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Charlie Chaplin Charles Spencer Chaplin was born on April 16 1889 in Walworth London and lived a Dickensian childhood shared with his brother Sydney that included extreme poverty workhouses and seeing his mothers mental decline put her into an institution Both his parents though separated when he was very young were music hall artists his father quite famously so But it was his mother Charlie idolized and was inspired by during his visits backstage while she performed to take up such a career for himself He achieved his ambition when he joined a dancing troop the Eight Lancashire Lads and this eventually led onto parts in Sherlock Holmes and Caseys Court Circus Sydney meanwhile had joined the famous Fred Karno Company and quickly became a leading player and writer therein He managed to get Charlie involved and he too became a Karno star For both boys Karno was almost a college of comedy for them and the period had a huge impact on Charlie especially In 1910 Charlie toured the US with the Karno group and returned for another in 1912 It was on this tour that he was head hunted by Mack Sennett and his Keystone Film Company and Charlie was thus introduced into the medium of film His first film in 1914 was aptly titled Making A Living and it was directed by Henry Lehrman He starred in many of his Keystones along side Mabel Normand who also directed three of his films but it wasnt until Twenty Minutes of Love that he had a taste of directing himself and this quickly became the only way he worked His success was such that he was able to move from one company to another each time into a better deal In 1915 after thirty-five films he moved to Essanay and it was here he really found his feet not to mention his longest serving leading lady Edna Purviance Notable films
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