Born in London on April 16, 1889, Charles Spencer Chaplin entered into a world of show business through his music hall parents; Charles Chaplin Sr. and the former Hannah Hill. Shortly after
Chaplin's birth they separated, leaving Hannah to raise Charlie and big brother Sidney by herself.

Like a Dickens' Novel, unable to care for her children, Hannah was forced to give up the two boys to the Lambeth Workhouse and then the Hanwell School for Orphans and Destitute Children.

Charlie's salvation began in 1903 when he preformed in Sherlock Holmes as Billy the newspaper boy. He continued his work until Sidney got him a job working for the Fred Karno Pantomime Troupe in 1907.

During their second tour of America in 1913 he catches the interest of the Keystone Film Company, and in late December signs with them for $125.00 a week.

After thirty-five knockabout comedies, Chaplin signs with the Essanay making a staggering $1,250 a week.

Essanay started the transition from the broad slapstick of Sennett's Keystone comedies to a slower kind of comedy. In 1915, Chaplin made "The Tramp", he injected pathos into the story and it would soon become a Chaplin trademark.

In the glorious year of 1916, Chaplin signs with the Mutual Film Corporation for $10,000 a week with a $150, 000 bonus.

It is at Mutual where Chaplin's genius grows. He creates twelve comedies that are laced with greatness. The films of Mutual contain all the elements that Chaplin would use to produce some of the best comedies the world has known. Great stories, along with flawless pantomime and inspired gags of invention are intertwined with pathos to make complete stories.

Chaplin signs a contract with First National Exhibitor's Circuit for $1,075,000 in 1918, and continues creating more classics at the new Chaplin studios that are still located at La Brea and DeLongpre avenues in Hollywood.

The year was 1921, and Chaplin struck gold with "The Kid", co-staring a soon to be sensation named Jackie Coogan that gained worldwide success cementing Chaplin's genius.

Using themes from his own childhood life of poverty, Chaplin wove a simple story with "a smile and perhaps a tear", that changed comedy. Soon, all the greats of silent comedy would make the leap to features.

Chaplin fulfilled his contract with First National with some short subjects before forming "United Artists" in 1919 along with his pal Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford and the "Father of Film", D.W. Griffith. It was a company to exclusively handle each star's films.

Chaplin experimented with drama in "A Woman of Paris" in 1923, then over the course of years released classic after classic starting with "The Gold Rush" in 1925. "The Circus", a much underrated comedy followed in 1928.

It was during "The Circus", that the world of film was turned upside down by the Jolson talkie, "The Jazz Singer". Chaplin knew for 'The Tramp' to be universal, he couldn't speak on camera.

Chaplin resisted any temptation for sound and opted for sound effects in what is arguably his most beloved film, "City Lights" in 1931. It was another simple story about a tramp and a blind flower girl that had its premiere at the new Los Angeles Theatre.

Chaplin walked off into the sunset with "Modern Times" in 1936, the last silent film of the era.

I believe Charlie Chaplin to be comedy's greatest comedian. His gifts are unsurpassed. He revolutionized comedy and everyone followed his lead.
Chaplin attached his name as a pioneer to the development of film comedy into the art it became.

The accolades have been showered on Chaplin and his art for years. Many of the greatest comedians that have followed Chaplin cite him as the major influence they got into comedy. He is the face of silent comedy and the face of silent film. From humble beginnings greatness was born.

He remains the greatest artist film has produced.

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