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Charlie’s Stash

from The Thread

HOW CHARLIE CHAPLIN’S WIFE SAVED HIS BACKYARD FORTUNE

By Sean Braswell

Charlie Chaplin was having lunch in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean when he heard some devastating news on September 19, 1952. The British screen legend and longtime U.S. resident received a telegram aboard the England-bound Queen Elizabeth indicating that he would not be allowed back in America unless he agreed to come before an immigration authority to answer charges of political and moral turpitude. Translation: U.S. authorities thought he was both a communist and an adulterer, which put him into rather a sticky situation in 1950s America.

Chaplin was returning by ship to his native England for the first time in more than 20 years, bringing with him his wife and four children for the worldwide premiere of his latest film. Like many in Hollywood, he had been growing increasingly frustrated with being the target of communist allegations hurled by Sen. Joseph McCarthy and others in Washington. And so Chaplin made a bold decision after receiving the telegram: He would not go back to the U.S. The hitch? Chaplin’s vast Hollywood empire, a fortune amassed over decades of successful motion pictures, lay in his adopted homeland. More than a million dollars also lay buried in his Beverly Hills backyard. How was he to extricate his fortune without returning? To solve his problem, Chaplin turned to the person he trusted more than any other — his fourth wife, and an American citizen — Oona O’Neill Chaplin.

[ click to continue reading at The Thread ]

Posted on October 11, 2017 by Editor

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