The best autobiography ever written by an actor. An astonishing work. "Chicago Tribune" Chaplin's heartfelt and hilarious autobiography tells the story of his childhood, the challenge of identifying and perfecting his talent, his subsequent film career and worldwide celebrity. In this, one of the very first celebrity memoirs, Chaplin displays all the charms, peculiarities and deeply-held beliefs that made him such an endearing and lasting character. Re-issued as part of Melville House's Neversink Library, "My Autobiography"offers dedicated Chaplin fans and casual admirers alike an astonishing glimpse into the the heart and the mind of Hollywood's original genius maverick. Take this unforgettable journey with the man George Bernard Shaw called the only genius to come out of the movie industry as he moves from his impoverished South London childhood to the heights of Hollywood wealth and fame; from the McCarthy-era investigations to his founding of United Artists to his reverse migration back to Europe, "My Autobiography"is a reading experience not to be missed.
About the Author
Sir Charles Spencer "Charlie" Chaplin, KBE (16 April 1889 - 25 December 1977) was a British comic actor and filmmaker who rose to fame in the silent era. Chaplin became a worldwide icon through his screen persona "the Tramp" and is considered one of the most important figures of the film industry. His career spanned more than 75 years, from a child in the Victorian era to close to his death at the age of 88, and encompassed both adulation and controversy. Raised in London, Chaplin's childhood was defined by poverty and hardship. He was sent to a workhouse twice before the age of nine; his father was absent, and his mother was committed to a mental asylum. Chaplin began performing from a young age, touring music halls and later working as a stage actor and comedian. At 19 he was signed to the prestigious Fred Karno company, which took him to America. Chaplin was scouted by the film industry, and made his first appearances in 1914 with Keystone Studios. He soon developed the Tramp persona and formed a large fan base. Chaplin directed his films from an early stage, and continued to hone his craft as he moved to the Essanay, Mutual, and First National corporations. By 1918, he was one of the most famous men in the world. In 1919, Chaplin co-founded the distribution company United Artists, giving him complete control over his films. His first feature-length picture was The Kid (1921), followed by A Woman of Paris (1923), The Gold Rush (1925), and The Circus (1928). He refused to move to sound films in the 1930s, instead producing City Lights (1931) and Modern Times (1936) without dialogue. Chaplin became increasingly political and his next film, The Great Dictator (1940), satirised Adolf Hitler. The 1940s was a decade marked with controversy for Chaplin, and his popularity declined rapidly. He was accused of communist sympathies, while his involvement in a paternity suit and marriages to much younger women were considered scandalous. An FBI investigation was opened on Chaplin, and he was eventually forced to leave the United States and settle in Switzerland. He abandoned the Tramp for his later films, which include Monsieur Verdoux (1947), Limelight (1952), A King in New York (1957), and A Countess From Hong Kong (1967).
David Robinson is a film historian and critic.
“The best autobiography ever written by an actor. An astonishing work.” —Chicago Tribune
“A moving picture of the hero himself. A truly fascinating book.” —The New York Times Book Review
“The most original, virile book about the theater in a long, long time.” —Atlantic Monthly
“It holds the reader entranced. Every page can be read with pleasure.” —The Times (London)
“The crucial artist of the twentieth century.” —The New Yorker
“Among the greatest geniuses of film.” —Roger Ebert
“Few men in this century in any field attained his stature with the public.” —The New York Times
“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. Over the next 25 years, through the Great Depression and the rise of Adolf Hitler, he stayed on the job. . . It is doubtful any individual has ever given more entertainment, pleasure and relief to so many human beings when they needed it the most.” —Martin Sieff
“For me, comedy begins with Charlie Chaplin. I know there were screen comedies before he came along . . . But none of them created a persona as unique or indelible as the Little Tramp, and no one could match his worldwide impact.” —Leonard Maltin
“For a star who made his fortune in the silent movies, Charlie Chaplin has a surprising way with words. His My Autobiography, published in 1964 and recently reissued, moves along at a quick clip, lit up throughout its many pages by bright anecdotes, easy humor, and a confident way with a good yarn.” —Biographile