Biography of Charles Spencer Chaplin

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James Agee once wrote in Life Magazine of Charlie Chaplin’s career as, “The finest pantomime, the deepest emotion, and the richest and most poignant poetry was in his work”. One thing that personally inspires me about Charlie Chaplin was his charisma. In every film he has been apart of, he always manages to make everyone in the room laugh whether using slapstick comedy or the use of simple gags. In this project, I will explore Chaplin’s upbringing, his great movie career, and why Chaplin was unwelcome in the United States during the Red Scare of the 1950’s. Charles Spencer Chaplin was born on April 16, 1889 in London, England. His father, Charles Chaplin Sr., was a vocalist and an actor. His mother, Hannah Chaplin, was a vocalist as well as a character comedienne in the music halls of London. Chaplin also had a half-brother named Sydney, who was from a previous marriage of Hannah’s (Lynn). When Charlie was five years old, he sang for his mother on stage after she had fallen ill and was unable to speak let alone sing (Lynn). Everyone in the audience loved Charlie’s performance so much, that they threw coins onto the stage in show of appreciation of the young actor. By the age of 10, Chaplin’s childhood consisted of extreme poverty, working in the workhouses of London, and seeing his mother's mental health decline so much, that it had her institutionalized. Charlie and his brother Sydney were sent to an orphanage shortly after his mother was admitted into the asylum. Their father remarried, giving the opportunity to live with their father once more. The Chaplin brothers were often locked out of his father’s house because his new wife didn’t want to take care of his children. They were often left to search for food and shelter outs... ... middle of paper ... ..., he vowed to never return to the America: "Whether I re-entered that unhappy country or not was of little consequence to me. I would like to have told them that the sooner I was rid of that hate-beleaguered atmosphere the better, that I was fed up of America's insults and moral pomposity" (Chaplin 455). Even though these communist accusations were never proven to be true, today Chaplin is considered a filmmaking pioneer and one of the most identifiable actors of the twentieth century. Works Cited Brinkley, Alan. Liberalism and Its Discontents. 1998. Cambridge, Mass. Chaplin, Charles. My Autobiography. 1964. London: Simon & Schuster, 2012 Lynn, Kenneth S. Charlie Chaplin and His Times. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 1997. Print. Maland, Charles J. Chaplin and American Culture. 1989. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

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