Charles Spencer Chaplin was born on April 16, 1889 in Walworth,
backstage while she performed, to take up such a career for himself.
Casey’s Court Circus. Sydney, meanwhile, had joined the famous Fred Karno
Company and quickly became a leading player and writer therein. He
managed to get Charlie involved, and he too became a Karno star. For both
huge impact on Charlie especially.
In 1910 Charlie toured the U.S. with the Karno group and returned
for another in 1912. It was on this tour that he was head hunted by Mack
Sennett and his Keystone Film Company, and Charlie was thus introduced
into the medium of film. His first film, in 1914, was aptly titled Making A
Living, and it was directed by Henry Lehrman. He starred in many of his
Keystones along side Mabel Normand, who also directed three of his films,
but it wasn’t until Twenty Minutes of Love that he had a taste of directing
himself, and this quickly became the only way he worked.
another, each time into a better deal. In 1915, after thirty-five films, he
moved to Essanay, and it was here he really found his feet, not to mention his
period include The Champion, The Tramp and The Bank. In 1916 he moved
he made the definitive Chaplin short comedies, The Rink, Easy Street, The
Cure and The Immigrant. First National were next, and it was here he
constructed his full length masterpiece, The Kid. Shorter comedies of note at
this time included Sunnyside and The Idle Class.
his first film for them in 1923, the Edna Purviance vehicle, A Woman of
Paris, perhaps the least known of his films, but it was followed by the Chaplin
followed by the more refined Monsieur Verdoux and Limelight, a look back
to the music hall world of his youth.
political maneuverings effectively ejected him from the country and he
wasn’t to return until 1972, when he received a special Academy Award. In
the meantime, though heartily welcomed back to Britain, he moved to
Switzerland with his wife, Oona O’ Neill, and their children. He made two
From Hong Kong (1967, with Sophia Loren and Marlon Brando) and spent
he died, at 4 A.M. on Christmas Day in 1977.
Mitchell, Glenn. The Chaplin Encyclopedia (1997)
Gifford, Denis. The Comic Art of Charlie Chaplin (1989)
McCabe, John. Charlie Chaplin (1978)
Payne, Robert. The Great Charlie (1957)