Three more portraits and a bit on his life after the cut.
The photo isn’t reversed.
Of course, this is Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin, otherwise known as Charlie Chaplin! How can I have a blog titled Bowlers and High Collars without any mention of the man behind the legendary trampy character with the iconic bowler?
Small in stature (only being 5’5″ and 130 lbs) yet big in personality, Charles was multi-talented and the epitome of going from rags to riches.
He grew up extremely poor, his father failing to provide and then passing away when he was a child. His mother was no better and got committed to a mental institution when he was just 14. They were both music hall entertainers (that alone explains a lot). Things got so bad Charles started working at 7 years old.
But was this lousy upbringing going to keep Charles down? No! The boy fell into acting and that was it. His career spanned a mind boggling 75 years. He made his last film in 1976, only a year before his death. And yes, he played the violin too but to his right side, strumming with his right hand and bowing with his left. I heard of a funny anecdote when a famous violinist picked up his instrument at a party and started playing, then got all confused when horrible sounds came out. The strings were reversed too!
Mr. Chaplin was also known to be a womanizer and lived through many scandals dating women much younger than him (I’m not sure if this would be considered scandalous behavior today).
Three quotes I find enlightening:
“Nothing is permanent in this wicked world – not even our troubles.”
“Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself.”
“Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long-shot.”
And here’s a photo of Charles in middle-age, look at him with his wavy salt and pepper hair…