My history hero: Charlie Chaplin

“The world needed cheering up after the First World War. His Little Tramp brought so much joy to so many people – you’d have to be made of stone not to laugh at Chaplin”: Chat show host Michael Parkinson selects a legendary actor and comedian

Charlie Chaplin, in a still from his 1936 film 'Modern Times’. (Photo by American Stock/Getty Images)

This article was first published in the April 2018 issue of BBC History Magazine

Charlie Chaplin was a comedian and film-maker whose ‘Little Tramp’ persona helped make him silent cinema’s biggest star. He grew up in London in poverty, began performing in music halls as a boy, and at 18 or 19 joined the Fred Karno troupe, ending up in Hollywood. He was later accused of communist sympathies and forced out of the US, settling in Switzerland, where he died aged 88.

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