Sir Charles Chaplin

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Charlie Chaplin was born Charles Spencer Chaplin on April 16, 1889 in London. He is one of the most well-known actors in Hollywood is recognized as an icon of the silent film. His most memorable character is the Little Trap or the man with the toothbrush mustache, bamboo cane, bowler hat and a silly walk.

At the age of eight Chaplin toured with the Eight Lancashire lads. He began touring with Fred Karn's vaudeville troupe at the age of 18. He traveled with the troupe to California in 1913 and signed on with Keystone Studio's comedy direct Mack Sennett. At Keystone, Chaplin directed and acted in over 35 films starring as the Little Tramp in most of them.

Chaplin went on to work for Essanay, Mutual and in 1917 Chaplin signed on with First National Studios. In 1919 Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford and D.W. Griffith formed United Artists.

Chaplin lived a life of scandal and controversy. During WWI his loyalty to England was questioned and he sparked the suspicion of J. Edgar Hoover who thought he was injecting Communist propaganda into his films. In 1940 Chaplin acted in The Great Dictator where he portrayed a caricature of Adolf Hitler. This film grossed $5 million and earned five Academy Award Nominations. After a visit to England in 1952, Chaplin and his family were denied entrance back into the United States due to perceived communist ties. Chaplin settled in Switzerland. Chaplin was married four times and had eleven children. His last wife, Oona O'Neill gave birth to eight children.

Chaplin lived quietly, in shabby accommodations and hoarded his money. In 1921 he was awarded for his work as a filmmaker and in 1972 he received an Academy Award for his incalculable effect in motion picture making. Chaplin died on December 25, 1977 of natural causes. In 1978 his corpse was stolen from its grave and was lost for three months. He is now reburied in a vault surrounded by cement.

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