Charlie and his mother, Hannah, sharing a moment together at the Chaplin Studios–well, not really

It being Mother’s Day weekend and all, I have a feeling the above photo of Charlie and his mum will be making the rounds on Chaplin social media sites. Unfortunately, this isn’t a real photo of mother and son but a composite, meaning it’s two separate images that have been spliced together into one.  Thanks to fellow photo sleuth, Dominique Dugros, who made this discovery and even found the original photo of Hannah (below, it was flipped for the composite).

The original version of the Charlie side of the photo is still a mystery. Although it appears to have been taken at the same time as this photo:

Sadly, what all of this means is that there are no real photos, at least that we know of, of Charlie and his mother together. All of the existing ones are composites, including this one.


  1. There is something truly sad and fascinating about the fact that all the photos that exist of them together are actually faked composites. What's especially fascinating is that people have felt compelled to create these composites and force an appearance of intimacy. It reminds me of the highly sentimentalized view of their relationship in the Joan Jordan article "Mother o' Mine" that ran in Photoplay not longer after Hannah's arrival in the US and which seems to have been almost all fiction, right down to the explanation that her mental condition was due to "shellshock" from zeppelin attacks during WW2.

  2. Aw what a shame no real photos of mother and son together :'( I know Charlie didn't like to visit his Mother due to her mental health, but you would have thought in later years before her passing they would have had one photo together. How about any photos with Sydney/wheeler & Hannah? do any exist??

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