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Life may be dreary...but never the same.

Charles Spencer Chaplin
16 April
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  • mr_chaplin@livejournal.com
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The Man, the Myth... the Mayhem.

Preliminary Note to the Public:
I, the author, being of sound mind and body, do not in any way believe, truly, that I am, in fact, one
Charles Spencer Chaplin
who, though his body was pilfered by criminals in the 1970's, is quite long gone, though surely some would love to see him resurrected, as would I (maybe for a minute or two, without anything gruesome transpiring).

This journal has been created for a recreational jaunt in the community classic_rpg.

Note to Fellow Players
Charlie will often follow a regular public post with a Friends Only, "personal" post. So, be sure to log in when giving him a read.


from CharlieChaplin.com

Charles Spencer Chaplin was born in London, England, on April 16th, 1889. His father was a versatile vocalist and actor; and his mother, known under the stage name of Lily Harley, was an attractive actress and singer, who gained a reputation for her work in the light opera field. Charlie was thrown on his own resources before he reached the age of ten as the early death of his father and the subsequent illness of his mother made it necessary for Charlie and his brother, Sydney, to fend for themselves. Having inherited natural talents from their parents, the youngsters took to the stage as the best opportunity for a career. Charlie made his professional debut as a member of a juvenile group called "The Eight Lancashire Lads" and rapidly won popular favour as an outstanding tap dancer.

When he was about fourteen, he got his first chance to act in a legitimate stage show, and appeared as "Billy" the page boy, in support of William Gillette in "Sherlock Holmes". At the close of this engagement, Charlie started a career as a comedian in vaudeville, which eventually took him to the United States in 1910 as a featured player with the Fred Karno Repertoire Company. He scored an immediate hit with American audiences, particularly with his characterization in a sketch entitled "A Night in an English Music Hall". When the Fred Karno troupe returned to the United States in the fall of 1912 for a repeat tour, Chaplin was offered a motion picture contract. He finally agreed to appear before the cameras at the expiration of his vaudeville commitments in November 1913; and his entrance in the cinema world took place that month when he joined Mack Sennett and the Keystone Film Company. His initial salary was $150 a week, but his overnight success on the screen spurred other producers to start negotiations for his services. At the completion of his Sennett contract, Chaplin moved on to the Essanay Company (1915) at a large increase. Sydney Chaplin had then arrived from England, and took his brother’s place with Keystone as their leading comedian. The following year Charlie was even more in demand and signed with the Mutual Film Corporation for a much larger sum to make 12 two-reel comedies.

From "A Woman"
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When his contract with Mutual expired in 1917, Chaplin decided to become an independent producer in a desire for more freedom and greater leisure in making his movies. To that end, he busied himself with the construction of his own studios. This plant was situated in the heart of the residential section of Hollywood at La Brea Avenue. Early in 1918, Chaplin entered into an agreement with First National Exhibitors’ Circuit, a new organization specially formed to exploit his pictures. His first film under this new deal was "A Dog’s Life". After this production, he turned his attention to a national tour on behalf of the war effort, following which he made a film the US government used to popularize the Liberty Loan drive: "The Bond". His next commercial venture was the production of a comedy dealing with the war. "Shoulder Arms", released in 1918 at a most opportune time, proved a veritable mirthquake at the box office and added enormously to Chaplin’s popularity. This he followed with "Sunnyside" and "A Day’s Pleasure", both released in 1919.

With the Nymphs, Sunnyside (1919)
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In April of that year, Chaplin joined with Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and D.W. Griffith to found the United Artists Corporation. Under his arrangement with U.A., Chaplin made eight pictures, each of feature length, in the following order: "Woman Of Paris" (1923) which he wrote, directed and produced, but in which he only appeared in a cameo role and gave the limelight to Edna Purviance and Adolphe Menjou; "Gold Rush" (1925); "Circus" (1928); "City Lights" (1931); "Modern Times" (1936); "The Great Dictator" (1940), in which he played a dual role and talked on the screen for the first time; "Monsieur Verdoux" (1947) in which the public saw a new Chaplin, minus his traditional moustache, baggy trousers and wobbly cane; and "Limelight" (1952) . In 1957, he released his comedy "A King in New York" which Chaplin wrote, acted in and directed, as well as composing the music, and in 1966 he produced his last picture "A Countess from Hong Kong" for Universal Pictures, starring Sophia Loren and Marlon Brando.

Chaplin's Wives
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image and some information stolen from EdnaPurviance.org

Chaplin had four wives. The first (from the image, left to right), Mildred Harris, was only sixteen when Chaplin married her on October 23, 1918. He was twenty-nine. As though the scandal of their age difference wasn't enough, Harris reportedly duped Chaplin into marrying her with a pregnancy that amounted to a false alarm in the end. When she did finally bear him a child, it was malformed: a son Mildred called "The Little Mouse." The child lived only three days, dying in July, 1919. The marriage failed one year later, and Harris settled her divorce for $100,000 on the grounds of "cruelty."

Next, Chaplin's eye wandered to Lita Grey, who was cast as the flirtatious angel in The Kid (1920. The relationship was said to have inspired Nabokov's novel, Lolita, for Lita was just sixteen, and Chaplin was thirty-six. Again, their marriage was hastened by the possibility of pregnancy, only this time, the girl was telling the truth. He married Lita in Mexico on November 26, 1924. She was cast as the lead in The Gold Rush at the time, and had to be dropped because of the pregnancy. Charlie and Lita had two children during the marriage, Charles Chaplin Jr. on May 5, 1925 and Sydney Chaplin on March 30, 1926. In late November of 1926, the already rocky marriage foundered and turned into a long, nasty public divorce for both Lita and Charlie. The divorce settlement was the largest in California's legal history: $825,000 ($625,000 for herself and $100,000 for each son in the form of a trust). The extreme amount of press on the settlement did not, obviously, do wonders for Chaplin's reputation.

Chaplin's third wife, Paulette Goddard, was the oldest of his wives (in her early 20's when he married her)and a divorceé. An actor like his previous two wives, Goddard was cast as the lead for Modern Times, and shortly after production, the couple traveled to the Far East to be married in 1936. At least, they said that they were married. No real legal evidence of it can be found, though they maintained publicly that they were married in Canton in 1936. Whatever the case, Goddard and Chaplin were happy for a time, but that happiness was not, of course, long lasting. Goddard wanted a real acting career; Chaplin wanted a wife. The divorce was supposedly settled in Mexico in 1942, with little press coverage. The end was not so bitter, however, as the last two; they remained distant friends, and she last saw him in New York in 1972, when he was visiting to receive his special Oscar.

Oona O'Neill, daughter of the great American playwright Eugene O'Neill, was to be Chaplin's final and long-lasting companion. They met in 1942 and married in 1943; Oona was eighteen, and Chaplin was fifty-four. The age difference definitely turned heads, but it did not matter to the couple, who were so very much in love.
During Chaplin's life he had eleven children born between 1919 (the "Little Mouse") to his youngest in 1962. Two died during his lifetime. Most of his children grew up during the 50's and 60's. Eight of these children were Oona's. It really was a perfect match for the both of them. After three times of trying, Charlie finally found his leading lady.

Parting Remarks
The multi-talented Charles Chaplin was a rare comedian who not only financed all of his films, but was the author, actor, director and composer for them as well.
Such artists of his ilk do not, or cannot, exist in our world of sound and language. His work transcends all boundaries. The self-proclaimed "Citizen of the World" was perhaps the last of his kind.

Chaplin passed away on Christmas Day 1977, almost thirty years ago.

The Musical Tramp
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