What Happened To Charlie Chaplin's Children?

Silent film star Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin Jr. was born in 1889. His parents were respected actors and singers, who ultimately inspired his career. By the age of 12, Chaplin was acting on a professional stage and soon after was a comedian in vaudeville. By 1910, he had joined the Fred Karno Repertoire Company and moved to the U.S. (via Charlie Chaplin). 

Chaplin was funny and charming, and soon became well-known for having affairs with young actresses in his films. The divorce from her second wife was one of Hollywood's biggest scandals of the time and cemented Chaplin's reputation as a playboy who was allegedly manipulative and emotionally abusive (per Biography). 

Along the way, there were accusations of extramarital affairs and secret babies. In 1943, Joan Berry — an actress Chaplin had an affair with during his third marriage — sued Charlie Chaplin for paternity payments. Although Chaplin admitted the affair, he denied he was the biological father of the baby, and blood tests (the only pre-DNA way to determine paternity in the 1940s) confirmed he was right. Still, a jury determined he was the legal father, and he was forced to pay child support until the child turned 21 years old (per Mental Floss). 

Charlie Chaplin married for the first time in 1918 when he was 29 years old. His wife was 16-year-old actress Mildred Harris, whom he married because they thought she was pregnant (via Charlie Chaplin).

First marriage and children

Though the pregnancy turned to be a false alarm, the couple stayed together and had a child a year later (via Charlie Chaplin). Norman Spencer Chaplin only survived for three days and is buried with a stone that only reads "The Little Mouse" instead of his name.

The couple divorced a year later, and in 1924, Charlie Chaplin married again. Actress Lita Grey, who was meant to be his leading lady in "The Gold Rush," was also 16 and also got pregnant when the movie had just started filming. The very unhappy marriage produced two children (Charles Jr. and Sydney) before they divorced in 1927, according to Biography

Born in 1925, Charles Spencer Chaplin Jr. served in the U.S. Army during World War II and then tried his hand at acting (including a small part in his father's "Limelight" movie), but never managed to become a Hollywood name, according to the Charlie Chaplin website. He was just 42 when he died.

Born just one year later, Sydney Earl Chaplin also served time in the military and also went into acting, focusing mostly in theater instead of the movies. He co-founded the Circle Theatre, which became a beloved place for the Hollywood elite to hang out. He played a major role in the film "Limelight" alongside his father and brother and went on to act in other films — he had a tumultuous affair with Joan Collins during the filming of "Land of the Pharaohs" — before finding success in Broadway (per Charlie Chaplin). 

Chaplin's last marriage produced 11 children

After a third marriage with no children, Chaplin married Oona O'Neill in 1943. She was 18, and he was 53, but it didn't matter — the couple lived happily ever after and had eight children, according to Charlie Chaplin

Their first child, Geraldine Leigh Chaplin (born in 1944 and pictured above), is an acclaimed actress that has worked not only in Hollywood but also in France and Spain with famous directors like Lelouche and Almodovar. She's still very active in the industry — her most recent credits include an appearance in "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom" and "The Crown" (via IMDb). 

Born in 1946, second child Michael John Chaplin had a few brief appearances in film before he moved to Switzerland with his second wife and took up writing and producing. He published a novel in 2013 and then started working on a documentary about his father's possible Roma roots.

Like most of her siblings, Josephine Hannah Chaplin (1949) appeared in some of her father's films and then continued acting in movies and TV. She eventually married and moved to France, where she managed the Chaplin office in Paris (per Charlie Chaplin).

Victoria Chaplin is one of the few Chaplin children who never pursued work in the film industry after a brief movie appearance alongside his father. Instead, she married French actor and circus performer Jean-Baptiste Thiérrée, and together they created the performance circus Le Cirque Imaginaire (via The New Yorker).

The last few children

Eugene Anthony Chaplin (1953) was the first child born after the family moved to Switzerland. After working with the Geneva Opera house as a stage manager, he became a recording engineer, working with some of the biggest names in the music industry, including the Rolling Stones and Queen. He's also done work in the circus industry, written a musical, and produced a documentary about his father.

Jane Cecil Chaplin (1957) is a film producer and screenwriter. She stays mostly out of the spotlight, and for the past two decades, has lived in Colombia. In 2006, she wrote the biography "17 Minutes with My Father" (via GoodReads). 

Annette Emily Chaplin (1959) has dedicated her life to the theater. With her husband, they opened their own theater and produce their own shows, but Annette has also toured on her own. According to Charlie Chaplin, she also raises Arabian thoroughbred horses.

Charlie Chaplin's last child was Christopher James Chaplin (1962), born when he was 73 years old. He worked as an actor until 2005, when he started focusing on music writing and production for theater. He's also composed orchestral pieces and collaborative sessions for BBC radio, as well as releasing his own albums (via Christopher J Chaplin).