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Charlie Chaplin

"The movie camera with which Charlie Chaplin made some of his best known films featuring his trademark 'tramp' is expected to fetch nearly £100,000 at auction."

Charles Spencer Chaplin was born in London in 1889. He was an entertainer for 65 years, starting in music hall in England, and later in Hollywood where he developed his famous tramp character. This character was conceived, he wrote in his Autobiography, on the way to the movie wardrobe –

"I thought I would dress in baggy pants, big shoes, a cane and a derby hat. I wanted everything to be a contradiction: the pants baggy, the coat tight, the hat small and the shoes large. . . I had no idea of the character. But the moment I was dressed, the clothes and the makeup made me feel the person he was. I began to know him, and by the time I walked on stage he was fully born."

Making a Living, his first film, was made in 1914, followed by a number still watched today, including The Kid (1921), Goldrush (1925), Modern Times (1936), The Great Dictator (1940), in which he ridicules Hitler, and Limelight (1952). He had co-founded United Artists in 1919, thereby winning his independence as a film producer and star.

His fourth and last marriage was happy. His final two films were made in London – A King in New York (1957), in which he starred, and A Countess from Hong Kong (1967) with Sophia Lauren and Marlon Brando. Chaplin was a brilliant actor and director, but was suspected, possibly unfairly, of being a communist symphathiser. He remained a British subject throughout his years in the United States, won two honorary Oscars, and was knighted.