Charles Spencer Chaplin – Dear Charlie Chaplin!
Dear Charlie became Sir Charles Chaplin, receiving his knighthood from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace in 1979. His film career had spanned 54 years, and in that time Charlie made a total of 81 films, only 5 were talkies and 67 were completed before his 30th birthday. Sadly Charlie died at the good age of 88 and on Christmas Day in 1977 at his home in Vevey, Switzerland; at his bedside were Oona his fourth wife, their children, and grandchildren. Hannah Chaplin was Charles Mother and she had spent most of the later years of her life at an institute in England and for her remaining seven years she lived in the little house Charlie had bought for her close to the Pacific Ocean. Sidney Chaplin (Sid) was Charlie’s older brother and manager, he had retired to the South of France after the second world war and visited every summer with Charlie in Switzerland. The first love in Charlie’s life was Hetty Kelly; he had fallen in love with her whilst working for Fred Karno. But alas! when he left for a US tour she married a politician and later died from influenza at the very young age of 25. Charlie never forgot her and she was the inspiration for many of his screen heroines. Charlie had a leading lady in Edna Purviance for over 30 comedies, and when she retired after failing to make a new career as a dramatic actress Charlie had her kept on the studio payroll for the rest of her life. Charlie’s first wife was a very young Mildred Harris. After their sudden divorce she was reduced to working in sleazy nightclubs and died an alcoholic at the age of 43. Charlie’s second wife was Lita Grey and they had two sons; Charlie Chaplin Jnr, and Sidney Chaplin. Charlie Chaplin Jnr died in 1968. Paulette Goddard – formally Levy, was a famous star, and became Charlie’s third wife. When she retired from acting in 1966 and divorced from Charlie, she and her new husband set up home in Switzerland not far from Charlie’s house. Joan Barry was besotted by Charlie. She was a flirt and a drunk and followed Charlie around everywhere. After their affair ended she claimed he was the father of her child. But a blood test (not admissible in a California Court at the time) proved otherwise. However Charlie supported Joan’s daughter Carol Anne until she reached the age of 21. Poor Joan, unfortunatly spent much of her remaining life sectioned before dying at an early age. Oona O’Neil Chaplin was 18 when she consented to marry Charlie. She had been a former Irish debutant and together they had eight children. She did survive Charlie by some 14 years and she had always loved him with a passion until her own death in the September of 1991.