Celebrity Biographies

Charlie Chaplin
Film

Charlie Chaplin (1889-1977), the seminal silent-film comedian, was also a successful director, screenwriter, editor, and composer. He acted in over eighty films, many of which he wrote, directed, and edited. Chaplin began his career as a child performer in music halls in his native England, and came to the United States on tours with the Karno Troupe from 1910-1913. He was discovered and brought to Hollywood, where his illustrious film career spanned six decades, from his first appearance in Making a Living (1914) to his last role in A Countess From Hong Kong (1967). In his early years in Hollywood he worked for Keystone Studios, Essany Studios, and the Mutual Film Corporation. He co-founded United Artists in 1819 with director D.W. Griffith and actors Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, Sr.

Chaplin is perhaps most remembered today for his celebrated "Tramp" character. His variations of the "Tramp," first seen in Kid Auto Races at Venice (1914), also appeared in a multitude of other films, including Mabel's Strange Predicament (1914), The Tramp (1915), A Dog's Life (1918), The Kid (1921), Nice and Friendly (1922), The Circus (1928), and the famed City Lights (1931). Some of his other influential roles include: The Lone Prospector in The Gold Rush (1925); the Factory Worker in Modern Times (1936); and the dual role of Hynkel, Director of Tomaunia, and a Jewish Barber in The Great Dictator (1940). The Great Dictator, Chaplin's first film where he spoke in dialogue, was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture: Chaplin received nominations for Best Actor in a Leading Role and Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay. Seven years later, he received another Adapted Screenplay nomination for Monsieur Verdoux (1947). Chaplin holds the rare distinction of receiving two honorary Academy Awards (in 1929 and 1972), and also received an Academy Award for Best Musical Score for the film Limelight (1952) in 1972. Chaplin was also awarded the French Legion of Honor in 1952 and made a Knight of the British Empire in 1975.