|Sir Charles Spencer "Charlie" Chaplin, KBE (16 April 1889 – 25 December 1977) was an English comedic actor and film director. Chaplin became one of the most famous actors as well as a notable filmmaker, composer and musician in the early to mid Classical Hollywood era of American cinema.|
Chaplin acted in, directed, scripted, produced and eventually scored his own films as one of the most creative and influential personalities of the silent-film era. Chaplin himself was heavily influenced by a predecessor, the French silent movie comedian Max Linder, to whom he dedicated one of his films. His working life in entertainment spanned over 75 years, from the Victorian stage and the Music Hall in the United Kingdom as a child performer almost until his death at the age of 88. His high-profile public and private life encompassed both adulation and controversy. With Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and D. W. Griffith, Chaplin co-founded United Artists in 1919.
In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked Chaplin the 10th greatest male actor of all time. In 2008, Martin Sieff in a review of the book Chaplin: A Life, writes: "Chaplin was not just 'big', he was gigantic. In 1915, he burst onto a war-torn world bringing it the gift of comedy, laughter and relief while it was tearing itself apart through WWI. Over the next 25 years, through the Great Depression and the rise of Hitler, he stayed on the job. He was bigger than anybody. It is doubtful any individual has ever given more entertainment, pleasure and relief to so many human beings when they needed it the most". The great George Bernard Shaw, having in mind the peerless quality of Chaplin's work and that he performed virtually every role in creating his films - actor, director, producer, scriptwriter, musical scores etc., called Chaplin "the only genius to come out of the movie industry".