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Charlie Chaplin ACTOR


On April 16th, 1889, Charlie Chaplin was born in London to music Hall entertainers Charles and Hannah Chaplin.  At the young age of 5, he made his first stage debut when his mother lost her voice and Charlie had to fill in for her.  He continued to appear on stage.  However, Charles Chaplin, his father, eventually chose to desert his family and he later died of alcoholism.  Charlie's mother Hannah, was finding it difficult to find work after losing her husband and eventually had a mental breakdown and was forced to reside at the Cane Hill Lunatic Asylum.  This forced Charlie and his half brother Sydney to be sent to live in a series of bleak work houses and residential schools. 
In 1897, with the help of contacts he had met in show business through his mother, he joined the Eight Lancashire lads, which was a clog dancing act.  At the age of 16, he got the part of Billy in a West End Production of, "Sherlock Holmes".  In 1908, Charlie had the opportunity to join Fred Karno's music hall revue.  He was cast as the drunk and here began his rise to fame in the ensemble, "A Night In an English Music Hall."
He continued to tour with the Karno company and in 1913 he was discovered by film producer, Mack Sennett.  He performed in a couple of Keystone comedy films.  He was earning a salary of $150 a week.  His first Keystone one-reeler, "Making a Living" (1914) was not a complete failure as it has been made out to be, but it did not portray him to his best capabilities.   He was then ordered by Sennett to come up with a creative character and more workable image.  Charlie came up with an outfit that consisted of a coat too small, pants too large, shoes that were big and floppy, a mangled derby and he completed his character with a cane and pasted on mustache.   Here is alter ego character became born, known as, "The Little Tramp". 

"Caught In The Rain" (1914) was his thirteenth film, and he was now given the opportunity to begin directing his own films.  He concentrated on slowing down the speed of the films, less visual pranks and instead focusing a little more time on each joke.  Themes began to be more realistic and pinpoint on serious issues he remembered from his childhood such as poverty, and alienation.  He chose to leave Sennett and in 1915, signed a contract with Essnay increasing his salary to $1250 per week.  His films began to show even more emotion and desolation in such short films as, "The Tramp" (1915) and "Burlesque on Carmen" (1916).  
His career then took an even larger step working at the Mutual Company Film Corporation.  He remained with them for 18 month and was now making $670,000 per year.  During this time, two-reelers considered by many to be his top work, "One A.M." (1916), "The Rink" (1916), "Vagabond" (1916), "Easy Street" (1917) and "A Dog's Life" (1918).  It was also during this time that he signed the cinema's first ever million-dollar contract.
In 1919 Chaplin joined with D.W. Griffith, Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford together creating, United Artists, a company that enabled the stars to distribute their films without studio interference. After much hesitation, he released his 1931 feature, "City Lights" as a silent, despite the pervasiveness of talkies after 1928; his gamble paid off, and the film was a success. 
Charlie Chaplin was very concerned with politics and many of his films began to mock political and social issues.  Most known was as a factory worker in, "Modern Times" (1936), seen by some as an attack on capitalism.  He was highly against racism and in 1937 Chaplin decided to make a film on the dangers of fascism.  Portraying Adolph Hitler in  "The Great Dictator" (1940), a film many tried to stop him from making. He was even receiving alarming messages from United Artists that he would run in to censorship trouble.  However, the film was completed and actually used as a propaganda against Hitler later during the war.
In 1952 Chaplin visited London for the premiere of "Limelight".  Upon his arrival back into the United States, he was told his entry permit had been revoked and had been denied the right to live in the United States.  He then chose to leave behind his business ties with the US and his studio and returned to Europe in 1952.
On the other side of his career, many of his off screen activities stirred up slight altercation. In 1918 he married 16-year-old Mildred Harris, and in 1924 he wed another teenager, Lita Grey, both marriages ended in divorce. His third marriage, to actress Paulette Goddard, which lasted until 1942, was rumored to never have been legalized.
Since Charlie had been banished from making films in the United States, he moved to Switzerland with his fourth wife, Oona (daughter of playwright Eugene O'Neill), and he responded by making a, "King in New York" (1957).  The film stars Chaplin as the deposed king of Estrovia who flees to America where he is tormented by McCarthy style investigations.  Chaplin was once again accused of being pro-communist and the film was never released in the US. 
While living in Europe, he wrote his autobiography, "My Autobiography" 1964 and also directed another film, "A Countess from Hong Kong" (1966).   In 1972,  he was welcomed back to Hollywood and received an honorary Academy Award for his, 'incalculable effect on motion pictures'. He was visibly and deeply moved by the 12-minute standing ovation he received at the Oscar Ceremonies.  In 1975, Chaplin made one of his final public appearances when he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth.
Charles Chaplin died in Switzerland on 25th December, 1977. He once said, "Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself".  "He continues to be celebrated as one of the greatest and most important comic artists and film stars of the 20th Century".

