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On this Day in Movie History, April 16, 1889: Charlie Chaplin Was Born

From the Chaplin movie The Kid
Sir Charles Chaplin

On this day April 16, 1889, Charlie Chaplin was born.

Charles Spencer “Charlie” Chaplin was an English comic actor, film director and composer best known for his work during the silent film era. He became the most famous film star in the world before the end of World War I. Chaplin used mime, slapstick and other visual comedy routines, and continued well into the era of the talkies, though his films decreased in frequency from the end of the 1920s. With Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and D. W. Griffith, he co-founded United Artists in 1919.

Chaplin was one of the most creative and influential personalities of the silent-film era. He was influenced by his predecessor, the French silent film comedian Max Linder, to whom he dedicated one of his films.

In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked Chaplin the 10th greatest male screen legend of all time. In 2008, Martin Sieff, in a review of the book Chaplin: A Life, wrote: “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 World War I.”

George Bernard Shaw called Chaplin “the only genius to come out of the movie industry”.

1913 – Les Tremayne (Henning) (actor: The War of the Worlds, Francis Goes to West Point, The Slime People, I Love Melvin; died Dec 19, 2003)

1914 – John Hodiak (actor: The Miniver Story, Conquest of Cochise; passed away Oct 19, 1955)

1917 – Barry Nelson (Nielsen) (actor: Airport, The Shining, Pete ’n’ Tillie, The Human Comedy, Island Claw, Shadow of the Thin Man; died Apr 7, 2007)

1921 – Sir Peter Ustinov (Academy Award-winning actor: Spartacus [1960], Topkapi [1964]; Quo Vadis, Death on the Nile, Beau Brummel; died Mar 28, 2004)

1924 – Henry Mancini (Enrico Nicola Mancini) (Academy Award-winning composer: Moon River [1961], Days of Wine and Roses [1962], Breakfast at Tiffany’s score [1961], Victor/Victoria score [1982]; composed themes for The Pink Panther, Mr. Lucky, Peter Gunn, Charade, NBC Mystery Movie, NBC Nightly News, Love Theme from Romeo & Juliet; 20 Grammy Awards; passed away June 14, 1994)

1927 – Edie Adams (Enke) (actress: The Apartment, The Oscar, Love with the Proper Stranger, The Ernie Kovacs Show; spokesperson for Muriel Cigars: “Hey big spender, spend a little time with me.”; died Oct 15, 2008)

1953 – Jay O. Sanders (actor: Tucker: The Man and His Dream, Crime Story, Aftermash)

1954 – Ellen Barkin (Emmy Award-winning actress: Before Women Had Wings [1997 miniseries]; Diner, Tender Mercies, Wild Bill, Bad Company, Daniel, Sea of Love, Eddie and the Cruisers)

1965 – Jon Cryer (actor: Two and a Half Men, Heads, Hot Shots!, Superman 4: The Quest for Peace, Pretty in Pink, No Small Affair, Partners, The Famous Teddy Z)

1976 – Lukas Haas (actor: Boys, Leap of Faith, Rambling Rose, The Lady in White, Witness)

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