Charlie Chaplin, My Autobiography
“The saddest thing I can imagine is to get used to luxury.”
Charlie Chaplin, My Autobiography
“Without a doubt Charlie Chaplin is the greatest genius the cinema has yet produced, not only as an actor, but as an inventor and creative artist. He had the ability to turn fantasy into the most ordinary happening, a simple action into pathos and poetry. A rose in his hand could bring a completely unsentimental tear and in tying his bootlaces he could reveal strings which hold the universe together.”
Sir Francis Rose, Saying Life
Sir Francis Rose's Saying Life is an extraordinary book. Purportedly autobiographical, it is most certainly exaggerated ... but yet, the casual observations Sir Frances makes are rather extraordinary. Had Diana Vreeland read it (which, who knows, maybe she did), she might have called this book, like "faction" as she did her own memoir. For Nick Harvill Libraries' review of the book, see "Lord Chaos," The Life of Sir Francis Rose.
Oona O’Neill, the daughter of the playwright Eugene O’Neill, was a Hollywood ingénue when society photographer Jerome Zerbe snapped this photo. The story goes that about this time, she was dating Orson Welles. Upon reading her palm, the young Orson prognosticated her love line led elsewhere—to a much older man. And, he knew the name of this man: genius filmmaker Charlie Chaplin, thirty-six years Oona’s senior.
Oona had yet to meet Chaplin, but she did soon after. Incredibly, Orson Welles’ unlikely prediction came true. Naysayers noted Chaplin’s penchant for robbing the cradle and his previous failed marriages. They predicted the May/December union would quickly self-destruct. Time proved them wrong and Orson Welles. Oona and Charlie went on to produce a brood of eight children, and they were separated only by his 1977 death.
Oona was fiercely loyal and stood by Charlie when he was persecuted by Senator Joseph McCarthy, who accused him being a Communist sympathizer. Richard Nixon, for political gain, was among those fanning the flames. Chaplin was barred from the United States in 1952 and not permitted to re-enter until 1972, when, as an old man, he returned with great fanfare to accept a lifetime achievement award at the Academy Awards. Nixon—by this time, President Nixon--shunned Chaplin, refusing an invitation to appear at a Lincoln Center gala saluting to him.
Oona O’Neill Chaplin ultimately exacted revenge on President Richard Nixon. What did she do?
The answer is after the JUMP.
“I first saw Charlie Chaplin on April 15, 1914. It was my sixth birthday, and to celebrate my mother took me to Hollywood, a short trip by trolley from our home in downtown Los Angeles. With luck, she said, we’d have a chance to see some movie stars.”
Lita Grey Chaplin, My Life with Chaplin, An Intimate Memoir
"[T] he only books that influence us are those for which we are ready, and which have gone a little farther down our particular path than we have yet got ourselves.”
E.M. Forster, Two Cheers for Democracy
The book on the coffee table is A Snob in the Kitchen by the Italian-born Parisian fashion designer Simonetta. It is an NHL favorite and is available for purchase here. [Also, if you ever try the book's recipe for a Hangover Salad and it works, please let us know.]
Image Credit: A Wonderful Time by Slim Aarons
“I have a theory of relatives, too. Don't hire 'em.”
Jack Warner to Albert Einstein
As they were only twelve years apart in age, you would not say that a conversation between Albert Einstein and Warner Brothers studio mogul Jack Warner was impossible . . . just improbable. Einstein wintered in Pasadena in the early 1930s, and he occasionally ventured west to Hollywood. It was on such a visit that the head of Warner amusingly denounced nepotism.
It was not the first time that someone of lesser intellect teased Einstein about his theory that launched the 20th Century. At a 1927 party in London, the bombastic Elsa Maxwell asked him to explain his theory of relativity using words of only one syllable. His answer must not have pleased her. She later went on record stating, "Nothing spoils a good party as much as a genius."
Jack Warner was not Einstein's only Hollywood acquaintance. Einstein attended the premiere of City Lights, and he found more in common with another genius, albeit of a different sort, Charlie Chaplin. They conversed about their respective talents. Of Chaplin, Einstein remarked, "What I admire most about your art is its universality. You do not say a word, and yet ... the world understands you." Chaplin replied, "But your fame is even greater: The world admires you [even] when nobody understands you."