The Four Marriages of Charlie Chaplin: A Comedy of Love, Loss and Rediscovery

Charlie Chaplin received the Academy Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement and a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II. Globally, Chaplin is a well-known cultural icon and has become a cultural symbol. But what few people know is that his emotional experience was very tortuous, and he had four unforgettable marriages, each of which had a huge impact on his success.
  What is incredible is that his fourth wife, Oona O’Neill, is 36 years younger than him and the daughter of Nobel Prize winner Eugene O’Neill. This age disparity in love was strongly opposed by Eugene, who even went so far as to sever the father-daughter relationship with Oona. However, no one would have thought that among Chaplin’s four marriages, only the last one was the happiest. So, what kind of love tragedy and comedy did he and his four wives perform?
  Young love,
  marriage lies like an hourglass. On
   April 16, 1889, Chaplin was born on East Walworth Street, Southwark, London, England. At that time, his mother Hannah had no time to go to the hospital, nor could she rush home early, leaving him as a child without even a birth certificate.
   Chaplin’s father, Charles, made a living by running and singing. His income was not high, and the family lived in extreme poverty. Even so, Chaplin showed his acting talent early. A friend of Charles was in a theater company in Lancashire. One day, on a whim, Charles brought the 8-year-old Chaplin to perform in the theater company, playing the role of a cat. This was Chaplin’s debut work, and no one expected that he would actually interpret a cat so vividly and naively.
   Charles was overjoyed and felt that he must train his son well so that he could succeed in the future. However, a few days later, he had to travel with the troupe to the United States for more than a year and had to separate from Chaplin.
   After leaving, Charles missed his wife and son every day, but never expected that his wife Hannah had an affair with a director and gave birth to a child. When Charles came back, he was filled with grief and anger and immediately broke up with Hannah. After the divorce, Charles was still brooding over his wife’s betrayal. He drank every day to drown his sorrows, which led to his health declining and he died at the age of 37.
   Chaplin was only 11 years old at this time, and he began to be self-reliant at a young age. He sold flowers, delivered newspapers, and worked as a barber’s apprentice, experiencing all the bitterness and tears of life. But even so, his income is still a drop in the bucket for the family.
   After Hannah’s divorce, the director did not marry her and broke up with her soon after. Faced with an unsupportable life, Hannah’s pressure is increasing. Eventually, she developed mental problems and was sent to a mental hospital. Without adult supervision, Chaplin and his brother Sidney became members of the National Poorhouse. Although Chaplin was very ordinary at this time, he already had the determination to face the world alone.
   In 1903, when Chaplin was 14 years old, his older brother Sidney, who became a sailor, persuaded him to try acting. As a result, he got an opportunity to play a role with a touring theater troupe. At first, he played small roles, such as Billy Page in “Sherlock Holmes” and the newsboy in “Jim, How Do You Know?”
   These were just the performances that Chaplin performed to earn a living. Later, Sidney signed a contract with the Carnot Theater Company, which gave Chaplin a real opportunity to express his comedy talent. In 1908, the 19-year-old Chaplin became the comedy protagonist of the Carnot Theater Company and began to perform comedy through imitation. At that time, it was all pantomime, and it can be called the originator of comedy.
   With his in-place image performance and unique comedy form, Chaplin quickly became a genius in comedy performance and attracted the attention of many theater groups, who rushed to sign contracts with him. In 1912, he got the opportunity to tour the United States. The United States was the springboard for Chaplin’s comedy career. He found a broad space for development there and gained a lot of fame for himself.
   One day in 1916, Chaplin went to the Stellison Empire Theater with a troupe to perform. It happened that another troupe was also performing there. He secretly looked at the girls through the curtain. Suddenly, a girl glanced at him. Chaplin was immediately fascinated by the brown eyes that were full of autumn water, and his heart beat like a rabbit.
