Charles Spencer Chaplin

Mary Haswell By Mary Haswell, 6th Aug 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Celebrities>Personalities

A look at the enduring legacy of Charlie Chaplin's life and career.

April 16th,1889~December 25th, 1977

Chaplin's Philosophy:
"Give as good as you get: When kicked in the pants by Life's indignities, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, hang on to your self-respect, and repay the compliment in full measure."

Charlie Chaplin was born at the turn of the century in South London to local music hall performers Charles Chaplin Sr. and Hannah Chaplin. His father was an incurable alcoholic and his mother suffered frequent psychotic breaks requiring lengthy hospital stays. Between his mother's consistent absences and his fathers physical and emotional unavailability, he pretty much began his life as an orphan, spending a good portion of his childhood in schools for impoverished children or at the local workhouse.

Despite living in abject poverty and the lack of a stable home life, Charlie always kept his wits about him and never gave into despair. Always a bright child with a strong backbone, like most of the children in South London at that time, he did whatever it took to survive. It was out of this necessity that Charlie abandoned his education in the fourth grade.

As a small child he developed a deep love of stage performing from his mother, who taught him all about vaudeville and pantomime. An astute learner at his mother's feet, he would practice mimicking people he knew and soon he would be earning money performing on the streets and in local pubs.

At the age of nine his raw talents were noticed and he was invited to tour with the dance troupe Eight Lancashire Lads. From 1898 to 1912 he would tour with three other productions as well. After two years with the dance troupe, three years with "Sherlock Holmes", one year with "Casey's Court Circus"and six years with "Karno Company" Chaplin's credentials were well established and he was on the fast track to realizing his ultimate ambition.

In 1913 at the age of 24, Charlie was offered a contract with Keystone Film Company working under Max Sennett in Edendale, California. He was apprehensive about the shift from stage performing to making films, but he signed and began working with Sennett in 1914. After a brief adjustment period, Chaplin was able to incorporate his style, talent and wealth of knowledge into the Keystone arsenal, proving himself to be an innovative force in the silent film industry. It was also at this time that he would create his iconic character, "The Little Tramp".

The Little Tramp was the physical manifestation of the people and the struggles of Chaplin's childhood, the instrument he would use to tell the stories of his life, as well as live out his fantasies of heroism. In 1925 he was quoted as saying:

"The whole point of The Little Tramp is that no matter how down on his ass he is, no matter how well the jackals succeeded in tearing him apart, he is still a man of dignity."

By 1916, at the age of 26, Charlie was a millionaire. The following year he would build a film studio that would become United Artist and there he began writing, producing, directing and starring in the pictures that would make The Little Tramp and himself immortal legends of the silent film era. His career spanned 75 years, his entire life considering he lived to be 88. He made 87 films and received numerous awards for his work. Two years prior to his death he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. He passed away in his sleep on December 25th, 1977 from a stroke.

Chaplin was a brilliant performer with a talent for blending comedy and pathos in a way that reached the hearts of many and showed the world that words are not always necessary to convey a message.


Charles Chaplin, Little Tramp

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author avatar Mary Haswell
I am a novice writer looking for my niche while working on perfecting my writing skills.

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