Rounding out the last and most famous of the silent era comedians is Charlie Chaplin.

Chaplin was born in England in 1889 and immigrated to the United States in 1910. He worked in vaudeville and in 1913 started making movies for Mack Sennett. In 1914 Chaplin introduced his Tramp character in the film Kid Auto Races at Venice.

In 1916 Chaplin signed with the Mutual Film Corporation which gave him total control over his movies and he made twelve two reel comedies for them. In 1917 he moved to First National where he made such classic shorts as The Kid.

In 1919 Chaplin along with Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and D. W. Griffith founded United Artists in an attempt to get away from the Hollywood studio system. All of Chaplin’s films under U.A. were feature length films like The Gold Rush and The Circus. Chaplin didn’t make a sound film until 1940 with The Great Dictator.

Chaplin slowed down after the war only making four more films from 1947 to 1967. He died at the age of 88 in 1977.

Chaplin has over time become an icon who has been imitated, parodied and ripped off. After seeing so many imitators one forgets how brilliant and funny the real Charlie Chaplin is.

Kid Auto Races at Venice.

The Kid

The Circus