   The girl also saw Chaplin. She came over and said openly: “If it is convenient for you, please hold a mirror for me. I want to see the hairstyle on the back of my head.” She had a noble temperament and a soft voice. , like reading a romantic lyric poem, euphemistic and beautiful.
   Chaplin happily agreed and picked up the mirror diligently. Although both of them were a little shy, they still struck up a conversation and it turned out that the girl was child star Mildred Harris. Mildred has a baby face and is as cute as a little angel. When she smiles, she is particularly innocent and cute. As soon as Chaplin saw her, he fell in love with her from the bottom of his heart.
   He didn’t know why he was like this. Since he started studying acting, he had focused all his attention on studying. He always remembered his father’s goal back then, which was to get ahead. Over the years, he had met many beautiful girls, but he had never been attracted by her. But the first time he saw Mildred, he felt like he was falling.
   After that, the two kept close contact and soon fell in love, while Mildred’s mother Samantha watched calmly, hoping that this relationship would advance by leaps and bounds and take it to the next level. Because she knew very well the value of Chaplin, the diamond king. But Chaplin was at the beginning of his career and did not want to get married. He just wanted to focus on doing a good job and realize his dream.
   One day, Samantha thought of a plan. She said to Chaplin: “My daughter is pregnant with your child. What are you going to do?” Chaplin was shocked, although he liked Mildred very much. , but for the sake of career, I was still prepared to work hard for a few more years, but now it seems that I can’t do it, because seducing a girl is a felony in California. He had no choice but to submit and agree to the marriage.
  It was not until after the marriage that Chaplin discovered that Mildred was not pregnant. This deception caused Chaplin to alienate his wife and kicked off the rift in their marriage. In 1920, Mildred was really pregnant, but unfortunately, the baby died just three days after birth. Chaplin believed that his wife failed to take good care of the children.
  Subsequently, the two quarreled more and more, and two years later, the two parted ways and broke up on bad terms. After a court ruling, Chaplin paid $100,000 and some stocks to Mildred, ending the youthful marriage.
  Fear of marriage,
  everything is caused by suspicion. After
   the divorce, Chaplin began to devote himself wholeheartedly to his career. He founded his own film and television company, and at the same time began the peak creative period of his life. He created the comedy film “Searching for a Child” based on his childhood experience. The story tells the story of a poor woman who abandoned her child, who was then picked up by a homeless man and raised as an adult. Later, the child found his biological mother. After the film premiered in the United States on January 21, 1921, it became a great success.

   For a time, Chaplin’s personal income rose instantly. At the earliest, his weekly performance salary was only $150, and by 1915, his salary rose to $1,250 per week. In 1916, his salary increased to $10,000 per week, plus bonuses. Nowadays, his salary can no longer be calculated in weeks, but in terms of how much money is spent per movie. The income from a single movie alone has reached 500,000 US dollars.
   Chaplin no longer has to worry about his livelihood, but in the dead of night, those days of his youth always appear in front of his eyes. Although he was miserable at that time, there was also sweetness in the bitterness. It was the suffering that made him work hard every day. But now, he always felt that something was missing in his life, and an unspeakable loneliness followed him.
   Fortunately, this sad and lonely day did not last long. One day, Chaplin met the actress Rita Gray who starred opposite him.
   Rita is the most typical fragile woman in Hollywood, but she is also a talented entertainer. Her eyes seemed to be able to speak. With a flash, Chaplin’s loneliness no longer existed.
   Chaplin cherished this heart-pounding feeling and protected it carefully. In a letter to Rita, he wrote affectionately: “You are my most beloved and the lucky star that makes me the happiest man in the world. ”
   Rita quickly responded with a passionate love letter. With his face burning, Chaplin wrote in reply: “After receiving your sweet letter, my heart beat fast. Who in this life can make me as happy as you? Your words, your My thoughts, your sign of love, make me crazy. Holding the letter in my hand, my mind is filled with the thoughts in your eyes when you pour out your heart, and the rhythm of your lips. Without too many words, you and I are already close to each other. ”
   With the exchange of hot letters, the two fell in love together. They often dined and danced together. Fans and reporters called them an enviable couple made in heaven.
