MI5 File Casts Doubts On Charlie Chaplin's Walworth Roots

By Lindsey Last edited 74 months ago
MI5 File Casts Doubts On Charlie Chaplin's Walworth Roots

An MI5 file that casts doubts on Charlie Chaplin's Lambeth boy credentials has been released to the National Archives today.

British intelligence services probed Chaplin's background during the 1950s when the US authorities suspected the actor of communist sympathies. The file reveals MI5's conclusion that he was "no more than a 'progressive', or radical" but also that there is no proof that he was born in London. No record of his birth was found at Somerset House, even under the presumed alias, 'Israel Thornstein'.

Tragically for Walworth, as the Guardian reports, their local boy done good might even be — by birthplace — a Brummie.

Last Updated 17 February 2012

jim jepps

A brummie! Eeek.

Truth be told he was to the left of the Communist Party and never joined it. The US CP actually republished his speech from The Great Dictator as a pamphlet in one year and then in the next, when Russia signed a non-aggression pact with Germany they denounced him because he'd stuck to his anti-fascist line rather than turning, with them, to an anti-war stance.

He suffered quite a bit because of MacCarthy who refused him reentry to the US when he'd just popped out intending to return. I believe the term used was "premature anti-fascist" because he'd opposed fascism right from the start rather than just becoming anti-fascist when the US joined the war.