London-born actor, director and composer Charlie Chaplin died near Lake Geneva 40 years ago today. His son says the famous entertainer found Christmas too commercial.
Chaplin passed away aged 88 in his sleep in the early hours of Christmas Day in 1977. He had been living in Corsier-sur-Vevey for 25 years.
With eight children at home, Christmas was a lively celebration involving a huge pile of presents. But the droll-looking comic actor wasn’t so amused.
“He wasn’t interested in the tree or the gifts. He found that it was all too commercial,” son Eugene Chaplin, 64, told the Swiss News Agency. He grew up at the family home Manoir de Ban, which now houses a museum devoted to the late creator of films like “Modern Times” and “The Great Dictator”.
Indeed, Chaplin was a strict father, recalls Eugene Chaplin. For example, he and his siblings had to be quiet when their father was writing. And they, too, were expected to do their very best at whatever they did.
“If we got bad grades, he’d say, ‘You don’t know how lucky you are to be able to go to school’,” said Eugene Chaplin, a documentary maker. But he has many happy memories of his father, like playing football with him in the garden. “My childhood was a fantastic time.”