1952 September 17

Charlie Chaplin Sails for England – Visa Revoked


Silent film star Charlie Chaplin had been under attack for both his political views and allegations of immorality. He had never become a U.S. Citizen, and after he reached England to promote his film, Limelight, the U.S. government revoked his visa. On October 28, 1952, Attorney General James McGranery stated that Chaplin could regain a visa if he could “prove his worth” to the United States.

In the month after being told that he could not return to the U.S., Chaplin was nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature on October 17, and awarded the French Legion of Honor on October 31. Chaplin was hounded out of the U.S. for his alleged left-wing sympathies and allegations of immoral conduct. His attackers seemed to have forgotten that Chaplin produced, directed, and starred in the one, great pre-World War II film attacking Adolph Hitler, The Great Dictator (1940).

Chaplin did not return to the U.S. for twenty years, until he was awarded an honorary Oscar, on April 10, 1972, for his contributions to film as an art. When Chaplin accepted the Oscar, the audience gave him a 12-minute standing ovation.

Read the FBI’s file on Chaplin: http://vault.fbi.gov/charlie-chaplin

Read: Kenneth S. Lynn, Charlie Chaplin and his Times (1997).

Watch Charlie Chaplin in The Kid: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MAUFUv1k9Zw

Watch a tribute to Chaplin’s Limelight: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3b86ck5HRc

Learn more at the official Charlie Chaplin web site: http://www.charliechaplin.com/

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