Charlie Chaplin: How “The Tramp” rose to power, dealt with controversy and handled adulation


Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin is a name known to one and all. He was a man who rose from humble beginnings to glitzy horizons of success professionally. His career mapped a span of more than 75 years, starting from his childhood in the Victorian era until his death. He was born on April 16, 1889, and breathed his last on 25 December 1977.

As a child, Charlie had a life full of adversities. His mother was the sole bread-earner of the family. He had to visit the storehouse twice before he had even turned nine. Later, even Charlie’s mother was sent to a mental asylum, after which Charlie was left with no option but support the family. He started working as a stage actor and comedian.

His incredible was noticed and he got into the circles of the notable Fred Karno company. As a result, he went to America and in 1914, he appeared for Keystone Studios. Further, he started directing his own films and polished his skills to become one of the most well-known artists across the world.

In 1919, Chaplin co-founded the distribution company United Artists. Under this banner, he made highly successful like first The Kid (1921), followed by A Woman of Paris (1923), The Gold Rush (1925), and The Circus (1928).

He refused to move to sound films in the 1930s, instead of producing City Lights (1931) and Modern Times (1936) without dialogue. Charlie started to marry many women of younger age. He also got into politics and made a satirical film on Adolf Hitler. This was engendered by a series of allegations, caste accusation and ultimately an FBI investigation was filed against Chaplin. He was forced to shift from the United States and settle in Switzerland.

Charlie was a one-man army. He was a writer, editor, producer, actor, composer and much more. His comedy gave a new meaning to slapstick genre and reinvented the fusion of comedy and art.

Chaplin received an Honorary Academy Award for “the incalculable effect he has had in making motion pictures the art form of this century” in 1972. His films including The Gold Rush, City Lights, Modern Times, and The Great Dictator are counted as the most path-breaking films of all types.