Lita Grey

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Lita Grey
Lita Grey.jpg
Lita Grey in 1925
Lillita Louise MacMurray

(1908-04-15)April 15, 1908
DiedDecember 29, 1995(1995-12-29) (aged 87)
  • Charlie Chaplin
    (m. 1924;div. 1927)
  • Henry Aguirre
  • Arthur Day
  • Patsy Pizzolongo
    (m. 1956;div. 1966)
Children Charles Chaplin Jr.
Sydney Earl Chaplin

Lita Grey (born Lillita Louise MacMurray; April 15, 1908 – December 29, 1995), who was known for most of her life as Lita Grey Chaplin, was an American actress and the second wife of Charlie Chaplin.

Charlie Chaplin British comic actor and filmmaker

Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin was an English comic actor, filmmaker, and composer who rose to fame in the era of silent film. He became a worldwide icon through his screen persona, "The Tramp", and is considered one of the most important figures in the history of the film industry. His career spanned more than 75 years, from childhood in the Victorian era until a year before his death in 1977, and encompassed both adulation and controversy.



She was born in Hollywood, California and christened Lillita Louise MacMurray. Her father was of Scottish descent and her mother's family was descended from an illustrious 9th-generation Californian Spanish family, whose luminaries included Antonio Maria Lugo. The Lugos were from Andalucia, Spain and were one of the first to bring horses to the country. [1] [2]

Personal life

Grey married four times. By her own account, she first met Charlie Chaplin at the age of eight at a Hollywood café and first worked with him at the age of 12 in the part of the "flirting angel" in The Kid . [3] She appeared briefly as a maid in The Idle Class. Her one-year contract was not renewed. At the age of 15, she met Chaplin again when she heard he was testing brunettes for his The Gold Rush . [4] They had an affair and she suspected she had become pregnant by the then-35-year-old Chaplin. As he could have been imprisoned for having sexual relations with a minor, they married that November in secret in Empalme, Sonora, Mexico to avoid a scandal. They had two sons, Charles Chaplin Jr. and Sydney Chaplin.

<i>The Kid</i> (1921 film) 1921 American silent comedy-drama film by Charles Chaplin

The Kid is a 1921 American silent comedy-drama film written by, produced by, directed by, and starring Charlie Chaplin, and features Jackie Coogan as his adopted son and sidekick. This was Chaplin's first full-length film as a director. It was a huge success, and was the second-highest-grossing film in 1921, behind The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. In 2011, The Kid was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant." Innovative in its combination of comedic and dramatic elements, The Kid is widely considered one of the greatest films of the silent era.

Empalme is a city surrounded by a municipality located on the south-central coast of the Mexican state of Sonora. According to the 2005 census the population of the city was 40,630 inhabitants, while the municipality, which has an area of 708.53 km², reported 50,663 inhabitants. Except for its coastline on the Gulf of California, the municipality is entirely surrounded by the much larger municipality of Guaymas.

Charles Chaplin Jr. American actor

Charles Spencer Chaplin III was an American actor. He was a son of Charlie Chaplin and Lita Grey. He is known for appearing in 1950s films such as The Beat Generation and Fans of the Wild.

Lita Grey in The Kid (1921) Lita Grey in The Kid.jpg
Lita Grey in The Kid (1921)

The marriage was troubled from the start. The two had few interests in common, and Chaplin spent as much time as he could away from home, working on The Gold Rush (in which Grey was to have played the female lead, prior to becoming pregnant) and later The Circus. They divorced on August 22, 1927 due to his alleged numerous affairs with other women, and he was ordered to pay over US$600,000 ($8.7 million in 2018 dollars [5] ) and US$100,000 ($1.4 million in 2018 dollars [5] ) in trust for each child. It was the largest divorce settlement at the time. The divorce was one of the sensational media events of the time. Copies of her lengthy divorce complaint which made scandalous sexual claims against Chaplin were published and publicly sold. [6] [7]

She later married Henry Aguirre and Arthur Day. According to the 1940 United States Census, Lita and Arthur lived at 38 East 50th Street in New York City, and that in 1935, she had lived in England. The census listed her occupation as "singer," and Arthur's as "manager personal." She married her fourth husband, Patsy Pizzolongo (aka Pat Longo), on September 22, 1956, in Los Angeles, California. They were divorced in June 1966.[ citation needed ]

In the 1970s and 1980s, she worked as a clerk at Robinson's Department Store in Beverly Hills. She wrote two autobiographical volumes covering her life with Chaplin. My Life With Chaplin (1966) was, by her own admission, largely a work of exaggeration and fabrication. She claimed to tell the story as it really was in her second memoir Wife of the Life of the Party (1998). [8] Grey was portrayed by Deborah Moore in the 1992 film Chaplin , though Grey was depicted on screen for less than a minute in the final film.

Deborah Maria Luisa Moore is an English actress and the daughter of actor Roger Moore and Italian actress Luisa Mattioli.

<i>Chaplin</i> (film) 1992 film by Richard Attenborough

Chaplin is a 1992 British-American biographical comedy-drama film about the life of British comedian Charlie Chaplin. It was produced and directed by Richard Attenborough and stars Robert Downey Jr., Marisa Tomei, Dan Aykroyd, Penelope Ann Miller, and Kevin Kline. It also features Geraldine Chaplin in the role of her own paternal grandmother, Hannah Chaplin.


She died in Los Angeles, at age 87 of cancer, and was buried in Valhalla Memorial Park Cemetery in North Hollywood, California.


1983 Unknown Chaplin HerselfTV
1979 The Hollywood Greats HerselfTV
1953 This Is Your Life HerselfTV
1949 The Devil's Sleep Judge Rosalind Ballentine
1938Skyline RevueParty GuestShort
1933Seasoned GreetingsStore OwnerShort
Mr. Broadway Lita Grey
1925 The Gold Rush ExtraUncredited
1921 The Idle Class MaidUncredited
The Kid Flirtatious AngelUncredited

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  1. "Memoirs by Lita Grey Chaplin". Archived from the original on 2015-07-13. Retrieved 2015-07-11.
  2. Chaplin, Lita Grey and Jeffrey Vance. (1998). Wife of the Life of the Party. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, pg. 2-3; ISBN   0-8108-3432-4.
  3. "The Gold Rush". Archived 2015-02-07 at the Wayback Machine Charlie Chaplin: The Official Website. Retrieved 2014-09-17.
  4. Chaplin, Lita Grey and Jeffrey Vance. (1998) Wife of the Life of the Party. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 4-13. ISBN   0-8108-3432-4.
  5. 1 2 Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Community Development Project. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  6. Bucktin, Christopher (2 April 2015). "Charlie Chaplin seduced me when I was just 15 and made revolting sexual demands". Daily Mirror. Archived from the original on 22 August 2018. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  7. Shipman, David (1995). "OBITUARY: Lita Grey". The Independent. Archived from the original on 9 December 2017. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  8. Chaplin, Lita Grey; Vance, Jeffrey (1998). Wife of the life of the party. Scarecrow Press. p. 306. Archived from the original on 2014-07-04. Retrieved 2016-10-04.