Charlie Chaplin is considered to be one of the most iconic figures even today within the film industry. His work in slapstick comedy, while over a century old, continues to have relevancy in modern times.
To this day, his all-black look with the top hat, cane, and iconic Chaplin mustache in “The Tramp” continues to be a popular cultural image. Chaplin is most known for his role in the silent film era, however, he would eventually move on effortlessly to audio and dialogue productions.
This would include his parody of Adolf Hitler in “The Great Dictator” as well as his 1952 film “Limelight.”
Besides silently making audiences laugh and react, additionally, Chaplin founded the United Artists Studio in Hollywood in 1919 alongside D.W. Griffith, Mary Pickford, and Douglas Fairbanks. The studio produced his iconic films “The Kid,” “The Gold Rush,” and “Modern Times.” Chaplin was a writer, a director, an actor, composer, and an all-around star.
His career and name had led him to be a worldwide sensation. He had over 75 years of experience in the entertainment world, as he had started performing when he was just a child.
Many of Charlie Chaplin’s films continue to be ranked as the greatest of all time. His ability to completely control the production and creative process behind his work remain a massive inspiration. Now, 132 years later, Charlie Chaplin’s birthday is still celebrated as a day the entertainment world would change forever.
Interesting Facts About Charlie Chaplin
While Chaplin had lived most of his light in the spotlight, there are still some things about him many people may not know.
For example, Chaplin came from extreme poverty. His father was absent from his life and his mother had always struggled financially. He was sent to a workhouse a couple of times before he was even 9. Then, at age 14, his mother was sent to a mental institution. He began his career very young, which, in many ways, is due to his childhood.
Chaplin was therefore an “orphan” for part of his life. He and his older brother were sent to a public boarding school that was meant for “orphans and destitute children.” His father had passed away when they were both younger due to alcoholism but was never really present, to begin with.
According to Zee 5, his first appearance in front of a crowd was when he was 5. His mother was singing in front of soldiers, but her voice had suddenly gone out. He performed “Jack Jones.”
While many consider “The Kid” to be his start in the film industry, his first film was a lesser-known movie, “Making a Living.” Chaplin hated his performance in the film, regardless, he was still able to make a living after.
Chaplin Famous Quotes
Although known for silent films and then helping to start talkies, Chaplin had really had a career as an all-around pop culture icon. His life has many downs, but also great successes and eventual fortune.
To celebrate his now century-old wisdom, here are some of Chaplin’s most famous, and most inspirational, quotes of his life.
- “Simplicity is a difficult thing to achieve” (1966, Richard Meryman interview).
- “Imagination means nothing without doing.” (Manuscript notes).
- “Life can be wonderful if you’re not afraid of it. All it needs is courage, imagination … and a little dough” (a line from “Limelight,” 1952).
- “You’ll never find rainbows if you’re looking down” (Lyrics from “Swing Little Girl,” a song Chaplin sang in “The Circus”).
- “We think too much and feel too little” (Speech in “The Great Dictator”).
- “The deeper the truth in a creative work, the longer it will live” (Manuscript notes).
Charlie Chaplin Kicked Out of the U.S.
He may have been a cultural icon, although, that didn’t stop him from generating enough controversy to have to leave the U.S.
According to Telegraph, Charlie Chaplin was put on an FBI blacklist in 1948, which barred him from working in Hollywood. He had been living in the United States for 40 years at that point. Senator Joseph McCarthy’s House Un-American Activities Committee had singled out Chaplin.
The reasoning was that Charlie Chaplin got accusations of being a Communist or a Communist sympathizer.
“I do not want to create any revolution. All I want to create is a few more films. I might amuse people. I hope so,” Chaplin said during a committee meeting.
After this, he went on a trip to Britain for a holiday. However, after sailing away with his wife and kids, he was informed if he was to return, he’d be arrested. He did not return for many years. In 1972 he went to pick up an honorary Oscar he had won.
His film “Monsieur Verdoux” vocalized his political views. It criticized capitalism as well. The audience booed the film at its premiere. He protested trials against Communist Party members and had garnered controversy because he never got American citizenship.
One of His Standout Roles
In this film, his character is in a lion cage trying to escape. He humorously tries to escape and not wake up the terrifying sleeping lion.
Despite the silence, Chaplin’s acting and facial expressions could tell the most comedic and entertaining story. Theaters would fill with laughter to make up for the gaping silence.