CHARLIE CHAPLIN: A Brief LifePETER ACKROYD Book Number: 81754 Product format: Hardback
At the end of the 19th century Kennington, the area just south of the Thames, was a shabby, down-at-heel place that was markedly different from the powerful, energetic and wealthy part of the city just a few hundred yards across the river to the north. It was an area of dubious pleasures such as brothels, pleasure gardens, pubs, gin palaces and music halls and it was as a music singer that Hannah Chaplin made her name. When gave birth to her son on 16 April 1889, he was given the name of her then husband Charles, another music hall artist, although much doubt remains as to whether he was the boy?s biological father. By the age of 14 he was landing regular stage parts, moving into comedy roles by the time he was 20, and then in 1910 came his big break - a vaudeville contract in New York, which then toured the US. His final stage performance was on 28 November 1913. Three weeks later he arrived at the Keystone studio in California, the right man at exactly the right time for the new medium of cinema, and the rest is history. But why was he so successful? Multi award-winning biographer Peter Ackroyd looks at what made him the very first silver screen icon, still instantly recognisable over a century later. What drove the Little Tramp with the little moustache who not only directed the films, but held the camera and acted in front of it? From his humble beginnings to his Honorary Academy Award, here are the days in music hall and vaudeville, the classic films and the glamour of his golden age, the murky sex scandals of the 1940s and his eventual exile in Switzerland following FBI accusations of Communist sympathies and "moral turpitude" and the possibility of extradition from England. This masterly brief biography addresses and expands upon the major incidents and also offers fresh revelations about his life and work. 300pp, first US edition of 2014, deckle pages, apologies for remainder mark.
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