Charlie Chaplin directed, wrote, produced, and starred in blockbuster films that were critically acclaimed and commercially successful. However, the one aspect of his life that did not have as much success as his films was his love life. Which is filled with tumultuous. Controversial and heartbreaking moments and events that not only shocked his fans but the entire world as well. Fortunately, his love life came to a happy end when he finally met his true love in 1943. To learn more about his relationships, here is a detailed look at Charlie Chaplin’s husbands.
Born in Cheyenne, Wyoming, USA on November 29, 1901. Mildred Harris began her career as an actress when she was just 11 years old. The first film she appeared in was The Post Telegrapher, a silent short film directed by Thomas H. Ince and Francis Ford. Her most famous film was No, No Nanette. A film adaptation of the Broadway musical of the same name in 1930.
In 1918, when Harris was 16. She met Charlie Chaplin and it is believed that she became pregnant with his child. However, Mildred’s announcement of pregnancy was just a false alarm. Even though she gave birth to a son a few months after her marriage to Chaplin on October 23, 1918. Sadly, Chaplin and her son named Norman Spencer died just three days after their birth. Many believe that their son’s death caused misunderstandings and fights between Chaplin and Harris.
Ultimately, Harris filed for a forced divorce in 1920, saying that Chaplin was mentally abusive.
According to Harris, Chaplin said that she was not on par with him in terms of talent and intellect. During the divorce process. Chaplin accused Harris of cheating on him with an actress named Alla Nazimova. Which led to more scandal and attention to their divorce because same-sex relationships were not widely accepted in that period.
The divorce was finalized in November 1920, and Harris received $100,000 in settlement. Harris married a second time in 1924 to Everett Terrence McGovern. But they divorced on November 26, 1929, due to McGovern’s abandonment of Harris. McGovern and Harris had one son named Everett Terence McGovern Jr., who was born in 1925. Harris’ third and final marriage occurred in 1934 with William P. Fleckstein, a former football player. Harris would remain married to Flickenstein until her death on July 20, 1944 of pneumonia.
Lita Gray was born in Hollywood, California, USA on April 15, 1908. According to her, she first met Charlie Chaplin when she was eight years old. But when she was twelve years old. She had the opportunity to work with and for her. Chaplin as the “flirting angel” in The Kid, released in 1921.
When she auditioned for the role of the lead female character in Chaplin’s 1925 film The Gold Rush. She and the actor developed feelings for each other. After she was suspected of becoming pregnant at just 15. Chaplin was asked to secretly marry her. So that he would not be imprisoned for having sexual relations with a minor. They married in Embalme, Sonora, Mexico, to stay out of the limelight.
During their marriage, she and Chaplin realized that they had quite a few things in common. And they also did not share the same interests. Because of their differences, Chaplin always stayed away from home and preferred to work in the studio for his films.
Gray filed for divorce on August 22, 1927, telling her that Chaplin had had many relationships with other women during their marriage.
The divorce was settled. And Chaplin was asked to pay Gray more than $600,000 and $100,000 to each of their two children. The total amount of money Chaplin gave Gray and their children was the largest for divorce during that time. And several media outlets covered their divorce in full detail. With Gray’s legal complaint about Chaplin’s affairs being published in the newspapers.
After Chaplin’s divorce, Gray married Henry Aguirre in 1936, but they divorced in 1938. She then married a third time to Arthur Dee in 1938, but they also separated in 1950. Her last marriage was to Patsy Pizzolongo. Which lasted from 1956 to 1966 Lita Gray died of cancer at the age of 87 in Los Angeles, California.
Marion Levy, who used the stage name Paulette Goddard for her acting career, was born in Queens, New York, USA on June 3, 1910, and is best known for starring as Mrs. Chaplin in the 1936 film Modern Times and the 1940 film The Great Dictator. Additionally, she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Lieutenant Joan O’Doll in the 1943 film So Proudly We Hail! Directed by Mark Sandrich.
Charlie Chaplin was her second husband, the first being Edgar James, the timber magnate whom she married when she was just 17 years old. James and Goddard divorced in 1932. That same year, the actress had an affair with Chaplin, and the couple gained press attention because they were both famous actors during that time. Four years later, she was chosen as Chaplin’s leading lady in the modern era, and because of the on-screen chemistry, they continued to be partners until the next movie, The Great Dictator.
In 1936, Goddard and Chaplin married secretly in June 1936, at an unknown location within Canton, China. They separated peacefully and on good terms on June 4, 1942. Goddard then went on to marry actor Burgess Meredith in 1944, but they divorced in 1949. Her last marriage was to Eric Maria Remarque, whom she married in 1958. When Remarque died in 1949. 1970, she did not marry Goddard again, and died at the age of 97 on April 23, 1990, of heart failure. Goddard never had a child, although she suffered a miscarriage during her marriage to Meredith in October 1944.
Una O’Neill was born in Warwick Parish, Bermuda on May 14, 1925, the daughter of Eugene O’Neill, a famous playwright, and Agnes Bolton, a pulp magazine writer. Her parents divorced when she was just four years old, as her mother raised her alone in Point Pleasant, New Jersey.
O’Neill decided to pursue an acting career after being spotted at the Stork Club, a popular New York City nightclub. Then 17-year-old O’Neill met Chaplin after her agent, Mina Wallance, introduced her to the actress to audition for the lead female role in Chaplin’s upcoming film Shadow and Substance. Although Chaplin liked her acting, he stated that O’Neill was too young for the role. But he gave her a contract to play the lead role in the film after Wallace insisted that she fit the character perfectly.
Unfortunately, Shadow and Substance was never released, but Chaplin’s relationship with O’Neill blossomed from friends to lovers between 1942 and 1943. The couple married on June 16, 1943, just one month after O’Neill turned 18. The marriage took place in Carpinteria, California, and was witnessed by only two people, Chaplin’s secretary Catherine Hunter and her assistant Harry Crocker. Chaplin allowed photographer Willa Parsons to take pictures of the event and publish it in her own name, as he believed Parsons would write a more positive article about him and O’Neill rather than other reporters such as Hedda Hopper, who was known to hate the actor. .
When she was married to Chaplin, she gave up her acting career to focus on being an ordinary housewife.
She acted in Chaplin’s 1952 film Limelight, but only as a replacement for Claire Bloom, the lead actress who was unable to go to the studio to shoot a new movie.
In 1952, when Chaplin was denied entry to the United States during the premiere of his film Limelight, O’Neill accompanied her husband and children and he resided in London. Unable to obtain the assets he owned in the United States, Chaplin was the one who traveled to the country to transfer her husband’s money to his European bank accounts. She was also the one who closed the house they were living in in the United States as well as Chaplin’s studio.
One year later, they officially moved to Switzerland after acquiring their new home called Manoir de Ban. In 1954, O’Neill renounced her citizenship as an American and became a British citizen. When Chaplin’s health began to deteriorate, O’Neill remained by her husband’s side until his death at the age of 88 on December 25, 1977.
In March 1978, a few months after Charlie Chaplin’s burial, two men named Roman Wardas and Jancho Ganiv stole Chaplin’s body and coffin from his grave and demanded that O’Neill donate money for the actor’s coffin. The police eventually thwarted their scheme, discovering that the coffin was buried in a field near Neuville, a town in Switzerland.
According to his friends and family, O’Neill became an alcoholic in the 1980s to deal with the death of his husband. Her excessive drinking led to her suffering from pancreatic cancer before she died at the age of 66 on September 17, 1991. She was buried next to her beloved husband in Corset-sur-Vivi.