd be proud to have. In fact, he may have the highest Jew Score for a non-Jew ever. An underappreciated category, granted, but still. He's out-Jewing some pretty serious Jews out there, and he's not even allowed on the bema. Chaplin empathized with Jews, was quite the Semitophile (to coin a concept), and his half-brother might have been Jewish. But in the end, he's just a glazed ham in brisket's clothing. Verdict: Sadly, not a Jew . August 30, 2006
Charlie Chaplin was a genius,with a heart and this being the first time I’ve watched him in a long time I see other greats who have copied him in certain ways ernie kovacs-benny hill to name a couple and his nemesis reminded me a little of pop eyes nemesis for letting me witness a genius once again
During the next five years Chaplin devoted himself to Limelight (1952), a gentle and sometimes sad work based in part on his own life. It was much different from Monsieur Verdoux. "I was … still not convinced," Chaplin wrote, "that I had completely lost the affection of the American people, that they could be so politically conscious or so humorless as to boycott [refuse to pay attention to] anyone that could amuse them." Further hurting Chaplin's image was a much-publicized lawsuit brought against him by a woman who claimed he was the father of her child. Although Chaplin proved he was not the child's father, reaction to the charges turned many people against him.
In 1942, though, Chaplin apparently became newly enraptured with sound. He took one of his old classics , The Gold Rush , and reedited it to include his own narration. Such was his preference for the version with sound that he didn’t bother to renew the copyright on the silent version, allowing it to lapse into public domain. All of his films after The Great Dictator were notably “talky” and heavily laden with storytelling that emphasized dialogue over visuals. There’s a lesson in that for the artists out there: If you’re the one person sticking to a particular aesthetic belief, you might find you’re denying yourself a lot of possibilities.
Postcard, late 1910's - early 1920's - Edna Purviance Research Collection
During his career, Chaplin owned two homes, but none at the beginning of his film career in early 1914. Instead for many years, Charlie rented a room at the Los Angeles Athletic Club. He and Sydney were not sure how long their careers would last and were always ready to head back to London, if things did not work out. And even after Chaplin's career did take off, he still preferred his club room to a home.
During Charlie's marriage to Mildred Harris he rented a home on 2000 De Mille Drive, but during the break up he moved back to the Athletic Club.
After Chaplin's return from his 1921 London and European Tour, his friends Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford finally talked him into building a home near their fame estate called 'Pickfair'.
The land once was an open hillside where the locals rode their horses. The hill became the 'home of the stars' in the silent film days. Chaplin's home was finished in 1923 and was designed by Chaplin. It had 14 rooms, a swimming pool and the most interesting feature, a fully installed pipe organ. Later a tennis court was added which Chaplin enjoyed while having Sunday Tennis parties.
Chaplin lived in his Summit Drive home until his family trip to London with Oona in September of 1952. Chaplin would never be able return to the California home he loved when he was denied re-entry to the . by government officials. He sold the house in the 1950's.
His second and final home was Manoir de Ban, Corsier sur Vevy Switzerland . Charlie and Oona raised their eight children at the Manoir de Ban during the 50's, 60's and 70's. Chaplin passed away at his home on Christmas Day 1977. The family continued to live at the home. Today it is being turned into the 'Charlie Chaplin Heritage Center', the current name for the project.
Chaplin also owned the home he brought his mother to live in during her later years in the 1920's. This home was in the Los Angele area.
Learn more about Chaplin's family life from the following books and DVD:
'Chaplin, His Life and Art' - David Robinson - latest edition 2001
'My father, Charlie Chaplin' - Charles Chaplin Jr. - 1960, out of print
'The Chaplin Encyclopedia' - Glenn Mitchell - 1997
'Charlie Chaplin: Forgotten Years' - Hart Sharp Video - 2003
Copyright February 2004 - Linda Wada
Updated December 12, 2011
Editing - Wes Wada
Part 1 - Charlie's Ideal Part 2 - Chaplin's Wives Part 3 - Chaplin's Family
Special knowledgement to the books 'Chaplin, His Life and Art' by David Robinson, 'My Autobiography' by Charles Chaplin, 'My Life in Picture' by Charlie Chaplin, 'The Chaplin Encyclopedia' - Glenn Mitchell , 'My Life with My Father' by Charles Chaplin Jr. and 'My Life With Charlie Chaplin' by Lita Grey Chaplin.
Chaplin may have made the transition to sound film slowly and even reluctantly, but he was using radio to his advantages as early as 1923...
Charlie Chaplin wasn’t just the greatest star of the silent film era; he also wrote, directed and produced more than 80 movies in a career that spanned decades and included such masterpieces as The Kid , The Gold Rush and Modern Times . He scored many of his pictures as well, and on at least one occasion served as an on-set hairdresser.
Chaplin is also one of my creative heroes. Despite being an art-obsessed high schooler preemptively bored by anything in black and white, I borrowed a VHS tape of Chaplin’s work from the library on a lark. It’s not an exaggeration to say watching it changed my life. I laughed, I cried—I cried from laughter. For the first time I realized the power of visual storytelling.
We sometimes tell small stories with Google’s logo , but for Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin’s 122nd birthday tomorrow, April 16, the Doodle team created something extra fun. For the next 36 hours the Google homepage will pay homage to Charlie Chaplin’s creative legacy with our first-ever live action video doodle.
The simple, silent short film stars the entire Doodle team (with fellow doodler Mike Dutton sporting that famous mustache, hat and eyeliner) and was shot on location in Niles, Calif. , the setting of several of Chaplin’s early classics including The Tramp . Niles is also home to our advisers for this doodle, the ever-helpful Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum .
True pieces of art, Chaplin’s films still feel fresh today even though some of them are nearly a century old. We hope that our homage gets people talking about his work and the many virtues of silent film.
As a bonus, check out some of these fun behind-the-scenes shots:
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