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Charlie Chaplin's Biography

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Charles Spencer Chaplin was born on 16 April 1889 in London and died on 25 December 1977 in Corsier sur Vevey in Switzerland.

Charlie Chaplin was a brilliant tragi-comic actor and director. The son of music hall performers, Chaplin joined Fred Karno's vaudeville troupe, leaving in 1913 to join Max Sennett at Keystone.

Charlie Chaplin soon started directing his own movies and 1914 his iconic character, the Tramp, made his first appearance in 'Kid Auto Races at Venice'. This tramp, vagabond character would be seen repeatedly in the fifty plus films Charlie Chaplin made in the next two years. The bowler hat, walking cane and moustache were there right from the start of Charlie Chaplin's movie career.

After enjoying great success, Chaplin was able to establish United Artists with Douglas Fairbanks Snr and D W Griffith.

His style was particularly suited to silent films. As he himself said in his autobiography: 'All I need to make a comedy is a park, a policeman and a pretty girl'.

Chaplin achieved great success with 'The Great Dictator', a satire on Hitler, made in 1940, for which Chaplin received his only Oscar nomination. (Although in 1972, Charlie Chaplin did receive an honorary Oscar). In 'The Great Dictator', Chaplin played two characters - the megalomaniac tyrant Ademoid Hynkel and his doppelganger, a little Jewish barber.

Dogged by marital scandals and troubles with the House UnAmerican Activities Committee, Chaplin emigrated from the USA to Switzerland.

His first post-war film, 'Monsieur Verdoux' had been initially banned by the Motion Picture Association's censor, and Chaplin was investigated for several years, but no indictments were ever handed down.

According to Alistair Cooke's excellent book, Six Men:

"After releasing 'Limelight', he packed for a holiday in Europe and he and his wife boarded the Queen Elizabeth on the 17th of September, 1952. Once the ship was well out at sea, the United States Attorney General rescinded Chaplin's re-entry permit on the vaguely rhetorical grounds that he was 'an unsavoury character' ..."

Charlie Chaplin was knighted in 1975.

Classic Chaplin films include: 'The Gold Rush' (1925), 'City Lights' (1931), and 'Modern Times' (1936).

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