   In 1923, the era of talkies arrived, and Chaplin, inspired by love, began to turn to talkies. It is worth mentioning that “Modern Times” was the last silent film shot by Chaplin. To be precise, it can also be regarded as a sound film. For example, there is the sound of a radio in the play, and the humming song at the end of the film The main song is Chaplin’s own voice, the only original voice in all his works.
   In 1924, Chaplin and Rita got married. Ordinarily, the two people should have known each other very well after being in love for three years, but Chaplin never expected that marriage would once again make a joke on him.
   After getting married, Rita began to become neurotic and always suspected that Chaplin was having an affair with other women. As long as Chaplin chatted with other women, she would suddenly faint to the ground because of jealousy. The first thing I said when I woke up was calling Chaplin’s name loudly. Chaplin had no choice but to stay by her side.
   Chaplin was a little secretly proud of Rita’s strange problem at first. Wouldn’t he be proud to have a woman who loved him so much? But as time went on, he began to feel overwhelmed.
   With the birth of her two children, Rita became even more neurotic, sometimes making Chaplin unable to work. Four years later, Chaplin chose to break up, but Rita refused and started a divorce lawsuit. In her divorce complaint, she claimed that Chaplin had affairs with at least five famous actresses and threatened to reveal their names.
   In 1928, Chaplin divorced by paying Rita $820,000 in alimony in order to avoid more negative publicity. At the time, this was tantamount to a sky-high price.
   After the divorce, Chaplin lost confidence in marriage and decided not to marry again. But no one expected that he would secretly marry the 19-year-old actress Pauline Godard in 1934.
   Pauline Godard was the heroine in “Modern Times” and “The Great Dictator”. They met and fell in love while filming, but Chaplin subconsciously had an involuntary resistance to marriage, so Chose to get married secretly.
  However, the hidden marriage did not last long. Chaplin and Pauline Gaudai lived together for 8 years. Although they both tried hard to maintain the marriage, they finally chose to break up peacefully. Perhaps, marriage is a kind of fate. When the time has not come, no matter how hard you force it, it will be in vain.
  True love is priceless,
  transcending age and growing old.
   When true love comes, everything is unstoppable. Just when Chaplin was disappointed and numb about love and marriage, true love came into his life.
   In 1943, after a performance, Chaplin was strolling around the theater. Suddenly, his eyes lit up. An elegant girl, Pingting, walked over gracefully. Her aura made his heart skip a beat. As the girl was going up the steps, one of her gloves accidentally fell off. Chaplin saw it and quickly picked it up and handed it to the girl.
   “Thank you.” The girl smiled. Chaplin joked gentlemanly: “I hope it falls again.”
   “You are so funny.” The girl laughed heartily. Her cheerfulness instantly infected Chaplin. He looked sideways at the girl, the light passing over her jade-like face, as beautiful as a holy goddess.
   Chaplin was filled with romantic feelings, but after questioning, he was shocked. It turns out that the girl’s name is Oona O’Neill, and she is actually the daughter of her good friend, the famous playwright and Nobel Prize winner for literature, Eugene O’Neill. Moreover, she is only 18 years old, a full 36 years younger than herself.
   Thinking of this, Chaplin forcibly suppressed his love. In terms of age alone, he and Oona were too incompatible. In the following days, Chaplin pretended that nothing had happened, but he would still meet Oona on many occasions.
   Oona’s eyes were clear, she greeted Chaplin warmly every time, and her conversations were very congenial. Many times, Chaplin was in a trance. He felt that he liked being with her. Just hearing her voice, seeing her smiling face, even just a back view, gave him an indescribable pleasure. However, he didn’t dare to confess because he was afraid that his recklessness would scare her away. If possible, he would rather stay together like this.
