Born OTD in 1889, English comic actor, filmmaker, & composer, Charlie Chaplin. Chaplin’s childhood in London was one of poverty & hardship, as his father was absent & his mother struggled financially, & he was sent to a workhouse twice before the age of nine. When he was 14, his mother was committed to a mental asylum. Chaplin began performing at an early age, touring music halls & later working as a stage actor & comedian.

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Social commentary was a feature of Chaplin’s films from early in his career, as he portrayed the underdog in a sympathetic light & highlighted the difficulties of the poor. Later, as he developed a keen interest in economics & felt obliged to publicise his views, Chaplin began incorporating overtly political messages into his films. Modern Times (1936) depicted factory workers in dismal conditions, The Great Dictator (1940) parodied Adolf Hitler & Benito Mussolini & ended in a speech against nationalism, Monsieur Verdoux (1947) criticised war & capitalism, & A King in New York (1957) attacked McCarthyism.

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