1914   Making a Living
1914   Kid Auto Races at Venice
1914   Mabel's Strange Predicament
1914   Between Showers
1914   A Film Johnnie
1914   Tango Tangles
1914   His Favorite Pastime
1914   Cruel, Cruel Love
1914   The Star Boarder
1914   Mabel at the Wheel
1914   Twenty Minutes of Love
1914   Caught in a Cabaret
1914   Caught in the Rain
1914   A Busy Day
1914   The Fatal Mallet
1914   Her Friend the Bandit
1914   The Knockout
1914   Mabel's Busy Day
1914   Mabel's Married Life
1914   Laughing Gas
1914   The Property Man
1914   Face on the Bar Room Floor
1914   Recreation
1914   The Masquerader
1914   His New Profession
1914   The Rounders
1914   The New Janitor
1914   Those Love Pangs
1914   Dough and Dynamite
1914   Gentlemen of Nerve
1914   His Musical Career
1914   His Trysting Place
1914   Tillie's Punctured Romance
1914   Getting Acquainted
1914   His Prehistoric Past
1915   His New Job
1915   A Night Out
1915   The Champion
1915   In the Park
1915   A Jitney Elopement
1915   The Tramp
1915   By the Sea
1915   Work
1915   The Bank
1915   Shanghaied
1915   A Night in the Show
1916   Burlesque on Carmen
1916   Police
1916   The Floorwalker
1916   The Fireman
1916   The Vagabond
1916   One A.M.
1916   The Count
1916   The Pawnshop
1916   Behind the Screen
1916   The Rink
1917   Easy Street
1917   The Cure
1917   The Immigrant
1917   The Adventurer
1918   A Dog's Life
1918   The Bond
1918   Shoulder Arms
1919   Sunnyside
1919   A Day's Pleasure
1921   The Kid
1921   The Idle Class
1922   Pay Day
1922   The Pilgrim
1923   A Woman of Paris
1925   The Gold Rush
1928   The Circus
1931   City Lights
1936   Modern Times
1940   The Great Dictator
1947   Monsieur Verdoux
1952   Limelight
1957   A King in New York
1959   The Chaplin Revue
1967   A Countess from Hong Kong   

Matinee Classics - 30 Years of Fun starring Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Harry Langdon and Laurel and Hardy
Matinee Classics - A Night in the Show starring Charlie Chaplin, Edna Purviance and Charlotte Mineau
Matinee Classics - Caught in a Cabaret starring Charlie Chaplin, Mabel Normand and Harry McCoy
Matinee Classics - A Dog's Life starring Charlie Chaplin in his first Million Dollar Picture
Matinee Classics - Caught in a Cabaret starring Charlie Chaplin, Mabel Normand and Harry McCoy
Matinee Classics - A Dog's Life starring Charlie Chaplin
Matinee Classics - A Day's Pleasure starring Charlie Chaplin and Edna Purviance
Matinee Classics - Charlie Chaplin
Matinee Classics - Charlie Chaplin
Matinee Classics - Charlie Chaplin

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