The birth of Chaplin’s second son was making headlines this week in 1926

Happy birthday, Sydney (March 30, 1926)

Logansport Pharos Tribune, March 31, 1926

Los Angeles Times, April 2, 1926.

Arthur “Sonny” Kelly was the brother of Hetty Kelly.  Milt Gross worked as a gagman on The Circus. Read more here.
Mary & Doug refer to Charlie, Jr. as “Spencer” (his middle name). In another article below, Lita calls him Spencer. This seems to have been a name that just didn’t stick. See also this interview with Chaplin from 1925.

Lita with her boys, Charlie, Jr. (left) and Sydney

Los Angeles Times, April 1, 1926

According to the above, if the baby were a girl, Charlie said her name would have been Cecilia,  but that’s not what Lita says. Keep reading…

Rhinelander Daily News, April 2, 1926
Father and sons. Sydney is the one with the curls.

Oakland Tribune, April 23, 1926

Following her divorce from Chaplin, Lita began calling Sydney “Tommy,” after her paternal grandfather, Thomas McMurray. She admitted in her second book, Wife Of The Life Of The Party, that this was due to her dislike of the elder Sydney whom she claimed had made a pass at her while she was married to Charlie.


  1. Lita once said in an interview that she thought Joan Barry's child COULD be Charlie's. Was it the wealth of infant springy curls* I think all the kids looked more like their mammas and their families.

  2. Years back, Sydney was at the Castro Theater in SF to talk about his father and introduce two films of his father's that night – I think it was the Circus and Modern Times that they played, plus some of his shorts. This must have been at least 8-10 years ago now. He reminisced about his father, calling him AGAIN a "constipated man", and talked about his adoration of his stepmother Paulette, and if I am remembering correctly, he talked about how upset Marlon Brando was to see how C Chaplin treated Sydney during filming of Countess of Hong Kong – Brando could bot believe how harsh he was with his own son. It was a real treat to see Sydney in person – he was funny and very witty as well!

  3. I seem to remember reading somewhere that Lita told someone that Carol Ann was indeed Chaplin's child. Supposedly he paid off someone to "fake" the blood tests, anyone else heard of this? I'm not saying I believe it, I just can't remember the source.

  4. Lita spouted off some of her theories about Carol Ann in interviews and I think in her second book as well. She claimed that since Chaplin was capable of paying someone to falsify Charlie, Jr's birth certificate he could easily pay someone to fake blood tests. She also said she thought Carol Ann looked like Charlie.

  5. It's always baffled me. If their marriage was so toxic from the beginning and Charlie wanted her to have an abortion the first time, why did they have a second child? I'd love to know the reasoning there.

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