Happy Birthday to Charlie Chaplin, who would have been 122 today! He was born on April 16, 1889 and died on Dec. 25, 1977.
Do you have a favorite Chaplin movie or character? Hard for me to pick just one, but of course, the Little Tramp is right up there. And I’ve always heard that they did all their own stunts back then, which impresses the heck out of me. I love this Chaplin quote, which makes me feel so much better about my life: “Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself.”
Here’s a bit of trivia from Chaplin’s IMDB Page. I guess comedy truly is born out of tragedy, because he certainly endured some tough times during his life, including his mom being in and out of mental facilities, his dad dying of alcohol abuse, and his first child dying after just three days on this earth.
- Long after becoming a millionaire, Chaplin continued to live in a shabby hotel room and kept his studio checks in a trunk for months.
- On March 3, 1978, his body was stolen from the Corsier-Sur-Vevey cemetery. It took until May 18 for police to find it.
- He fathered nine kids, although his first child was born with severe disabilities and lived only three days.
- When both Stan Laurel and Chaplin moved to America, they shared a room in a boarding house. Cooking was not allowed there, so Chaplin would play the violin to cover up the sound of Laurel frying up food on a hot plate.
- Chaplin was the first actor to appear on the cover of Time magazine, on July 6, 1925.
- His handprints, footprints and signature were immortalized in cement at Grauman’s (now Mann’s) Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, but after his fall from grace with the Americans because of his political views, the section of cement was removed from public view. It cannot be located and is now feared lost.
- Although Adolf Hitler was not a fan – in fact, he was misinformed that Charlie was Jewish, and therefore despised him – he was also well aware of how beloved Charlie was throughout the world at that time. That’s why he grew the Chaplin moustache. He thought it would endear him to the people.
- Up until his last few movies, he never shot with a working script. He would start with a story in his mind and constantly retool it, often shooting hours of scenes that wouldn’t make the final cut until he was satisfied. During filming, he spent his nights critiquing the rushes with his assistant directors.
- His mother was so poor she once had to pawn her son’s spare clothes. She was in and out of mental hospitals throughout her life.
- His father, with whom he lived for only a brief time during his childhood while his mother was committed to a mental asylum, died as the result of alcohol abuse at 37. Charlie was 12 at the time.
- The last movie Chaplin saw — and enjoyed very much — was Rocky in 1976.
- As of 2011, Chaplin is the only person to receive a twelve minute standing ovation at the Academy Awards when he appeared to accept an honorary award “for the incalculable effect he has had in making motion pictures the art form of this century.” It’s the longest standing-o in the history of the Academy Awards.
Check out Charlie Chaplin’s official Web site and watch this great video. And big thanks to Google for celebrating greatness! They had a note on their main search page today about his birthday.