|Los Angeles Times, July 8, 1919|
When Mildred went into labor the night before, Chaplin wrapped her in a blanket and drove her to the hospital himself. He insisted on being present at the birth but eventually “passed away in a dead faint and had to be carried out.”1
Mildred had wanted to name the baby Charles Spencer Chaplin, Jr., but Charlie protested and chose the name Norman Spencer instead because he felt Charles was a name with which “liberties could be taken” and “Norman can’t be shortened.”2
Sadly, Norman was born with an intestinal deformity and died three days later. Mildred recalled years later that “Charlie took it hard. Funny thing, isn’t it–that’s the only thing I can remember about Charlie…that he cried when the baby died.”3
1Mildred Harris, “The Private Life of Charlie Chaplin,” Winnipeg Tribune, April 1936
2Los Angeles Times, July 10, 1919. Chaplin also protested 6 years later when Lita Grey wanted to name their first born son after him but he eventually acquiesced.
3Lita Grey Chaplin, My Life With Chaplin, 1966.