Person    | Male  Born 16/4/1889  Died 25/12/1977

Charlie Chaplin

Categories: Cinema, Seriously Famous

Countries: Switzerland, USA

Born Charles Spencer Chaplin in East Street, Walworth (possibly, see Londonist). Comic actor, composer, director and producer. Born into a music hall family. He joined a troupe of child dancers, 'Eight Lancashire Lads' at the age of 8. At 17, whilst on tour in America, he joined the Mack Sennett Keystone Company motion picture company. His acting technique was characterised by a high degree of pathos, accentuated in the then silent movies, but he was unwilling later to adapt his style to the 'talkies'. His success enabled him to co-found United Artists in 1919. His major films included The Tramp (1915), Shoulder Arms (1918), The Gold Rush (1925), City Lights (1931), Modern Times (1936) and The Great Dictator (1940). Became immensely famous and claimed that the only person he met who had not seen his films was Gandhi. 1952 left the US for a premier in London but, due to his supposed left-leaning political views (this being the McCarthy era), he was refused re-entry to the States and he went to live in Switzerland, where he died. He returned just once to receive an honorary Oscar in 1972. He was knighted in 1975.

Don't believe everything you read, especially about his poverty-stricken childhood - he embroidered shamelessly. For example his mother died in California in 1928, not when he was a baby. One story we hope is true: The Nazis, troubled by his success, asserted that he was Jewish. On being told this Chaplin replied "I do not have that honour."

Even his birth place is in doubt. According to the Telegraph his birth certificate has never been found and there are papers that suggest he was born near Birmingham.

January 2013 Spittalfields Life carries a wonderful article on Charlie in Spittalfields.

History.com tells the story of how Chaplin's body was stolen from the Swiss cemetery for ransom. (No money was paid, the culprits were arrested and Chaplin was reburied in a concrete grave.)

2022: Londonist report on Chaplin's time, aged 7, as a pupil at a school for destitute children in Ealing.

This section lists the memorials where the subject on this page is commemorated:
Charlie Chaplin

Commemorated ati

Chaplin - Lambeth Walk

The BFI date the Hippodrome performance to Christmas 1900. The quote about a ...

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Chaplin mosaics 1

Southbank Mosaics

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Chaplin mosaics 2

This image is from the 1918 'A Dog's Life'.

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A Man in a Hurry

A Man in a Hurry

A documentary about the tenor-saxophonist Tubby Hayes.

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Kenneth Williams

Kenneth Williams

Comedy actor. Born Bingfield Street, N1. David Benson's 6 minute video of David Benson's Kenneth Williams walk showing the Argyle Square area of London where Kenneth grew up. And the BBC iPlayer ha...

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Mike Leigh

Mike Leigh

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1 memorial
Jessica Tandy

Jessica Tandy

Actor. Born Jessie Alice Tandy in Upper Clapton. She appeared in over 100 stage productions and more than 60 roles in film and TV. In 1940, on the break-up of her marriage to actor Jack Hawkins, sh...

Person, Cinema, Theatre, TV & Radio, USA

1 memorial
Odeon Southgate

Odeon Southgate

It closed as an Odeon in 1972 and was taken over by an independent distributor. It re-opened as the Capitol in 1975, closing in 1981. Demolished to make way for the Hobart Court office block.

Place, Cinema

1 memorial