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Sydney Chaplin
Sydney Earl Chaplin

(1926-03-30)March 30, 1926
DiedMarch 3, 2009(2009-03-03) (aged 82)
Years active1952–1977
Noëlle Adam
(m. 1960; div. 1985)
Margaret Beebe
(m. 1998)
Parent(s)Charlie Chaplin
Lita Grey
RelativesSee Chaplin family

Sydney Earl Chaplin (March 30, 1926 – March 3, 2009) was an American actor. He was the second son of Charlie Chaplin and Lita Grey. One of his major roles was in his father's film Limelight (1952). In theater, Chaplin won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical for his 1957 performance in Bells Are Ringing.

Early years

Born in 1926 in Beverly Hills, California,[1] Chaplin was the second son of Charlie Chaplin and Lita Grey. His parents had married in November 1924 when Lita became pregnant with Sydney's elder brother Charles. Sydney was born five weeks prematurely, 10 months after the birth of his older brother. He was named for his father's half-brother, Sydney Chaplin. His parents divorced a year after his birth. The boys later had eight half-siblings from their father's fourth marriage to Oona O'Neill.

His mother insisted on calling him "Tommy" due to her distaste for his namesake uncle. Sydney and his older brother were brought up mostly by their maternal grandmother, while his mother attempted to advance her career as a singer. The family spent most of one year in Nice, where the boys became fluent in French.[2]

Chaplin was educated at the boarding schools Black-Foxe Military Institute and Lawrenceville School in New Jersey, as well as the public North Hollywood High School.[2]


After serving in the United States Army during World War II in Europe, Chaplin returned to California, where he became involved in acting both on stage and in films. He gained early acting experience in The Circle Theater, now known as El Centro Theatre, including acting in three plays directed by his father.[3]

He also appeared in several Broadway productions, including Bells Are Ringing opposite Judy Holliday in 1957, for which he won a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical. In 1959, he costarred with Lauren Bacall in George Axelrod's comedy Goodbye Charlie and headlined Jule Styne's 1961 musical Subways Are for Sleeping. He played in Funny Girl opposite Barbra Streisand in 1964, for which he was nominated for a Tony Award.[4] Chaplin also had supporting roles in two of his father's films, Limelight (1952) and A Countess from Hong Kong (1967).[1]

Chaplin retired from acting in the 1970s. In the 1980s, he owned and managed a restaurant, Chaplin's, in Palm Springs, California.

Following his retirement from acting, Chaplin seldom made public appearances. Exceptions included his attendance at Cinecon in Los Angeles in 1998, and at the Cineteca di Bologna 2002 festival (Il Cinema Ritrovato), which mounted a fiftieth-anniversary screening of Limelight. He appeared also at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival in 2004, where he spoke after screenings of his father's film The Circus to promote film historian Jeffrey Vance's Chaplin books.[5]

Personal life

In 1960 Chaplin married French dancer and actress Noëlle Adam, by whom he had one son, Stephan (b. 1960). In 1985 this marriage ended in divorce.

He became involved with Margaret Beebe in 1984. They married in 1998, and remained married until Chaplin's death.


Chaplin helped complete and publish his mother's 1998 autobiography, Wife of the Life of the Party. He also wrote the book's foreword, where he shared some of his own history and private thoughts on his parents.


At age 82, Chaplin died of a stroke on March 3, 2009, at his home in Rancho Mirage, California.[1]


Year Title Role Notes
1952 Limelight Neville
1953 Act of Love Un soldat
1954 Columbus Discovers Kraehwinkel Clark Hunter
1955 Abdullah the Great Ahmed
1955 Land of the Pharaohs Treneh, The Captain of the Guard
1955 Confession Mike Nelson
1956 Pillars of the Sky Timothy
1957 Four Girls in Town Johnny Pryor
1957 Quantez Gato
1961 Follow That Man Eddie Miller
1967 A Countess from Hong Kong Harvey
1967 Sept hommes et une garce Duprat
1967 Your Turn to Die Inspector Chandler
1968 If You Meet Sartana Pray for Your Death Jeff Stewal
1968 One by One Jacques Latour
1968 Ho! Canter
1969 Pagó cara su muerte Red Stacy
1969 Double Face Mr. Brown
1969 The Adding Machine Lieutenant Charles
1969 The Sicilian Clan Jack
1970 Nel giorno del signore Melozzo
1971 L'Homme qui vient de la nuit John
1971 La Grande Maffia Le Directeur de la Banque
1971 The Contract District Attorney
1971 Papa les petits bateaux... Spiro de Palma
1972 The Woman Hunter George
1974 El encanto del amor prohibido
1974 So Evil, My Sister George
1977 Satan's Cheerleaders Monk (final film role)


  1. ^ a b c "Oldest surviving child of Charlie Chaplin dies at 82". Quad-City Times. Los Angeles Times. March 9, 2009. p. 15. Retrieved May 8, 2018 – via access icon
  2. ^ a b Robinson, David (9 March 2009). "Sydney Chaplin". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 8 May 2018. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  3. ^ "Sydney is a Chaplin". Orlando Sentinel. March 17, 1957. p. 85. Retrieved May 8, 2018 – via Open access icon
  4. ^ "Search Results: Sydney Chaplin". Tony Awards. Archived from the original on 9 May 2018. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  5. ^ "Sydney Chaplin dies at age 82". Louise Brooks Society. 3 May 2009. Retrieved 2017-09-28.

Further reading