Interesting Facts About the Great Chaplin

Though Charlie Chaplin will always be remembered as the eccentric screen legend, there are aspects of the Tramp’s personal life that are as interesting and unusual as his on-screen persona. Without further adieu, here are some interesting facts about the unforgettable Sir Charles Chaplin.

Related to his films:

  1. Chaplin was born on April 16, 1889 in London. Ironically, his birth was four days before ¬†German dictator Adolf Hitler’s, who Chaplin actually portrayed in his film The Great Dictator.
  2. Additionally, though the film The Great Dictator was banned in Germany (for obvious reasons) it is rumored that Hitler himself privately viewed the film, twice.


3. Chaplin personally viewed his best film to be A Countess From Hong Kong (1967) which starred Marlon Brando and Sophia Loren. Though it was his only color film, critics were not as enthusiastic about the film as Chaplin, viewing it as a “dismal, uninviting comedy”.

The view in Hollywood:

  1. Though he won 3 Academy Awards total, his only “real” Oscar was for Best Score in 1973 for Limelight, with the other two Oscars being Honorary Awards (1929, 1973).
  2. The project for his star on the Walk of Fame started in 1958, but it was not completed until 1972 due to his believed communist affiliations.
  3. Additionally his film Limelight, though completed in 1952, was not shown in the U.S. until 1973 (21 years later) due to his believed communist affiliations.

Relationships and Family:

  1. Chaplin was married four times, with three of his wives being between the ages of 16-18 when he married them.
  2. He had 11 children (8 with his last wife Oona O’Neill). His daughter Geraldine, an actress, portrayed his mother in the 1992 film about his life, Chaplin.
  3. After a brief relationship with a woman named Joan Barry, she gave birth to a child and claimed him to be the father. Though DNA results proved this statement wrong, the test was deemed inadmissible in court and Chaplin was ordered to pay child support.

Other Intriguing Facts:

  1. Chaplin once one third prize in a Chaplin look-a-like contest, which was probably because people did not recognize his blue eyes, due to all films being in black and white.
  2. Chaplin never became a US citizen, being exiled in 1953 and remaining in Switzerland until his death in 1977.
  3. After his death, Chaplin’s body was actually stolen in attempt to get ransom money from his family. When his body was recovered, it was placed under six feet of cement to prevent any future attempts.

As one can see, Charlie Chaplin was truly an interesting character, on and off screen.

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