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