Wednesday, August 20, 2014

After an absence of eight months, Chaplin returns to Los Angeles to face his divorce from Lita Grey, mid-August, 1927

Chaplin with his attorney, Gavin McNab, August 1927
Chaplin had been in New York since Lita filed her complaint for divorce in mid-January. Before heading to Los Angeles, he spent a couple of days relaxing with his attorney, Nathan Burkan, and a friend in Del Monte, CA. The divorce was set to go to trial on August 22nd* and although he spent most of his first day home in seclusion at his brother Syd's house, that evening he emerged with Henry Bergman and drove to his home on Summit Drive to see his sons, Charlie, Jr. and Sydney. Lita, her mother, and the boys had been occupying the house for the last several months under a court order. Charlie and Lita "exchanged greetings and hoped that the other was feeling well."1 Then while Lita and her mother stood in the background, Chaplin "sought out his two babies and spent the better part of a half hour caressing and playing with them."2 Before he left, Lita told him that her front door was open to him anytime he wanted to visit his children.

By himself--with and without his hat, August 1927

Later that day Chaplin visited his studio but according to Bergman, he kept to himself most of the time. "He is hopeless and doesn't want company. He is not avoiding anyone but he would rather be by himself." Charlie visited Henry's restaurant on Hollywood Blvd twice and there "nodded carelessly to friends and acquaintences." When he did not return home Syd's house that evening it was thought that he was likely out driving by himself.3

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*A settlement would be reached by the 19th and the divorce granted on the 22nd.
1New York Times, August 18, 1927
2Los Angeles Times, August 17, 1927
3ibid.

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