Considered to be one of the most pivotal stars of the early days of Hollywood, Charlie Chaplin lived an interesting life both in his films and behind the camera. He is most recognized as an icon of the silent film era, often associated with his popular character, the Little Tramp; the man with the toothbrush mustache, bowler hat, bamboo cane, and a funny walk.
He started performing as a child
Both Chaplin’s parents were in the entertainment industry. It is reported that, at age five, Chaplin replaced his mother (who was suffering from laryngitis) at a music-hall show, singing his first song Jack Jones in front of a crowd of soldiers. At age 12, he appeared as ‘Billy the page boy’ in a rendition of Sherlock Holmes.
He didn’t win a Charlie Chaplin look-a-like contest
In 1915, Chaplin took part in the Charlie Chaplin look-a-like contest. Unbelievably, the judges and audience didn’t realize that he was the real one! It is reported that, instead of winning, he took home third place.
He was the first actor to appear in Time Magazine
Chaplin was the first actor ever to appear in Time Magazine in the 6th July 1925 issue. The magazine is famous for its influential and controversial covers and this was a big step for the actor.
He was a great musician and composer
Chaplin composed the music for many of his own movies, despite never having had proper music training. In 1972, Chaplin actually won an Oscar for the music in Limelight (1952), which he helped compose.
He became richer than the president of the United States
During this time, the president of the United States was paid $75,000 per year. In 1916, after Chaplin signed a contract with the Mutual Film Corporation of New York, his salary increased to $670,000.
He never became a citizen of the United States
Chaplin never became an American citizen, despite having lived in the United States for almost 40 years. After the movie Modern Times, he gained a reputation as a communist sympathizer. In 1952, the U.S. government revoked his permit, meaning Chaplin was not allowed to return to the United States after a holiday to England. As a result, Chaplin moved to Switzerland, where he spent the rest of his life. He only returned to the United States in 1972, to accept his honorary, Oscar.
He saved Disney
In 1937, Disney released Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, its first feature-length animated movie. Walt Disney was unsure about how well the movie would do, but Chaplin reportedly encouraged the filmmaker to complete and distribute Snow White. The two became business associates and Chaplin played an important role in the spread of Disney’s name.
He knew Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein was a guest of honor during the premiere of Chaplin’s movie City Lights in Los Angeles on the 2nd February 1931.
There is an asteroid called Charlie Chaplin
When Lyudmila Karachkina discovered a main-belt asteroid on the 4th October 1981, four years after the death of the actor, she decided to call it 3623 Chaplin. Not many actors can say they have had the same honor!
He had blue eyes
The audience had always believed that Chaplin had brown eyes. This is due to the black and white cinema era; most people were not able to recognize that Chaplin had fabulous blue eyes!
He had four younger wives and 11 children
Chaplin’s first marriage was with Mildred Harris in 1918. After their divorce, he married the actress Lita Grey in 1924. When the actor was 47, he married his third wife, Paulette Goddard. His fourth and final marriage was with Oona O’Neill in 1943, when Chaplin was 54. She gave birth to 8 of the 11 Chaplin children, and they lived together until Chaplin’s death.