When Charlie Chaplin, one of the greatest movie stars in history, is your father, there might be complications. That appears to be the case for his son, Michael J. Chaplin. One of 11 children Charlie Chaplin had while he was alive, Michael is speaking out about his relationship with his father.
“He cast a huge shadow over me,” Chaplin said in an interview with The Guardian. “It was rammed down my throat. My teachers would always say, ‘You’ll never be like your father.’” For him, “it” meant being told many times about his father’s genius as an actor and filmmaker.
In the interview with The Guardian, Chaplin intimated that his father’s death could be compared to his own birth. Michael was making an inference to a religious cult. Yes, one where members would size up their age based on how far back their father died.
Michael Chaplin Has Insight About Charlie Chaplin’s Death
According to The Guardian, “He (Michael) likes to see the day his father died as a rebirth. It’s not that Michael disliked his dad. He loved him and couldn’t have admired him more.”
But the younger Chaplin did call his father “intimidating.” Charlie apparently preferred to be around his siblings a lot. “He always said, ‘I’m a loner, I have no friends,’” Michael Chaplin said. “When he wanted to, he could entertain us. He was great at mime. He had a lot of weapons to amuse us with. (And) He, Geraldine, and Victoria would do duets on the piano. He related to them.”
Yet Michael Chaplin did not live a white-as-snow life himself. Chaplin admitted to using drugs back in the 1960s. Charlie was disturbed by this activity.
“I definitely wasn’t a good son,” Michael said. “I ran away from home. (And) I embarrassed him.”
While there might have been hopes of some type of reconciliation between them, it never happened. Charlie Chaplin died in December 1977. He had filed some legal documents in the hopes of keeping Michael’s first book, I Couldn’t Smoke The Grass On My Father’s Lawn, out of bookstores.
Son Gains Closure With Father Through Dreams
But Michael eventually started to gain some type of closure. It happened in a series of dreams for Michael. In them, Charlie would show up and start talking about things with Michael.
“I started having powerful dreams where I confronted him, and we talked together,” Michael said. “It was when I went back to Switzerland and the family house. He’d stopped at that point of being an obstacle and was opening the doors for me to live…I think he was telling me, wherever he is, that he’s not excluding me from his life.”
Charlie Chaplin proved to be quite successful in his career. But “The Little Tramp” apparently had a proclivity for much younger women, some even around 16 years old. Chaplin also became a target for the FBI during the time of McCarthyism. This was during the time that he lived in Hollywood.
Due to even more gossip from Hollywood columnist Hedda Hopper, Charlie soon became damaged goods. He was viewed as a traitor by many. He decided to leave for Switzerland with his family. That happened because while Chaplin was sailing to London to promote his movie Limelight, the United States revoked his re-entry pass.
But Hollywood and the film industry didn’t forget about him. In 1972, Charlie Chaplin was the first person to ever receive an honorary Oscar.
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