In a new film made last year by American filmmakers, shots of Charlie Chaplin's famous farcical antics are interspersed with documentary footage of an elderly, handsome gentleman casually interacting with his large family. However, the interviews given in the film by his children prove that Chaplin was not at all the meek short man whom he sometimes portrayed on the screen, that he had many skeletons in his closet, and the legend according to which he slept with 2000 women may well be true. The Daily Mail writes about the film.
Chaplin was born in London in 1889, and at the age of 24 came to the United States as a penniless music hall actor. Five years later, he married for the first time - to 16-year-old vaudeville actress Mildred Harris. He was forced to do this by a false alarm about pregnancy. The following year, the couple had a son named Norman, who lived only three days. Soon Chaplin left his wife. When they divorced in 1920, she cited his "mental cruelty" as one of the reasons for the breakup.
By this time, Chaplin was already a star: The Kid and The Gold Rush were released. On the set of the first tape, he noticed 12-year-old Lilith Louis MacMurray and decided to make her an actress. He gave her a new name - Lita Grey, and a couple of years later, when he was 35, and she was 14, according to rumors, he seduced her. If the case went to court, he would face charges of rape of a minor. For a short time they were legally married, and when they divorced with scandal in 1927, Chaplin had to pay Grey a compensation in the amount of 625,000 pounds. If you translate into today's rate, you get about 38 million pounds, or more than 50 million dollars - the most expensive divorce in Hollywood at the time. During the divorce proceedings, Grey demanded custody of two common children and stated that her husband allowed himself cruel antics and sexual violence. Chaplin, in turn, called her "a blackmailer, a gold digger and a little whore". In the 1960s, Grey published the book My Life with Chaplin, which, in part, included this passage: “We got married in Mexico because Charlie did not want to be talked about. On the way back, he was rather disgusting. We were standing out on the platform between cars while the train was travelling and he said, 'We could just end this whole situation if you just jump".
In 1932, he met former child model Paulette Goddard - who assured him that she was 17, when in fact she was 22. They were married from 1936 to 1942, after which Goddard received good money for her silence: she never gave details about their marriage.
A year after this divorce, he met his fourth and final wife, Eugene O'Neill's daughter Una. She was 36 years younger than him and faced strong resistance from relatives when their romance began. However, by all accounts, it was an absolutely harmonious marriage. She bore Chaplin eight children and remained with him until his death in 1977.
However, the children from this marriage, who were interviewed for the film, recall that the situation at home was not easy. Chaplin's son Michael admits: “I was kind of frightened of my father. He was so powerful, you couldn't argue with him, because he couldn't be wrong". His sister Geraldine, who became a famous actress, adds: “My father wasn't Charlie Chaplin. I knew they were the same person but they looked nothing alike – except when he had an audience, he would become Charlie Chaplin, that other man".
“He was out of reach”, - says his daughter Jane. - We only heard: "Your father is working, do not disturb him, he will lose inspiration." Our world revolved around my father's well-being. He said that he was always tormented by doubts, all his life. He fulfilled his dream, but he never stopped doubting himself. And is it possible to forget where you come from? I don't think it's possible".