Thursday, August 18, 2016

Australian opera singer, Dame Nellie Melba, visits Chaplin, March 1918

Melba is on Charlie's left, on his other side is Lady Susan FitzClarence. Source.

Melba described the meeting in her memoir, Melodies and Memories (1926):
I had long had a great desire to meet Charlie Chaplin, and as soon as we arrived at Los Angeles, on my long-delayed journey home, I set out for his studio in company with Lady Susan Fitzclarence (now Lady Susan Birch), my great friend.
No celebrity whom I have ever met so completely falsified my preconceived notions of them as Charlie Chaplin. He was then at the pinnacle of his fame as a comedian--a pinnacle which he still occupies in solitary state. But how little the world knew of the real man who was hidden behind the mask of humour!
I had expected, first of all, to meet an ugly, grotesque figure. Instead there advanced towards me a smiling, handsome, young man, small, but perfectly made, with flashing eyes and beautiful teeth. He was dressed quietly and well, and he spoke in a low musical voice that seemed to belong more to an English public schoolboy than to a knockabout comedian.
But it was not the superficial Charlie Chaplin that most surprised me, but the character of the man as revealed by his conversation. Instead of a brilliant clown, I found myself face to face with a philosopher, with a serious, almost melancholy attitude to life.

2 comments:

  1. That is one of the most beautiful descriptions of Charlie I have EVER read! I did love "perfectly made". :)

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    1. Interestingly, Louise Brooks described him almost the exact same way in her 1966 article "Charlie Chaplin Remembered":
      "Small, perfectly made, meticulously dressed, with his fine grey hair and ivory skin and white teeth, he was as clean as a pearl and glowed all over."
      http://www.discoveringchaplin.com/2013/08/charlie-chaplin-remembered.html

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