Charles Spencer Chaplin, born on April 16, 1889 in London, England, is considered as the greatest entertainer the world has ever seen. He was not just a comedian, actor and a performer but also a thinker who had the power to realistically reflect and reasonably exaggerate contemporary issues that could draw people to witness and understand the issues through his performance.
He was, thus, a writer, a director and a producer who also acted and composed the music and rendered the sound effect that was so relevant during that silent era. Being the son of parents who were entertainers in their own right, Charlie Chaplin, as he is popularly known began his career as a performer at the tender age of eight. By the age of 25 he has traveled extensively and had already made over 35 films. By then he had gained considerable command over filmmaking. His craving for perfection made him one of the most demanding ones in Hollywood. In spite of being the star performer in his films he understood the importance of every character in the scene. He would shoot and print dozens of times before okaying on one or totally reorganizing or recasting the film over again. Though this was tough and arduous for his team, they would still admire every stage of this creative architect. They all knew that once the film was ready and released it would bring success and smiles for all.
Though later in life Charlie Chaplin and his contribution to art and cinema received world acclaim he had during his life his share of pain and controversies. He was charged of being disloyal to England, accused of spreading communism in America, discriminated on grounds of being un-American, indicted for aiding the Russian struggle, declared an undesirable alien and was also severely castigated for his caricature of Hitler in the Great Dictator. For all this he and his work did take a beating. Added to this was his discontented personal life. Joan Barry whom Charlie had momentarily dated sued him for pregnancy. This and later divorces from his wives ended up in him doling huge sums of money as compensation.
Of the four marriages he lost three wives, two by divorce and one lived only for three days. For all these stress it is said that his hairs had prematurely gone gray. Perhaps for all these reasons Charlie never was flamboyant or even fashionable in spite of being a celebrity and a millionaire all his life. After the failure of his last film “Limelight’ and expelled on political grounds by America, Charlie Chaplin gradually secluded himself and went into self exile. After leaving the United States in 1952, he lived in Britain and later in 1953 moved to Vevey, Switzerland where he died on Christmas day in 1977.
Decorated by Academy Awards, the Oscar for life time contribution and Knight Commander of the British Empire this legendary artiste still lives on to give enjoyment more that he himself could ever find.
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