   Chaplin thought that as long as he didn’t say anything, this relationship would continue forever, but he never expected that Oona would confess her love. At a dance, Oona invited Chaplin to dance. They were spinning on the dance floor, and she stared into his eyes: “I like you.” Chaplin was startled and pretended to be calm: “Don’t talk nonsense, I am much older than you.” Oona said: “Then It’s not a problem, as long as we are happy together, nothing can stop us.”
   Chaplin held her hand tightly, and love just came. However, their feelings were not accepted, especially by Oona’s relatives. Oona’s grandfather, James O’Neill, a famous theater actor in the late 19th century, was firmly opposed to it at first. At the same time, Oona’s father, Eugene O’Neill, was even more angry and anxious about this. He is a winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature and plays an important role in the literary world. When he learned that his daughter was going to marry a man who was only 6 months younger than him, he was so angry that he wanted to sever the father-daughter relationship with Oona.

   In order not to embarrass Oona, Chaplin decided to propose in person. But no matter Chaplin’s assurances, Eugene’s attitude of refusal never changed. Finally, Oona, who couldn’t bear to see Chaplin bow his head, said that she would get married even if she severed ties with her family.
   In June 1943, Chaplin held a grand wedding to make Oona his wife. In this marriage that everyone was not optimistic about, Chaplin used practical actions to write an unswerving love legend. In the next 34 years, they fell in love with each other and lived together until the end of their lives together.
   Many years later, Chaplin wrote in his autobiography: “When I lived with Oona, she always surprised me; every time I saw her, infinite love would surge in my heart. Some people have always said that she is She married me for fame and fortune, but her reaction for the rest of her life made everyone understand that that 18-year-old girl indeed married love.” With the nourishment of love,
   Chaplin’s creations also reached an unprecedented high, and he entered Another wonderful situation. In the movie, he can be a fool or a scoundrel, but he will give his best to the girl he loves without hesitation.
   In his movies, there is an eternal theme, which is pure love. He has brought unprecedented joy to the audience, but he also always wears humor to convey the fear and sorrow of all living beings. He created a classic character – the Tramp. Countless writers have weaved fables around tramps, and Chaplin’s tramp is this: a tramp is a gentleman, a poet, and a dreamer.
   In 1952, Chaplin’s film “A Stage Life” was released. Later, he moved to Switzerland. In 1957, “The King of New York” he shot was considered a true portrayal of this period of life. After filming “The King of New York”, Chaplin and Oona began to travel around the world together, during which he was received by Picasso, the Queen of England, De Gaulle, Khrushchev and other celebrities.
   On his 70th birthday, Chaplin delivered a speech titled “When I Started to Love Myself”: “It took me 70 years to truly understand what love is and how to love; it took me 70 years to truly discover I laughed from the bottom of my heart. When I really started to love myself, I realized that all the pain and emotional torture just reminded me: live without going against your own heart. When I started to really love myself, I realized Use my way and my rhythm to cherish the lover I love.” In
   1972, the longest standing ovation in history occurred at the Oscar Awards ceremony. The audience and actors stood up and applauded for five minutes. This record has not been broken to this day, and the object of tribute is Chaplin.
   Although he is 83 years old, he has the aura of a returning king. Even people who haven’t seen his movies will remember his name, which has become synonymous with comedy.
   In 1975, Chaplin received a knighthood from the Queen of England and was known as “Sir Charles”. But at this time, he has reached the twilight of his life, and old age cannot be avoided.
   On Christmas morning, December 25, 1977, Chaplin died peacefully while sleeping at home. This year, he was 88 years old and was buried in a Swiss cemetery by Una. Chaplin and Oona lived together for 34 years. They gave birth to 8 children in total. During these 34 years, they shared weal and woe and remained as loving as ever.
   A few years later, Oona also passed away. The era of pantomime masters has long passed, but the 88-year love tragedy and comedy of “King of Comedy” Chaplin is still vivid in my mind and has become a colorful part of the development of film and television. chapter.

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