"A day without laughter is a day wasted," was one of Chaplin's favorite mottos. And his movies make audiences laugh — and think — even 40 years after his death, on December 25, 1977.
Considered one of the most important figures in the history of the film, Charlie Chaplin's career spanned more than 75 years, during which he worked as a composer, screenwriter, producer, editor and as the main star of his many silent and sound films.
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Born in London in 1889, Chaplin suffered from poverty during his childhood. As Chaplin's parents were music hall entertainers, the young Charlie made his first amateur appearance on stage at the age of five. He had to work before the age of nine to support his single mother.
After she was committed to a psychiatric institution, the young Chaplin did tours in the US doing stage comedy. He was invited to join the New York Motion Picture Company and started appearing in black-and-white features. Soon he became one of the leading acts of the industry thanks to his lovable persona, "the Tramp."
"Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long-shot," he once said.
Charlie Chaplin died 40 years ago, on December 25, 1977, aged 88. Click through the gallery above to revisit the ups and downs of an icon who has inspired generations of actors and directors.