He appeared on stage for the first time when he was just a boy and was signed to a movie contract when he was a young man.  He created his little tramp character with the derby hat, trimmed moustache, baggy pants and cane for his second movie and went on to play him in more than 70 films during the silent film era.  Charlie Chaplin became one of the most recognized actors of the time and went on to direct movies of his own with some of the biggest stars of the day.

But away from the camera, Chaplin’s personal life was filled with controversy.  He was married four times and in 1943 a woman accused him of fathering her child.  That same year he also married the 18-year old daughter of playwright Eugene O’Neill.  Chaplin was 54 at the time.  He also came under a lot of criticism for maintaining his British citizenship even though he lived and worked in the United States.

He became a target of Senator Joseph McCarthy – accused of supporting subversive causes.  As a result he left the United States in 1952 vowing never to return.  But he did return 20 years later when he was presented an honorary Academy Award in 1972.