“Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long-shot.”
Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin, whom we better know as ‘Charlie Chaplin’ was the star of the Silent Era of the film world. His character of ‘The Little Tramp’ in a series of movies won billions of hearts across the globe.
Only Charlie Chaplin had the ability to bring out the tragedy and comedy of our lives together in his beautiful films. His profound understanding of life and his wit made him the star who became a legend.
He was the first actor to appear on the cover of ‘Time’ and got married four times. His rags to riches story is inspiring.
Today on his 129th birthday, let’s know a little more about Charlie Chaplin:
1. His childhood was very rough:
Born to parents who were entertainers in a music hall, Charlie’s Childhood was really rough. When his mother was sent to a mental asylum, Charlie and his two half-brothers went to live with their father who was an alcoholic. The situation went so bad that Chaplin and his half-brothers were rescued by National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.’
2. His association with Walt Disney:
Not many know that Charlie Chaplin played a very important part in the growth of Disney. According to Neal Gabler’s biography, ‘Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination’,he states that Chaplin was the inspiration for the character of Mickey Mouse.
3. Gold Rush:
His blockbuster film, ‘Gold Rush’ has some really interesting anecdotes. For the filming of Gold Rush, Chaplin had an entire Alaskan landscape built in California – in the scorching heat! Also, 63 retakes were done over the span of 3 days for a scene in the movie where The Lone Prospector and Big Jim have a boot for supper. This boot was made of liquorice – due to which Charlie suffered an insulin shock and was hospitalised, according to a report on Chaplin on donnersummithistoricalsociety.org.
4. His friendship with Einstein:
Chaplin and Einstein were close friends. Einstein had said that Charlie was the only person he wished to meet someday. According to The Vintage News, ‘Charlie invited Albert and his wife Elsa to dinner at his place and that’s was the beginning of their beautiful and strong friendship.’ They appeared publicly together for the premiere of City Lights in January 1931. According to britannica.com when Einstein and Charlie met, Charlie said, “The people applaud me because everybody understands me, and they applaud you because no one understands you.”
5. He was once used as a pawn to start a war:
The Japanese Prime Minister, Inukai Tsuyoshi was shot dead by eleven naval officers in Japan on May 15, 1932. But not many know that the original plan was to assassinate Charlie Chaplin, to start a war with the United States. Chaplin had arrived in Japan on May 14, 1932 – if he and the Prime Minister’s son. Takeru Inukai wouldn’t be watching a sumo match when the coup occurred, history would have been different.
6. He received the longest standing ovation in history:
After being banned from the United States in 1952, he returned in 1972 when to accept an Honorary Academy Award. It is this time when he received a 12-minute standing ovation, which became the longest in history. He was banned as he openly spoke against wars, fascism and capitalism in his movies.
7. Chaplin’s mortal remains were once stolen:
In 1978, two robbers stole Charlie Chaplin’s dead body from Corsier-sur-Vevey village in Switzerland. This was just a year after he died in 1977. According to history.com, ‘After Chaplin’s widow, Oona, received a ransom demand of some $600,000, police began monitoring her phone and watching 200 phone kiosks in the region. Oona had refused to pay the ransom, saying that her husband would have thought the demand “ridiculous.”’
Charlie Chaplin once starred in a ‘Sherlock Holmes’ movie during the beginning of his career. His role was that of a page boy named Billy, according to boomsbeat.com.
What a life!
Preview Photo: biography.com