Photo of Charles Chaplin Charles Chaplin

With his trademark Little Tramp screen persona, Charles Chaplin transformed film comedy while the medium was still in its infancy. A London native born April 16, 1889, he came to the United States with a touring pantomime troupe. Producer Mack Sennett spotted Chaplin and signed him to a contract in 1913.

Chaplin made his screen debut in Making a Living (1914), and later that same year -- clad in baggy trousers, oversized shoes and a bowler -- he originated the Little Tramp character in Kid Auto Races at Venice. In 1925, Chaplin made The Gold Rush, one of his greatest cinematic achievements along with 1931's City Lights.

Talkies took over the industry in the late 1920s, but Chaplin shunned them until 1940 when he released The Great Dictator. Under fire for his socialist political leanings in 1952, he left America and took up residence in Switzerland, where he died in his sleep Dec. 25, 1977.

Charles Chaplin in The Great Dictator

The Great Dictator

1940 G

In this prescient twist on the immortal prince-and-the-pauper tale, Charlie Chaplin plays polar-opposite dual roles: look-alikes Adenoid Hynkel -- Tomania's anti-Semitic ruler -- and an amnesiac Jewish barber. After 20 years in a hospital, the barber goes home, oblivious to the plight of Tomania's Jews. Soon, Hynkel cracks down on them, but a case of mistaken identity gives the unassuming barber a chance to make an impassioned plea for democracy.

  • Charles Chaplin in Modern Times Modern Times
  • Charles Chaplin in City Lights City Lights
  • Charles Chaplin in The Gold Rush The Gold Rush
  • Charles Chaplin in A Countess from Hong Kong A Countess from Hong Kong
  • Charles Chaplin in The Kid The Kid
  • Charles Chaplin in Limelight Limelight
  • Charles Chaplin in Chaplin Marathon Chaplin Marathon
  • Charles Chaplin in The Essential Charlie Chaplin: Vol. 11 The Essential Charlie Chaplin: Vol. 11
  • Charles Chaplin in King in New York/Woman of Paris: Bonus King in New York/Woman of Paris: Bonus
  • Charles Chaplin in Slapstick Encyclopedia Slapstick Encyclopedia
  • Charles Chaplin in The Little Tramp The Little Tramp
  • Charles Chaplin in The Essential Charlie Chaplin: Vol. 1 The Essential Charlie Chaplin: Vol. 1
  • Charles Chaplin in American Slapstick American Slapstick
  • Charles Chaplin in American Slapstick: Vol. 2 American Slapstick: Vol. 2
  • Charles Chaplin in Chaplin's Essanay Comedies Chaplin's Essanay Comedies
  • Charles Chaplin in World War I Films of the Silent Era World War I Films of the Silent Era
  • Charles Chaplin in Chaplin Revue Chaplin Revue
  • Charles Chaplin in The Kid: Bonus Material The Kid: Bonus Material
  • Charles Chaplin in The Circus The Circus
  • Charles Chaplin in Monsieur Verdoux Monsieur Verdoux
  • Charles Chaplin in A King in New York A King in New York
  • Charles Chaplin in High School Confidential! High School Confidential!
  • Charles Chaplin in Chaplin's Goliath Chaplin's Goliath
  • Charles Chaplin in Slapstick, Too Slapstick, Too
  • Charles Chaplin in The First Kings of Comedy Collection The First Kings of Comedy Collection