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  • 7/9/2003

Charlie Chaplin

"Laughter should dimple the cheek, not furrow the brow."
Charlie Chaplin was a man who definitely dimpled millions of cheeks in the early 1900's. And even though his films were in black and white, he put a lot of color into everyone's life.
And now, a chronology of his life:

April 16, 1889:

Born at East Lane, Walworth (London) to Charles and Hannah Chaplin.

January 1894

: Charles Sr leaves home permanently.

June 1896

: Young Charles and his brother Sydney with their mother enter Lambeth Workhouse (for the poor). Within a few weeks, the boys were sent to Hanwell School for Orphans and Destitute Children.


: Hannah has a mental breakdown. Charles and Sydney live for a time with Charles Sr and his mistress. Young Charles first appears with the Lancashire Lads.

December 26, 1900

: Young Charles plays comic role in a production of Cinderella at the London Hippodrome.

May 13, 1901

: harles Sr died.


: Hannah enters Cane Hill Asylum; she never recovers her sanity.


: Chaplin appears for the first time as Billy in Sherlock Holmes. He acts in various productions till 1906.


: Chaplin stars in the variety show Casey's Court Circus.


: Chaplin begins performing for the Karno Troupe, joining his brother Sydney, who is responsible for Charles's placement.

September 1910

: Chaplin leaves with the Karno Troupe for a tour of the US and Canada.

October 3, 1910

: He opens Karno production The Wow Wows at Colonial Theatre in New York.

Spring 1912

: Chaplin returns to England with the Karno Troupe.

October 1912

: Chaplin leaves with the Karno Troupe for a second tour of the US and Canada.

May 1913

: He accepts an offer from the New York office of Kessel and Bauman, the parent organization for Mack Sennett's Keystone Comedy Company. But his Karno commitment holds him till November.

December 1913

: Chaplin arrives at the Keystone Studio in California.

February 2, 1914

: His first film, Making A Living, appears. An amazing total of 35 films had to be made in the first year.

February 7, 1914

: His second film, Kid's Auto Race, opens. It marks the first appearance of a semblance of the tramp character.

November 14, 1914

: He stars in Tillie's Punctured Romance, generally considered to be the first feature-length comedy.

November 1914

: He signs a contract with Essanay Films, where he was to make 14 films in a year. Essanay was to later make the fifteenth film Triple Trouble (1918) from other Chaplin's works.

April 1915

: The Tramp, the first Chaplin film with real pathos, appears.

February 27, 1916

: Chaplin signs contract with Mutual Films, where was to make 12 celebrated short subjects in 1916 and part of 1917.


After Chaplin leaves Essanay, it puts together The Essanay-Chaplin Revue, one of the first Chaplin film anthologies.

January 22, 1917

: Easy Street, considered his best Mutual film, appears.

June 7, 1917

: Chaplin signs contract with First National, for which he had to do eight films.

April 1918

: A Dog's Life released.

October 1918

: Shoulder Arms is a critical and commercial success, though it's World War I theme is controversial.

October 23, 1918

: Chaplin marries Mildred Harris.


: With Douglas Fairbanks, D W Griffith and Mary Pickford, he forms United Artists. But Chaplin is not free of his First National contract till 1923.

June 1919

: Sunnyside

December 1919

: A Day's Pleasure released.

November 1920

: Divorce with Mildred Harris.

February 1921

: The Kid is the first feature he directs.


: Chaplin provides his mother a home in California.

September-October 1921

: Triumphantly returns to Europe.

September 1921

: The Idle Class released.


: Chaplin's account of his 1921 trip appears as a book, My Trip Abroad.

April 1922

: Pay Day released.

February 1923

: The Pilgrim released.

October 1, 1923

: Chaplin's first United Artists production A Woman of Paris opens. Chaplin writes and directs but does not star in this critically acclaimed production.

March 1924

: Chaplin marries Lita Grey.

August 16, 1925

: The Gold Rush quickly becomes his most acclaimed film.

August 22, 1927

: Divorce with Lita Grey. Seemingly every stage of the proceedings has been played up in the newspapers since Grey's original filing for divorce in January.

