Chaplin in the U.S. census


Chaplin is living 674 Oxford Ave. with his first wife, Mildred Harris. Also living in the house are his chef, the wife of the chef, and his secretary, Thomas Harrington (who is somehow only 37. He always looks at least 50 in photos). The head of the household (Chaplin) is 30,  his wife is 19. Chaplin was born in England, Mildred in Illinois, although her birth place is usually given as Cheyenne, WY. They give their occupations as “actor” and “actress” respectively.

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Ten years later, Chaplin is living at 1103 Cove Way (later called 1085 Summit Drive due to reassignment) in a house he had built in 1922 & would live in until he left America in 1952.  He is 41, divorced (only his servants are living with him), and his occupation once again is “Actor” in “Motion Pictures.” