Chaplin's "Gamine" recalls what she learned at "the greatest school of acting anyone could ever have":
"He told me you can't be clever. If you just be your own self, it comes through more than anything. And then they're kind to you. They love you. One thing I learned from Charlie--I learned many things, but when I was first learning to act he said, 'Baby, don’t be afraid to make a mistake. Because when you make a mistake, they love you.' And they did! I didn't know what I was doing. I was crawling around in circles And he said. "Forget it. Don't criticize. Don't analyze. Be it and if you're wrong, they will love you.' And that's the secret of performance. You cannot be clever. People hate cleverness. They despise it. And irony and--all of it. But if you make a mistake, they say, 'Oh, isn't she real!'
"I was about to start the picture of Modern Times. I’d been a showgirl and a model and all those things were wrong with me. The way of walking and everything. And I walk in and I’m wearing a Valentina—you know the Russian dressmaker. A plain little dress but so expensive! It cost five hundred dollars then! You know, a day dress. And I had my hair done to be beautiful and eyelashes on and came walking in—the Goddard Walk. I’ve lost it, thank God. I had to….I’ll tell you what he did that absolutely cured me—you see, working with Charlie was the greatest school for acting that anyone could ever, ever have. I mean, he knew it all. But anyway, this day that I walked in he said, “That isn’t it, baby."And he took a bucket of water and threw it on me and that’s how I got my hairstyle in Modern Times. It broke my heart. And I cried and cried and cried. And he said, “Cry, damn it, cry! Camera!” And he called Rolley [sic] Totheroh over, who loved me so much—you could tell by the camera. He’d bring it like a kiss, a caress. And he was just a plain cameraman but such a dear man. And Charlie’d say, “Rolley, get the camera in here! CRY! God damn it, get down on your knees and look up at me!” And tears were running and it was the best shot I ever had! And that’s how my hairstyle came. It was never set after that." (Recorded & transcribed reminiscences of Paulette Goddard, c.1973-74 via Opposite Attraction by Julie Gilbert)Happy birthday, Paulette.