Without a doubt, Charles Chaplin is one of the most famous characters in the cinema. You can see dozens of documentaries about his life. Many times they spoke about the doubts about his origin. Although Chaplin was “legally” born in London in 1889, he was a Gypsy.
Part of the story of Charles Chaplin
He never managed to find out where he was born in Greater London. What she knew is that her father was half a gypsy and her mother did not reveal her origins to her until shortly before her death in 1928. It consisted of 100% gypsy blood, which confirms the Spanish origin of its ancestors.
His parents were Music Hall artists, and it was common among them not to disclose the origin of a birth based on the route of their place of residence. Ultimately, this explains why Charles never found his birth certificate or details confirming where he was born.
A letter confirms that Chaplin was of Gypsy descent
In 2011, Victoria, Chaplin’s daughter, found a letter in the family mansion in Switzerland. It was addressed to his father, who had died 34 years ago. Charles Chaplin himself had decided to keep this letter out of the millions he had received, probably because of its contents. The letter from the early 1970s confirmed that Charles was born on the Black Patch Park campsite. A gypsy settlement very close to Birmingham, England.
For this reason, his family is currently seeking to assert Chaplin’s origins through a documentary entitled “Chaplin, a Man in the World”. Her granddaughters Carmen and Dolores Chaplin are the writers, producers and directors of the film, which is in production.
A documentary that confirms its origins
At the BCN Film Fest in Barcelona they presented a small preview of the film, which will be narrated by Michael Chaplin. Michael is the son of Charles and Oona O’Neill, who was the last wife of the great actor and director. It should be remembered that Oona is the mother of eight of the eleven children that Chaplin had.
The documentary was due to be shot in the course of 2020, although they had to be postponed due to the pandemic. Carmen and Dolores were both born in England and are the daughters of Michael Chaplin and Patricia Betaudier.
Dolores, a citizen of Madrid, recalls the conversations she had with her grandfather as a child. He says that he proudly told her about his Gypsy descent. He also says that the film does not purport to be the best documentary on Charles’ life, but rather intends to look at him from a different perspective. Either way, this is the first time his family has written, produced, and directed a film about Charles. Unpublished pictures of the family are also included in the film.
It will surely be shown in theaters for the 2022 summer season. The film is being shot in France, Serbia, Switzerland, Great Britain, Romania and Spain. The Spanish cities where it is filmed are Madrid and Barcelona. Sisters Carmen and Dolores spent many teenage years there visiting their aunt Geraldine Chaplin. As he says in The Great Dictator, his grandfather felt himself to be a citizen of the world, not an Englishman.