My Autobiography

My Autobiography


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“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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781612191928
Publisher: Melville House Publishing
Publication date: 12/26/2012
Series: Neversink Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 528
Sales rank: 131,335
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

SIR CHARLES SPENCER “CHARLIE” CHAPLIN was born in 1889 in London to impoverished parents. He began performing at age ten as a member of a juvenile clog-dance troupe. In 1913, while he was touring with a vaudeville act in the US, Keystone films recruited Chaplin to make films. In only his second short—Kid Auto Races at Venice—he debuted his “Little Tramp” character, and his fame quickly exploded. He went on to write, direct, and star in some of the most critically acclaimed movies ever made, including the classics The Gold Rush, City Lights, The Great Dictator, Monsieur Verdoux, and Modern Times—for which he also wrote the song “Smile,” still a standard. In 1919 he founded the United Artists film studio along with Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, and D.W. Griffith, and in 1929, the first year of the Academy Awards, he won an award for “versatility and genius” in The Circus. But Chaplin’s career took a dark turn during the McCarthy era, when he was accused of “un-American activities” and monitored by the FBI; he would later satirize the McCarthy committee in his A King in New York, but when he visited the UK in 1952 his re-entry permit to the US was revoked. Objecting to what he described as “lies and propaganda by powerful reactionary groups”, he moved with his family to Switzerland, where he would live until his death on Christmas day 1977.

DAVID ROBINSON is a film critic and author and a biographer of Charlie Chaplin. His Chaplin: His Life and Art is regarded as the definitive book on the subject.

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My Autobiography 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Macycarew More than 1 year ago
It's hard to give this 5 stars simply because it's Charlie Chaplin....but the fact is, this isn't great. Maybe it's because Mr. Chaplin, by his own admission (over and over) was practically illiterate up to the age of about 15 or he just really, REALLY wants to impress the reader, either way this book is nothing more than a name dropping, congratulatory slap on the back...all mixed in with $100 words. It's page after page of, "I got a call from (insert someone famous's name) we met for lunch, he was nice. I was nervous...later depressed..and then they killed them self." All this using words like, "soubrette, braggadocio, drudges, dolorous, remuneration ,doleful, propinquity, solipsism,etc" If you are looking for information on how or why he made the movies he did, you'll be disappointed as Mr. Chaplin only wrote about how much money they cost, how much he money he made, and how he would listen to everyone laugh...and that made him feel good, but inevitably his antisocial mind would kick in and then he just wanted to be left alone.  His family, wives and brother, are secondary and are barely mentioned or discussed. This whole book is one man trying to convince someone (you) that he's not a communist and that all Americans treated him wrong...although he didn't mind us while he was making money. And the constant name dropping...ugh. This book reads like someone who is trying to convince people he's smarter than he thinks people think. If you ever wondered why Charlie Chaplin movies are only funny when he's not talking, this book shows why that was true.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Although he places a bit too much emphasis on naming the famous people who intersected with his life, the book gave a clear understanding of the man. Although chastised in his later life politically, he suffered unreasonably by the overly anti-communist stance of the time. Although I have always been fairly conservative, the McCarthy era went way overboard! I recommend this book to anyone!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Charles Chaplin was born in 1889, in London - the son of struggling variety artists - his father, a vaudvillian who died young; his mother, a spirited music-hall soubrette who lost her voice and, eventually, her reason. His childhood was pure Dickons - in and out of the workhouse, then a hand-to-mouth existence as a juvenile actor. At 21, member of a traveling music-hall company, he came to America. And the infant movie industry stumbled upon the greatest star it was to ever find. Everything in his autobiography makes fascinating reading: his boyhood; the London theatre of Dion Boucicault and William Gillette; the early free-wheeling days of the movies; how he evolved his style, his plots; how he chose his leading ladies; his sudden, dazzling success; his encounters with great stars and world figures from Mary Pickford to Gandhi to Bernard Shaw to Gertrude Stein to Anna Pavlova to FDR; his emotional involvements and his four marriages. He sets it all down in extraordinary detail and in a manner intensely personal. He describes how suddenly, 'the tramp' was born... 'I was in my street clothes and had nothing to do, so I stood where Sennett could see me.. 'We ned some gags here,' he said, then turned to me. 'Put on a comedy make-up, anything will do.' I had no idea what make-up to put on... However, on the was to the wardrobe, I thought I would dress in baggy pants, big shoes, a cane and a derby hat...I had no idea of the character. But the moment I was dressed, the clothes and the make-up made me feel the person he was... When I entered [the hotel lobby set] I felt I was an imposter posing as one of the guests, but in reality I was a tramp just wanting a little shelter. I enetered and stumbled over the foot of a lady. I turned and raised my hat apologetically, then turned and stumbled over a cuspidor, then turned and raised my hat to the cuspidor. Behind the camera they began to laugh...' The great Hollywood days are recreated as never before.He speaks with candor of the stormy postwar years - the humiliations of the paternity suit brought against him on the eve of his marriage to Oona O'Neill, and the political accusations that made him decide to leave the United States. And in the finale he writes with evocative warmth of the happy ending - his serene, idyllic life in Switzerland with Oona and their eight children. Charlie Chaplin's autobiography will move you, just as it moved me.
AZSeniorette More than 1 year ago
IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN EARLY MOVIES, STARS AND CELEBRITIES AND EARLY MOVIE MAKING, THIS IS THE READ FOR YOU. So very interesting and nicely written. Chaplin had quite a vocabulary !! and what a life ! I enjoy reading about all the different kinds of history of America and this falls into that category. I didn't think I would like a "story telling" mode in a novel; however, Chaplin's easy style is easy to read and I cannot seem to put this down.
Seshen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A very self-centered fellow, but all truly great artists are.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well another book useless to buy because of plot spoilers telling everthing including the ending. Come on bn, when are you going to put a stop to these plot spoilers and ban them.
johnbender More than 1 year ago
I love this book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was outstanding. You would never guess how hard his life was! Go Broncos!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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