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Charles "Charlie" Spencer Chaplin (1889 - 1977)

A photo of Charles "Charlie" Spencer Chaplin
Charles Spencer Chaplin
1889 - 1977
Born
April 16, 1889
Walworth, England, United Kingdom
Death
December 25, 1977
Corsier-sur-Vevey, Switzerland
Other Names
Charlie
Summary
Charles "Charlie" Spencer Chaplin was born on April 16, 1889 in Walworth, England, United Kingdom. He died on December 25, 1977 in Corsier-sur-Vevey, Switzerland at age 88.
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Updated: October 27, 2021
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Charles "Charlie" Spencer Chaplin
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Charles Spencer Chaplin
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Charlie
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Charles Chaplin was born on in Walworth, England United Kingdom
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Charles Chaplin died on in Corsier-sur-Vevey Switzerland
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Obituary

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Charlie Chaplin Dead at 88; Made the Film an Art Form By BOSLEY CROWTHER Charlie Chaplin, the poignant little tramp with the cane and comic walk who almost single-handedly elevated the novelty entertainment medium of motion pictures into art, died peacefully yesterday at his home in Switzerland. He was 88 years old. Sir Charles -- he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1975 -- died at 4 A.M., a few hours before his family's traditional Christmas celebration was to begin. His wife, Oona, daughter of the playwright Eugene O'Neill, and seven of their children were at the bedside when the comedian died. A daughter, the actress Geraldine Chaplin, was in Madrid making a film, but left immediately to join her family at the Chaplin home at Corsiersur-Vevey, a village near the eastern tip of the Lake of Geneva. "All the presents were under the tree," Lady Chaplin told a caller, adding, "Charlie gave so much happiness and, although he had been ill for a long time, it is so sad that he should have passed away on Christmas day." "He died of old age," said Dr. Henri Perrier, the Chaplin family physician. "His death was peaceful and calm." A source close to the family said Sir Charles had been given oxygen because of breathing trouble in recent days. In a statement, Lady Chaplin said the funeral would be private and restricted to the immediate family. A family spokesman said the funeral might be held in England but that burial would probably be in Switzerland, Sir Charles's home since his self-imposed exile from the United States in 1952. Sir Charles had been in failing health for many years. He was confined to a wheelchair and his speech, hearing and sight were impaired. During the last year, he left his secluded 20-room villa only for an occasional drive into Vevey with his wife. Local people caught an occasional glimpse of the famous actor waiting in his blue-and-silver Rolls- Royce while his wife, 35 year his junior, purchased English newspapers and magazines, which she read to him later. His last public appearance took place last fall when he attended a circus performance in Vevey. He wore a soft hat pulled down over his forehead and thick-lensed glasses that hid most of his face. He shook hands with one of the clowns at the end of the performance. No motion picture actor so captured and enthralled the world as did Charles Spencer Chaplin, a London ragamuffin who became an immortal artist for his deft and effective humanization of man's tragicomic conflicts with fate. In more than 80 movies from 1914 to 1967, he either portrayed or elaborated (he was a writer and director as well as an actor) the theme of the little fellow capriciously knocked about by life, but not so utterly battered that he did not pick himself up in the hope that the next encounter would turn out better. His harassed but gallant Everyman was the Little Tramp, part clown, part social outcast, part philosopher. He was "forever seeking romance, but his feet won't let him," Chaplin once explained, indicating that romance connoted not so much courtship as the fulfillment of fancy. Stumble Chaplin's Everyman might, but he always managed to maintain his dignity and self-respect. Moreover, he sometimes felled a Goliath through superb agility, a little bit of luck and a touch of pluck. There was pathos to the Little Tramp, yet he really did not want to be pitied. The essence of Chaplin's humor was satire, sometimes subtle as in "The Kid" and "The Gold Rush," sometimes acerbic as in "The Great Dictator" and "Monsieur Verdoux." "The human race I prefer to think of as the underworld of the gods," he said. "When the gods go slumming they visit the earth." And what they saw mostly was uncelestial folly. In ridiculing that folly Chaplin displayed a basic affection for the human race. He was serious and funny at the same time, and it was this blend of attitudes that elevated his comedy beyond film slapstick into the realm of artistry.
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1889 - 1977 World Events

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In 1889, in the year that Charles "Charlie" Spencer Chaplin was born, on April 20th, Adolf Hitler was born in Austria-Hungary - now Austria. In his early 30's, he began his rise to power in German politics, eventually becoming the leader of the Nazi Party and F├╝hrer of Nazi Germany. He presided over the death of millions of civilians as well as leading Germany through World War II.

In 1927, Charles was 38 years old when 10 years after the United States bought the U.S. Virgin Islands from the Danish government, the inhabitants were granted U.S. citizenship. While they can vote in congressional elections and presidential primaries, they cannot vote for President.

In 1947, he was 58 years old when on November 25th, the Hollywood "Black List" was created by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). Ten Hollywood writers and directors had refused to testify to the Committee regarding "Communists" or "Reds" in the movie industry. The next day, the blacklist was created and they were fired.

In 1957, Charles was 68 years old when on October 4th, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik I, the first man made earth-orbiting satellite - and triggered the Space Race. Sputnik I was only 23 inches in diameter and had no tracking equipment, only 4 antennas, but it had a big impact.

In 1977, in the year of Charles "Charlie" Spencer Chaplin's passing, on May 25th, Star Wars premiered in theaters. Eventually, it became the highest-grossing film of all time - until E.T. surpassed it a few years later. It was an immediate hit with theatergoers.

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