Famous Failures Charlie ChaplinBorn in 1889 in London, England, Chaplin’s early years were tumultuous at best. Born into poverty, Chaplin’s father abandoned them at the age of 2-years old, leaving his mother with no real income aside from the odd side job making dresses or nursing. His father provided no financial support for the family and at the age of 7-years old, Chaplin was forced to go to a workhouse, an institution in the UK where the destitute denizens of a parish are sent to work in exchange for room and board.
After returning from the workhouse for a brief period, Chaplin’s mother was committed to a mental asylum at the age of 9-years old, forcing him to go back to the workhouse again. Afterwards, a brief two years later, Chaplin’s father, a raging alcoholic at the time, died of cirrhosis of the liver.
Chaplin’s mother battled mental illness for several years after that, until she was permanently committed to an asylum where she stayed until her death in 1928. In the meantime, Chaplin and his brother, Sydney, were on their own, oftentimes going without food for days while trying to survive in the wake of all the familial turmoil.
During this time, Chaplin partook in stage plays and enhanced his comedic talents along with his step-dancing abilities. Ultimately, he found his way to Hollywood, California where Chaplin was famously turned away and snubbed, only later to become the greatest silent-film actor to have ever lived.