January 1928

: The Circus is a great, though often neglected, Chaplin feature film.

August 28, 1928

: Hannah Chaplin dies.

May 16, 1929

: At the first Academy Award ceremony, Chaplin is honored with a special Oscar "for versatility and genius in writing, acting, directing and producing The Circus.

February 1931

: City Lights finds Chaplin defying the sound era with this critical and commercial success. There is a second triumphant return to England, which eventually takes him Around the World.

June 1932

: Chaplin returns to the United States.


: Chaplin secretly marries Paulette Goddard, though mystery still continues about the event.

February 5, 1936

: Modern Times is released. Chaplin successfully defies sound once again.

March-April 1936: Chaplin and Goddard visit the Far East.

March 16, 1936

: The Screenwriters and Actors Guild honors Chaplin with outstanding actor award.

October 15, 1940

: The Great Dictator sees Chaplin enter the sound era with a controversial parody of Hitler. It grosses more than any previous film by the comedian.

December 30, 1940

: The New York Film Critics body votes Chaplin for best actor of the year award. Chaplin declines the honor.

April 18, 1942

: The Gold Rush is reissued with soundtrack and some short deletions. Chaplin's narration replaces titles.

May 1942

: Chaplin, as a last-minute substitute for former ambassador to the Soviet Union Joseph E. Davies, gives a Second Front speech at the American Committee for Russian War Relief rally in San Francisco.

Summer 1942

: Divorce with Paulette Goddard in Mexico.

July 22, 1942

: Gives Second Front speech, via telephone, to a Madison Square Garden rally sponsored by the CIO.

December 1942

: The Joan Barry Scandals begin, with damaging new twists periodically occurring till the spring of 1945.

June 16, 1943

: Chaplin marries Oona O'Neill.

April 11, 1947

: The controversial Monsieur Verdoux opens.

April 12, 1947

: Chaplin is the victim of a witch-hunting press conference, save for support of James Agee.


: Successful revival of City Lights surprises Chaplin's critics. Life magazine calls the 1931 production the best picture of 1950.

September 1952

: Chaplin and family leave New York by ship, bound for Europe. Chaplin shows his family members the English haunts of his youth. While at sea, Chaplin, still a British subject, has his US re-entry permit cancelled. If the comedian decides to return, he has to face more witch-hunting questions on politics and morality.

October 23, 1952

: Limelight is Chaplin's last great film.


: Limelight makes to the New York Times annual 'Ten Best' list.

January 1953

: Chaplin purchases an estate, the Manoir de Ban in the village of Corsair in Switzerland. This is his last home.

March 1953

: The Foreign Language Press Film Critics poll selects Limelight as the best film.

September 12, 1957

: A King in New York provides Chaplin's last stirring role.

September 1959:

A Chaplin Revue is compiled from A Dog's Life, Shoulder Arms and The Pilgrim with an added soundtrack.

September 1964

: My Autobiography published.

April 16, 1965

: Brother Sydney Chaplin dies.


: Chaplin's oldest child by Oona, Geraldine, becomes a film star in her own right with the release of Doctor Zhivago.

November 1966

: A Countess from Hong Kong is Chaplin's final film.

April 10, 1972

: Chaplin is awarded a special Oscar "for the incalculable effect he has had in making motion pictures the art form of this century."

March 27, 1973

: Chaplin wins an Oscar (with Raymond Rasch and Larry Russell) for Best Original Dramatic Score for 1972 for Limelight. The 1952 film was eligible for belated consideration because a Los Angeles theater had never previously shown the film.


: My Life in Pictures, Chaplin's final book published.

March 4, 1975

: Chaplin knighted by Elizabeth II, Queen of England.

1976: Chaplin

composed music for the soundtrack of his 1923 production A Woman of Paris.

December 25, 1977

: Chaplin passed away at his estate in Switzerland.

April 16, 1981

: On what would have been Chaplin's 92nd birthday, a larger-than-life statue of the comedian was unveiled in London's Leicester Square, the heartland of the capital's theaters. The statue stands just a few yards from that of William Shakespeare.

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