35 Little Facts about Charlie Chaplin, The Comedic Genius

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1Escaped Assassination

Charlie Chaplin was one of the planned assassination targets during the May 1932, coup attempt by the Japanese naval officers in Japan. While the Japanese prime minister was killed at home, Chaplin survived as he was at a sumo event with the prime minister’s son.


2. Charlie Chaplin openly pleaded against fascism, war, capitalism, and WMDs (Weapons of Mass Destruction) in his movies. He was slandered by the FBI and banned from the USA in '52. When he was offered an Honorary Academy Award in 1972, he hesitantly returned and received a 12-minute standing ovation; the longest in the Academy’s history.


3. Charlie Chaplin was criticized because he did not volunteer during World War 1. Although he registered for the U.S. draft, he received thousands of white feathers and angry letters. It was later revealed that he was rejected because he was undersized and underweight.


4. Charlie Chaplin didn't actually have a mustache, it was a part of his makeup.


5. Charlie Chaplin's first speaking role was the last 5 minutes of The Great Dictator, a parody film about Hitler. It was banned in Germany and its supporting countries during World War 2.


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6Mocking Hitler

Charlie Chaplin made the Hitler mocking film, "The Great Dictator", in 1940 using his own money because none of the Hollywood studios were comfortable irking the Germans as they had financial relations with them. The film is said to be one of the greatest works of Charlie Chaplin.


7. Charlie Chaplin first came to America because he thought he was inheriting money. It was actually for a meeting with producers, which started his film career.


8. Charlie Chaplin made his first sound film in 1940, which was 13 years after the emergence of talkies. His silent films at this time were still very popular.


9. Charlie Chaplin was born 4 days before Hitler and his character, Tramp, has the same mustache as him. This and being named a Jew and placed on a hitlist by Nazis inspired his film, The Great Dictator, where in the last speech he is actually talking to the audience as himself, not a character.


10. Charlie Chaplin was intricately tied in with Disney. Chaplin was one of the inspirations for Mickey Mouse. He would later go on to work with Disney as a distributor and help Disney in their negotiations for Snow White.


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11Music Composer

Charlie Chaplin not only wrote, directed, produced, edited, and starred in his films but for many also composed the musical scores. In fact, he won the Oscar for Best Original Dramatic Score in 1973 for his film Limelight.


12. While Filming "The Gold Rush", Charlie Chaplin did 63 separate takes of a scene where his character eats a boot. In reality, it was a prop made of licorice and he ended up being taken to the hospital for insulin shock due to the high sugar intake.


13. Charlie Chaplin once went to a Charlie Chaplin-look-alike competition and came in third.


14. Charlie Chaplin was originally excluded from the Hollywood Walk of Fame presumingly due to his left-leaning political views.


15. Charlie Chaplin got the inspiration for the classic 1936 movie 'Modern Times' after a conversation with Mahatma Gandhi on modern technology.


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16Married 4 times

Charlie Chaplin was married 4 times and had 11 children, 8 of whom with his 4th wife.


17. Charlie Chaplin had little contact with his father (Charles Chaplin Sr.), who separated from his mother when he was two, despite living close to each other. Charlie recalled seeing his father in a pub a few weeks before his death when his father hugged and kissed him for the only time in his life.


18. Charlie Chaplin destroyed the original negative of “The Sea Gull (1933)” before a number of witnesses. The film never saw release, possibly because he was dismayed by the poor performance of his lead actress Edna Purviance.


19. In her book, "Tramp: The Life of Charlie Chaplin", Joyce Milton asserts that Vladimir Nabokov's controversial classic, "Lolita", was inspired by Chaplin's relationship with Lita Grey. On the 100th anniversary of Chaplin's birth, celebrations were held in Corsier and Vevey, Switzerland, where he last lived. For the occasion, 100 children from the region performed a choreography dressed up as little tramps.


20. Charlie Chaplin wrote a pop song that reached #1 on the charts in 1967 for Petula Clark.


21Raising Hogs

Charlie Chaplin strongly considered raising hogs in Arkansas before becoming a movie star but decided against the idea after learning about having to castrate the animals.


22. Charlie Chaplin had an entire Alaskan winter village built under the scorching California weather for filming his most successful film "The Gold Rush." The sight of this snow-covered village drew crowds of sightseers.


23. Charlie Chaplin solicited help from Granville Redmond, a deaf friend, to teach him pantomime techniques he later used in his silent films.


24. Charlie Chaplin considered Cantinflas, "The Charlie Chaplin of Mexico," to be the best comedian alive.


25. In the 1931 film, City Lights, Charlie Chaplin made an actress do 342 takes of a scene where she says two words: "Flower sir?" - despite it being a silent film.

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