Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Sydney Chaplin (March 16, 1885 - April 16, 1965)

Warner Bros. publicity photo, 1927 (sydchaplin.com)

At 30 minutes passed midnight on his brother's 76th birthday, Sidney John Hill (aka Sydney Chaplin)* passed away in his apartment at the Hotel Ruhl in Nice at the age of 80. There was no funeral. He was laid to rest at the Cimitiére de Clarens-Montreux in Montreux, Switzerland. His widow, Gypsy, was buried beside him in 1991.
Charlie and Oona arrived in Nice on Saturday the 17th to view the body and ensure its safe transportation to Marseilles, where it would be cremated. Geraldine remembers being worried about her father's response to Sydney's death and whether or not he would be able to recover from it. But instead, although he was dreading the viewing, Charlie thought Sydney looked wonderful, like he could wake up and begin talking to him at any second. (Lisa K. Stein, Syd Chaplin: A Biography, 2011)
Syd's final resting place

*Sidney John Hill was the name he was given at birth and is the name on his death certificate (Hill was his mother Hannah's maiden name). Syd's last name was never officially changed to Chaplin.

3 comments:

  1. It's almost as if they could control the time of their death; Sydney on Charlies's birthday and Charlie ruining Christmas :)
    I'm always so touched reading about them and their relationship, and sometimes wonder if Charlie had even survived without Sydney.

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  2. That is a really beautiful photograph. How did the Chaplin's get there so quickly I wonder. I suppose they were already in Nice when Syd's decline was so evident, maybe.
    I guess both CC and Syd spoke almost fluent French in later years. I didnt realize that Marseilles was so close to Nice.
    Do you have any in depth information about Gypsy. Like did she have a history of having suffered through the war. Romania had it pretty bad off. And Romania is also famous for having REAL gypsies.....who can cast real spells. I know Syd like to toy with magical illusions.

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    1. It's likely that Charlie and Oona flew to Nice from Vevey after learning of Syd's death.

      Syd became fluent in French but Charlie never did. Not much is known about Gypsy's past. According to Syd's bio, she was a Niçoise of Romanian descent. She may have spent her childhood in Canada and/or Peru. I don't think she was a real gypsy. Syd gave her that nickname because of her dark coloring and hair and the long gold earrings she used to wear. Syd also may have known her long before his first wife Minnie died.

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