Charlie Chaplin

Charlie Chaplin (Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin), 1889–1977, English film actor, director, producer, writer, and composer, b. London. Chaplin began on the music-hall stage and then joined a pantomime troupe. While on tour in the United States, he was recruited by Mack Sennett. Chaplin merged physical grace, disrespect for authority, and sentimentality into a highly individual character he created for the Keystone film studios. In appearance, his Little Tramp wore a gentlemen's derby, cane, and neatly kept moustache with baggy trousers and oversized shoes. He affected a unique, bow-legged dance-walk. Chaplin skipped from one studio to another in search of greater control over his work, finally cofounding United Artists in 1919 with D. W. Griffith, Douglas Fairbanks, and Mary Pickford.

Chaplin's features include The Kid (1920), The Gold Rush (1924), The Circus (1928), City Lights (1931), Modern Times (1936), The Great Dictator (1940), Monsieur Verdoux (1947), and Limelight (1952). He enjoyed immense worldwide popularity, though this was tempered by his refusal to use sound until 1940. His political sympathies and various personal scandals contributed to his declining popularity. In 1952, he was barred on political grounds from re-entering the United States and lived thereafter in Switzerland. In 1975 he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. His fourth wife was Oona O'Neill, the daughter of Eugene O'Neill. He won an Academy Award in 1972 for his score to Limelight.

See his My Trip Abroad (1922) and autobiography (1964); biographies by C. Chaplin, Jr. (1960), P. Tyler (1947, repr. 1972), and P. Ackroyd (2014); G. D. McDonald et al., The Films of Charlie Chaplin (1965); K. S. Lynn, Charlie Chaplin and His Times (1997); J. Vance, Chaplin: Genius of the Cinema (2003).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Charlie Chaplin: Selected full-text books and articles

Charlie Chaplin By Theodore Huff Henry Schuman, 1951
Urban Entertainment: Charlie Chaplin's City Lights By Alpert, Robert CineAction, No. 93, Spring 2014
Film and the Critical Eye By Dennis DeNitto; William Herman Macmillan, 1975
Librarian's tip: Chap. 6 "The Gold Rush"
American Culture in the 1910s By Mark Whalan Edinburgh University Press, 2010
Librarian's tip: Discussion of Chaplin's "The Immigrant" begins on p. 46
Charlie Chaplin, Stranger and Brother By Oms, Marcel UNESCO Courier, October 1989
Fools and Jesters in Literature, Art, and History: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook By Vicki K. Janik; Emmanuel S. Nelson Greenwood Press, 1998
Librarian's tip: "Charlie Chaplin" begins on p. 127
American Dark Comedy: Beyond Satire By Wes D. Gehring Greenwood Press, 1996
Librarian's tip: Chap. 3 "Dismantling Dictators: 'Marxist' or Otherwise"
You Ain't Heard Nothin' Yet: The American Talking Film: History & Memory, 1927-1949 By Andrew Sarris Oxford University Press, 1998
Librarian's tip: Discussion of Chaplin begins on p. 139
A Pilgrimage in America: Leading to the Discovery of the Sources of the Mississippi and Bloody River; with a Description of the Whole Course of the Former and of the Ohio By J. C. Beltrami Quadrangle Books, 1962
Librarian's tip: "I Am Here To-Day': Charlie Chaplin" begins on p. 35
A primary source is a work that is being studied, or that provides first-hand or direct evidence on a topic. Common types of primary sources include works of literature, historical documents, original philosophical writings, and religious texts.
Great Companions: Critical Memoirs of Some Famous Friends By Max Eastman Farrar, Straus and Cudahy, 1959
Librarian's tip: "Charlie Chaplin: Memories and Reflections" begins on p. 207
The Tantalizing Tramp By Gehring, Wes D USA TODAY, Vol. 135, No. 2740, January 2007
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