Rags to riches
Chaplin was born in 1889 in South London. His parents were music hall entertainers, but his father abandoned the family when Chaplin was two, leaving his mother, Hannah, in great financial difficulty. She continued to sing until during one performance her voice finally gave out, and Chapllin at the age of five took over from her. It happened just once but Hannah encouraged him; as he recalled, she “imbued me with the feeling I had some sort of talent.” She succumbed to mental health problems and Chaplin and his brother Sydney were put into a workhouse in Hanwell. Afterwards they went to live with their father who helped Chaplin find work with a clog-dancing troupe when he was only ten; this was the first step in his career as a performer. His brother, too, was carving out a stage care eer and became a popular per rformer in the Fred Karno comp pany, where he got Cha aplin a job in 1908. They tou red America twice andd Chaplin became so successf ful that he was offered wor k at the Keystone Studio os in Los Angeles. Alth ough he wasn’t keen ono the Keystone coomedies’ “rough and d tumble”, he liked the idea ofo going into the movies.m While he was at the Studio s, he developed a slower type of come edy. He created a character byy choosing th e clothes first: “I wan nted everything tto be a contradictio on: the pants bagg gy, the coat tight, thet hat small a nd the shoes large e…” And so ‘th he Tramp’ was born, the alter ego that madem him famou us.