Last Updated: March 6, 2024
Info
Category:
Richest CelebritiesActors
Net Worth:
$400 Million
Birthdate:
Apr 16, 1889 - Dec 25, 1977 (88 years old)
Birthplace:
Walworth
Gender:
Male
Height:
5 ft 4 in (1.65 m)
Profession:
Film Director, Actor, Screenwriter, Composer, Comedian, Film Editor, Film Score Composer, Film Producer
Nationality:
England
đź’° Compare Charlie Chaplin's Net Worth

What was Charlie Chaplin's net worth?

Charlie Chaplin was an English actor, composer, and filmmaker who rose to fame during the silent film era. At the time of his death, Charlie Chaplin had a net worth of at least $100 million. That's the same as around $400 million in today's dollars. Charlie Chaplin, born Charles Spencer Chaplin on April 16, 1889, in London, England, was a legendary actor, filmmaker, and composer who became one of the most influential figures in the history of cinema. He grew up in a family of performers, with both his parents being music hall entertainers. Despite facing a challenging childhood marked by poverty and the absence of his father, Chaplin discovered his talent for acting and comedy at an early age.

Chaplin's career took off when he joined Fred Karno's prestigious comedy company in 1908, which eventually led him to the United States. In 1913, he signed with the Keystone Film Company, where he created his iconic character, "The Tramp." This character, with its unique costume and mannerisms, resonated with audiences, catapulting Chaplin to international fame. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, Chaplin directed, produced, and starred in numerous successful silent films, such as "The Kid" (1921), "The Gold Rush" (1925), and "City Lights" (1931), which showcased his exceptional talent for physical comedy and storytelling.

As the era of silent films came to an end, Chaplin adapted to the changing industry by incorporating sound into his work. His first film with spoken dialogue was "The Great Dictator" (1940), a satirical masterpiece that critiqued Adolf Hitler and the rise of fascism. This film earned Chaplin widespread acclaim, including five Academy Award nominations.

In addition to his work in the film industry, Chaplin was a talented composer. He wrote the music for many of his films, including "Smile," which was the theme song for his film "Modern Times" (1936). In 1973, Chaplin received an honorary Oscar for

"the incalculable effect he has had in making motion pictures the art form of this century."

Chaplin's personal life was marked by a series of high-profile relationships and marriages, which often drew media attention. He was married four times and had a total of 11 children. In 1952, during the height of the McCarthy era, Chaplin's political views and alleged communist sympathies led to his re-entry permit to the United States being revoked while he was abroad. Consequently, he settled in Switzerland and lived there until his death in 1977.

Despite the controversies surrounding his personal life, Chaplin's impact on the world of cinema remains unparalleled. His unique blend of physical comedy, social commentary, and human emotion in his films has left an indelible mark on generations of filmmakers and audiences alike. Notably, his films "The Gold Rush," "City Lights," "Modern Times," and "The Great Dictator" are often regarded as some of the greatest films ever made.

Throughout his lifetime, Chaplin received numerous awards and accolades for his contributions to the film industry. In 1972, he was awarded an honorary Academy Award for his lifetime achievement in the field of cinema. Chaplin was also knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1975, receiving the title of Knight Commander of the British Empire (KBE).

Salary and Wealth Milestones

When Charlie was working for the production company Keystone he was earning $175 per week. That's the same as around $4,400 per week in today's dollars, around $230,000 per year. In 1915, he signed a new deal with the Essanay production company that increased his weekly salary to $1,250. That's the same as around $30,000 per week in today's dollars or $1.5 million per year with inflation. In 1916, he signed a deal with a company called Mutual that paid $10,000 per week. That's the same as $250,000 per week with inflation—roughly $13 million per year. In 1918, First National paid him $1 million to appear in 8 films. That's the same as $16 million total, $2 million per film with inflation.

In 1927, a court froze Charlie's assets as part of his ongoing divorce from Lita Chaplin. At the time, his estate was valued at $16 million—the same as $215 million in today's dollars. He was ultimately ordered to pay Lita $1 million.

In 1952, Charlie received a message while traveling from the US to his native England. The message was from US authorities and informed Chaplin that he could not return to the US unless he appeared before an immigration authority on charges that he was a communist sympathizer. Chaplin decided not to return to the US. It was a difficult decision not just because he was leaving what had been his home for several decades but also because the vast majority of his assets were located in the United States, including $1 million worth of cash that was buried in his Beverly Hills backyard (roughly $9.5 million with inflation).

Charlie and his fourth wife Oona settled in Switzerland on a 37-acre estate. After a year of living abroad, Chaplin instructed his wife Oona to return to the United States on the pretense of caring for her sick mother, but really the purpose was to retrieve their fortune. According to legend, Oona converted the $1 million into thousand dollar bills which she then bundled and sewed into the lining of a mink coat that she wore on the return trip!

Years earlier, anticipating these exact immigration issues, Charlie made Oona a co-signer on all of their traditional bank accounts. This allowed her to legally extricate the vast majority of the couple's assets back to Switzerland. The exact value of Charlie's estate when he died was difficult to assess since it was held in Switzerland. However, when he died in 1977, it is known that he left at least $100 million to Oona. That's the same as $415 million after adjusting for inflation.

