Charlie Chaplin was born on April 16, 1889 in London. Her father was an entertainer and although not one of the big names, he was doing very well. Her mother Hannah was also an entertainer. A wonderful mimic, she had a sweet, charming voice. While they were by no means rich, the music hall provided the Chaplins with a comfortable living. Unfortunately happy life didn't last long. Father's alcoholism was slowly, but surely destroying his marriage. Finally it ended in divorce, but Hannah was indomitable. Without her, Charlie Chaplin would have become just one more child lost in the poverty of Victorian London. Somehow she not only managed to keep Charlie and his brother Syney clean and warm, clothed and fed but she conjured little treats for them. She would sit at the window watching the passersby and guess at their characters from the way they looked and behaved, spinning tales to delight Charlie and Syney. Charlie took in her skills and went on using them all his life.
Charlie had always believed, even in the worst times, that had something special locked away inside him. He took his courage and went to see one of the top theatrical agents. With no experience at all, he was being offered the plum part of Billy—— the pageboy in a new production of "Sherlock Holmes". "Sherlock Holmes" opened on July 27, 1903 at the enormous "Pavilion Theatre" Charlie seemed to change overnight. It was as if he had found the thing he was meant to do.
It was, by now, 1908, Charlie was nineteen and he fell in love. Hetty Kelly was only fifteen. But her parents quashed the romance before it really begun—— but the memory of pretty Hetty stayed with Charlie all his life.
In 1910, when Karno set off on his yearly American tour, "One of the best pantomime artists ever seen here." They had reached Philadelphia when a telegram arrived and he was being offered the chance to replace a star in the Keystone film company.
Cinema was born in the same year as Charlie thought people still believed it was a passing fad, and would never replace live shows. He was kept hanging about for several weeks and he used the time to watch and to learn. He was determined to master this new medium. It offered him the chance of money and success —— and it would set him free from the unpredictability of live audience.
Charlie's first film, released in February 1914, was called "Making a living". Though it didn't satisfy Charlie, the public liked it. After that he had made ten films and he had learned a lot. The public loved him and distributors were demanding more and more Chaplin films. In an incredibly short time, Charlie had become a very important man in motion picture……