The bar has been raised yet again as today’s Google doodle focuses on one of history’s greatest funny men, Charlie Chaplin. As one of the brightest stars of the silent era Chaplin has left a legacy of good natured films which are still enjoyed by all generations.
The distinctive comedian is once again gracing the screen, only this time it’s on Google’s home page in a short movie parody of his work. Complete with his bowler hat, toothbrush moustache, walking cane and splay-footed walk he resumes the role of the ‘tramp’ who bids to buy a cake from a young woman (who may be a tip of the cap to one of his films A Countess From Hong Kong).
The film plays out in mild Chaplin style and as always leaves us with a happy ending.
Though a popular figure on-screen Charlie Chaplin was not so in real life. The English born actor was a sympathiser of left wing mindsets and subsequently became suspected of communism and accused of carrying out ‘un-American’ activities during the McCarthy era.
Further controversy surrounded Chaplin, particularly his penchant for younger women. He was regarded as a womaniser and he drew many accusatory remarks due to his love of teenage girls.
In 1918, aged 28 he married 16-year-old Mildred Harris. The marriage lasted only two years. Then, in 1924 he fell for Lita Grey, another 16-year-old girl to whom he wed after she fell pregnant with his two sons. This marriage ended abruptly in 1927 after a bitter dispute.
His third marriage was conducted secretly in 1936 to actress Paulette Goddard. Despite happiness for many years the much maligned Chaplin once again faced divorce in 1942.
[adsense]Due to his supposed communist interests he was observed by J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI who took the opportunity to revoke his visa while he visited Europe in 1952. American powers breathed a sigh of relief upon alleviating the pest problem and Chaplin took up residence in Switzerland with his family.
He was awarded an Oscar in 1972 for ‘the incalculable effect he has had in making motion pictures the art form of this century.’ He was granted a temporary visa which entitled him to visit once for two months maximum.
He collected the award and left America never to return.
He passed away on Christmas Day, 1977 in Veney, Switzerland and was survived by nine children and his last wife Oona O’Neill.
Amongst his more famous fans was Adolf Hitler who admitted to adopting the toothbrush moustache after enjoying Charlie Chaplin films.
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