I have recently revisited my old obsession with the great Charlie Chaplin. Often known as the “Founder of Hollywood”, Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin became one of the world’s most famous actor/directors during the “Silent era”.
His films brought comic relief and laughter to a world being torn apart by war, but it is safe to say that his works are just as inspiring and influential in society today.
He was married four times, Oona Chaplin being the last, and the mother of 8 of his 11 children. His family has gone on to play a very prominent role in the entertainment industry. Locally, the Locnville brothers have brought the family back into the current spotlight. Brian and Andrew Chaplin, American born, spent their childhood in South Africa and have now broken into the music industry. (Their great grandfather is the brother of Charlie Chaplin’s father) They have a very unique sound that could not possibly be confined to a genre, but I believe will have a very commercial appeal.
Charlie Chaplin passed away in his sleep on Christmas day of 1977 (age 88), and was laid to rest at the Corsier-Sur-Vevay Cemetery in Switzerland, to be joined 14 years later by his last wife, Oona Chaplin. In 1978 his body was stolen from the grave in an attempt to extort the family for money. The thieves were caught 11 days later and the body was returned to the grave.
Most people don’t know this, but Charlie composed the song “Smile” for his 1936 film Modern Times. The lyrics were later penned by John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons. The song was never sung by Chaplin, but has been covered by many artists over the years, the most popular of them being Nat King Cole (See below). It’s a beautiful song, and listening to it, you can’t help but smile.
“A day without laughter, is a day wasted” – Charlie Chaplin