Charles Spencer Chaplin, born on April 16, 1889 in Walworth, London, came from a family of music hall performers in England. His father, Charles Chaplin, was a well-known figure in the profession and he had a younger brother named Sydney. Even as a child, Charlie was told that he had the potential to become globally renowned. At age six, he made his debut onstage when he substituted for his mother. The audience’s overwhelming admiration led them to throw money onto the stage – an auspicious start to his journey towards becoming the world’s most famous individual.
Charlie experienced a challenging childhood, as his father had already left home permanently before his first performance on stage. In June of 1896, Charlie, Sydney, and their mother were compelled to enter the Lambeth Workhouse for the poor. Shortly thereafter, both boys were sent to Hanwell School for Orphans and Destitute Children. Two years later, after their mother suffered a breakdown, Charlie and Sydney moved in with their father and his mistress. During that same year, Charlie joined the dancing troupe called the Eight Lancashire Lads, which eventually led to his roles in Sherlock Holmes and other productions. Meanwhile, Sydney had joined the renowned Fred Karno Company and swiftly became a prominent actor and writer.
In 1900, Charlie performs as a cat in Cinderella at the London Hippodrome. Sadly, his father succumbs to Alcoholism shortly after and his mother, Hannah, is institutionalized at the Cane Hill Asylum where she never regains her mental stability. In the following years, Charlie takes on various roles across Europe. However, in September 1910, he begins a tour of the United States and Canada with the Karno Troupe.
Charlie Chaplin had a long and successful career in the film industry, spanning fifty-six years. He worked as an actor, director, producer, and composer both in America and internationally. Some of his most famous works include “The Tramp” (1915) and “The Kid” (1921). In 1918, Chaplin got married to Mildred Harris and also provided a home for his mother in California during the same year that he made “The Kid”. Unfortunately, his mother passed away on April 28, 1928.
From 1952 to 1972, Charlie decided not to visit the United States due to various reasons such as being accused of being a Communist by a McCarthyite. Throughout his life, he faced many scandals and had been married four times. His marriage to Paulette Goddard remains mysterious.
Charlie received numerous prestigious honors and awards, such as the Actors Guild Award, an honorary Oscar, the Golden Lion Statuette, and an Oscar. In addition to these accolades, he was named the best actor of the year by the New York Film Critics in 1940, but he turned down this recognition. Moreover, Queen Elizabeth II of England knighted him. Charlie passed away at his estate in Switzerland on Christmas day in 1977 at 4:00 A.M., at the age of eighty-eight.