(1889 - 1977)
English-born Charlie Chaplin signed his first American film deal for $150 per week. By 1917 he had signed a million-dollar contract for eight short films with complete creative control. Chaplin directed his first silent film in 1914 and his last one, Modern Times, in 1936—the last silent film to be produced for forty years. His first talkie, The Great Dictator, was released in 1940. It parodied Adolf Hitler, who had been born four days after Chaplin in 1889. By 1952 he’d left the U.S. a virtual exile, plagued by accusations of adultery and communist sympathies.