Charlie Chaplin


Chaplin became a worldwide icon through his screen persona “The Tramp” and is considered one of the most important figures in the history of the film industry. His career spanned more than 75 years, from childhood in the Victorian era until a year before his death in 1977, and encompassed both adulation and controversy.Famous for his character “The Tramp”, the sweet little man with a bowler hat, mustache and cane, Charlie Chaplin was an iconic figure of the silent-film era and one of film’s first superstars, elevating the industry in a way few could have ever imagined.

Named after his father, a British musical entertainer, Chaplin spent his early childhood with his mother, singer Hannah Hall. He made his stage debut at the age of 5, intervening in the song where his mother was losing her voice. Mentally unstable, his mother was locked in an asylum, and Charlie and his half-brother, Sydney, were sent to correctional and residential schools. Using the business contacts of his mother, Charlie became a professional artist in 1897, entering the Eight Lancashire Lads step band. Subsequent appearances include a small role in “Sherlock Holmes” by William Gillette and a vaudeville role in the production of Casey,“Court Circus”. In 190,8 he joined Fred Karno’s pantomime troupe, quickly rising to stardom in the role of drunkard sketch “A night in a Musical English Hall”.

In fact, Chaplin hasn’t always embodied a bum. In many of his films, his character was a waiter, store clerk, aid scene, firefighter or other similar roles. His character could be better described as not ready, yet essential: rejected by well-established companies, unlucky in love, resourceful in all but bad at something. He was also a survivor, always leaving behind his past troubles, careless heading towards new adventures. His vagabond charm was universal: the public adored his insolence, lack of vanity, relaxed primitivism, unexpected chivalry and optimism in the face of adversity.

His next film, made in England, was “A King in New York” in 1957, where an exiled monarch helplessly watches as his world falls apart. In 1964, Chaplin published “My Autobiography”, and two years later he directed his last film, the much appealed “A Countess from Hong Kong”.

Finally, the animosity between Chaplin and the US government has disappeared, and in 1972 he returned to Hollywood to accept a special award from the Academy. It was a return with a bittersweet taste. Chaplin had come to complain about the United States but was visibly and deeply moved by the 12 minute standing ovation received at the Academy Awards ceremony. Chaplin appeared publicly in 1975, when he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth. A few months after his death, his body was briefly kidnapped from a Swiss cemetery by incompetent thieves, a gruesome end that Chaplin would have invented for one of his movies.

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