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Charlie Chaplin

Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin (16 April 1889 – 25 December 1977) was an English comic actor, filmmaker, and composer who rose to fame in the era of silent film. He became a worldwide icon through his screen persona, "The Tramp", and is considered one of the most important figures in the history of the film industry. His career spanned more than 75 years, from childhood in the Victorian era until a year before his death in 1977, and encompassed both adulation and controversy.

Chaplin's childhood in London was one of poverty and hardship, as his father was absent and his mother struggled financially, and he was sent to a workhouse twice before the age of nine. When he was 14, his mother was committed to a mental asylum. Chaplin began performing at an early age, touring music halls and later working as a stage actor and comedian. At 19, he was signed to the prestigious Fred Karno company, which took him to America. He was scouted for the film industry and began appearing in 1914 for Keystone Studios. He soon developed the Tramp persona and formed a large fan base. He directed his own films and continued to hone his craft as he moved to the Essanay, Mutual, and First National corporations. By 1918, he was one of the best-known figures in the world.

In 1919, Chaplin co-founded the distribution company United Artists, which gave him complete control over his films. His first feature-length film was The Kid (1921), followed by A Woman of Paris (1923), The Gold Rush (1925), and The Circus (1928). He initially refused to move to sound films in the 1930s, instead producing City Lights (1931) and Modern Times (1936) without dialogue. He became increasingly political, and his first sound film was The Great Dictator (1940), which satirised Adolf Hitler. The 1940s were a decade marked with controversy for Chaplin, and his popularity declined rapidly. He was accused of communist sympathies, and some members of the press and public found his involvement in a paternity suit, and marriages to much younger women, scandalous. An FBI investigation was opened, and Chaplin was forced to leave the United States and settle in Switzerland. He abandoned the Tramp in his later films, which include Monsieur Verdoux (1947), Limelight (1952), A King in New York (1957), and A Countess from Hong Kong (1967).

Chaplin wrote, directed, produced, edited, starred in, and composed the music for most of his films. He was a perfectionist, and his financial independence enabled him to spend years on the development and production of a picture. His films are characterised by slapstick combined with pathos, typified in the Tramp's struggles against adversity. Many contain social and political themes, as well as autobiographical elements. He received an Honorary Academy Award for "the incalculable effect he has had in making motion pictures the art form of this century" in 1972, as part of a renewed appreciation for his work. He continues to be held in high regard, with The Gold Rush, City Lights, Modern Times, and The Great Dictator often ranked on lists of the greatest films of all time.

Birth and Death Data: Born April 16th, 1889 (London), Died December 25th, 1977 (Corsier-sur-Vevey)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1925 - 1966

Roles Represented in DAHR: composer, leader

Recordings

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Brunswick LA30-LA33 10-in. May 1925 With you, dear, in Bombay Abe Lyman’s California Orchestra ; Charlie Chaplin Jazz/dance band leader, composer  
Brunswick LA53-LA56 10-in. May 1925 Sing a song Abe Lyman’s California Orchestra ; Charlie Chaplin Jazz/dance band leader, composer  
Decca 118126 9/27/1966 My star (Main title) Orchestra (unidentified; Decca Records) composer  
Decca 118127 9/27/1966 This is my song Orchestra (unidentified; Decca Records) composer  
Decca 118128 9/28/1966 The ambassador retires Orchestra (unidentified; Decca Records) composer  
Decca 118129 9/27/1966 Crossing the dance floor Orchestra (unidentified; Decca Records) composer  
Decca 118130 9/27/1966 The three ladies Orchestra (unidentified; Decca Records) composer  
Decca 118131 9/28/1966 Perdue Orchestra (unidentified; Decca Records) composer  
Decca 118132 9/28/1966 The deb shakes Orchestra (unidentified; Decca Records) composer  
Decca 118133 9/28/1966 Chamber music Orchestra (unidentified; Decca Records) composer  
Decca 118134 9/28/1966 Taxi waltz/A countess from Hong Kong Orchestra (unidentified; Decca Records) composer  
Decca 118135 9/27/1966 Change partners Orchestra (unidentified; Decca Records) composer  
Decca 118136 9/28/1966 Bonjour Madame Orchestra (unidentified; Decca Records) composer  
Decca 118137 9/28/1966 Hudson goes to the bed ; The ill fitting dress Lambert Williamson composer  
Decca 118138 9/28/1966 The countess sleeps Orchestra (unidentified; Decca Records) composer  
Decca 118139 9/27/1966 Gypsy caprice Orchestra (unidentified; Decca Records) composer  
Decca 118140 9/28/1966 A countess from Hong Kong Orchestra (unidentified; Decca Records) composer  
Decca 118141 9/28/1966 My star/Tango Natasha Orchestra (unidentified; Decca Records) composer  

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Chaplin, Charlie," accessed July 25, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/102583.

Chaplin, Charlie. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved July 25, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/102583.

"Chaplin, Charlie." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 25 July 2021.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/102583

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