Lita Grey Chaplin: Child Bride to a Clown

Today is the birthday of Lita Grey Chaplin (1908-1995). A child actress, she appeared in Charlie Chaplin’s The Kid (1921) and was slated to co-star in The Gold Rush (1925) when the sixteen year old was knocked up by her famous employer. He married her under duress (she was the comedian’s second teenage bride) and she bore him two sons, Charles Jr. and Sydney (who would have a decent theatrical career of his own). When the couple divorced in 1927 (they had nothing to talk about since they were separated by an entire generation), Lita worked as a singer in vaudeville and nightclubs. In 1966 she published her autobiography. Here’s an interview with her, still looking lovely, in the early 1990s:

For more on silent film comedy please check out my book: Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, and for more about  the history of vaudeville, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous

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