Charlie Chaplin Height

How tall was Charlie Chaplin? Charlie Chaplin's exact height is not known. On the low end, some estimates claim he was as short as 5 foot 3, and on the high end, as tall as 5 foot 6. The most common general estimate is that Chaplin was 5 foot 4.

Early Life

Charles Spencer Chaplin Jr. was born on April 16, 1889, somewhere in South London, though there is no official record of his birth. His mother was Hannah Chaplin, and his father was Charles Chaplin Sr. They had married four years earlier, and both worked as music hall entertainers. Though they never divorced, his parents became estranged in 1891 when Charlie was still a toddler.

Chaplin's childhood was quite challenging. His family was extremely poor, and his mother suffered from a number of mental health issues. He primarily lived with his mother and half-brother, Sydney. His mom did not have any means of income, and his father did not provide any financial support.

Chaplin and his brother were sent to work at a workhouse when he was only seven years old. In 1898, his mother was committed to Cane Hill mental asylum as she had developed psychosis brought on by an infection of syphilis and malnutrition. During this time, Charlie and Sydney were sent to live with their father, whom they barely knew. This was also a traumatic time, as Charles Sr. was an alcoholic. Child services was called on a number of occasions to check on the children's welfare. Charles died only two years later from liver disease.

Chaplin's mother remained ill throughout the rest of her life, though she was occasionally released from the institution's care. Chaplin lived on his own for periods of time and began performing on stage. He joined the Eight Lancashire Lads, a clog-dancing troupe, and began touring various English music halls to perform. He registered with an agency at the age of 14, having fully abandoned his education by this time.

Career

Chaplin started securing theater roles at a young age. Early on in his career, he got a role in a production of Sherlock Holmes, and his performance was very well-received. He toured with the play for two and a half years, concluding in 1906.

He then secured a contract with Fred Karno's comedy company thanks to his older brother Sydney, who was also pursuing a career in acting and encouraged Karno to give his brother a chance. Chaplin was able to tour the North American vaudeville circuit with the group and was highly praised for his vaudeville abilities.

While touring North America, Chaplin caught the attention of the New York Motion Picture Company, which invited him to work in their films at Keystone Studios. Chaplin moved to Los Angeles in December of 1913 and began working soon thereafter. In early 1914, "Kid Auto Races at Venice" was released, marking the first time that audiences became familiar with Chaplin's character of "The Tramp."

Chaplin also started directing films, with his first being "Caught in the Rain," in which he also starred. From that point onward, he directed almost every short film that he appeared in at Keystone. He developed a large following of fans, and when his contract came up for renewal, he asked for more money.

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Because Keystone Studios had refused to pay him what he wanted, Chaplin accepted a competing offer from the Essaney Film Manufacturing Company in Chicago in December of 1914. Essaney's contract came with a $10,000 signing bonus and a weekly salary of $1,250.

In 1916, Charlie jumped studios again, this time to The Mutual Company, which offered him a contract that paid an astonishing $670,000 per year. That's the same as making around $19 million in today's dollars. He was 26 years old at the time he signed the deal. It was with Mutual that Chaplin became a true cultural phenomenon of the early 20th century thanks to movies like Easy Street," "The Cure," "The Immigrant," and "The Adventurer."

As Chaplin got older and developed more creative control and the financial means to make the types of films he wanted, he started focusing more on storylines. "A Dog's Life" was released in 1918 and is considered by many to be a work of art. His first feature-length film was "The Kid," followed by other films like "The Circus" and "A Woman of Paris."

Chaplin remained very popular throughout the first half of the 1900s, but as he became increasingly vocal about his political views, his popularity waned, especially with the release of "The Great Dictator" in 1940. He then moved back to Europe for a time but eventually had a resurgence in popularity in the U.S. later in his career.

Personal Life

Chaplin's life was not without scandal and controversy. Following his decline in popularity in the 1940s, he faced further problems when Joan Barry, an aspiring actress with whom Chaplin had been intermittently romantically involved, claimed Chaplin was the father of her child. She filed a paternity suit against them. The FBI used this opportunity to generate more negative publicity around Chaplin, as the Hoover Administration had long been suspicious of Chaplin's political leanings. They indicted him of four separate charges relating to the paternity suit. All but one of them lacked sufficient evidence to proceed to court, and he was acquitted of the one charge that did make it to trial.

Only weeks after the suit, Chaplin married his fourth wife, Oona O'Neill, who was also scandalous because Chaplain was 54 and his young bride, Oona O'Neill, was only 18. O'Neill was Chaplin's fourth wife, but the two remained married until Chaplin's death and had eight children together.

Chaplin died on December 25th, 1977, at the age of 88. He left over $100 million to O'Neill at the time of his death.  He is buried in Corsier-sur-Vevey, Switzerland.

All net worths are calculated using data drawn from public sources. When provided, we also incorporate private tips and feedback received from the celebrities or their representatives. While we work diligently to ensure that our numbers are as accurate as possible, unless otherwise indicated they are only estimates. We welcome all corrections and feedback using the button below.
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