Charlie Chaplin is possibly the best known silent film actor during the silent film era. Near the end of World War I, he was the most famous film star in the world. His most recognizable role was The Tramp, seen on the right.
As his career continued, he went from actor to director to producer, and by 1918 he was even composing music for his films. Chaplin is often considered one of the fathers of slapstick comedy, and was rated the 10th greatest male screen legend of all time by the American Film Institute.
His career continued for years, even as talkie films became more prevalent. In the late 1960s, Chaplin’s health slowly began to fail. By 1977, his health was in such poor shape that he had difficulty communicating, and was using a wheelchair.
He died Christmas day of that year in Vevey, Switzerland. The following March, his corpse was stolen from Corsier-Sur-vevey Cemetery, Switzerland by a small group of Swiss mechanics attempting to extort money from his family.
The extortion attempt quickly failed, and when the mechanics were captured, they refused to give up the location of his body. It took 11 weeks to recover the body, which was reburied under 6 feet of concrete to prevent something similar from happening.
The Artist aside, silent film has truly not aged as an art form, and many of Sir Charlie Chaplin’s films still stand out as quality pieces of entertainment. You can find some of his classic films on services like Netflix and Hulu.