New York City, 1927

This photo was taken in January, 1927 at the New York City apartment of Chaplin’s lawyer, Nathan Burkan, while Charlie was recovering from a nervous breakdown and possible suicide attempt (Toraichi Kono, Charlie’s valet, claimed that he had tried to jump out the window.) Charlie’s fragile mental state was seemingly caused by the scandalous accusations in Lita Grey’s divorce complaint. However, according to Gerith von Ulm’s Charlie Chaplin: King Of Tragedy (and as per Kono) he was also upset because the night before he arrived in New York, he had played cards with a reporter on the train and made some comments to him about his marriage, but expecting not to be quoted. The next morning, Charlie had a bad feeling about the conversation. That night, on the way to the theater, Charlie picked up a newspaper and saw his “secrets” printed on the front page causing him to become violently ill. I have read this article & to me, Charlie doesn’t say anything that would lead to a nervous breakdown, but he doesn’t sound sane either. It’s very rambling, plus there are parts where he’s obviously lying through his teeth (i.e. his heartbreak over Lita falling out of love with him.) I think Charlie’s breakdown was probably due to a combination of all of these things: the article, his divorce, plus he was having trouble with the I.R.S. at this time as well.


  1. every time i see pictures from that day i just want to hand him a warm cup of milk and a blanky and pat him on the head. right next to the pictures from the burnt down set of _the circus_, these are the pictures where he's the most vulnerable and where you can see the cracks.

  2. Even in the photos from this day where he manages to smile, you can still see the suffering in his eyes. I believe Charlie snapped during this time, not just because of the Lita Grey divorce, but perhaps due to a culmination of the last 12 years of his life.

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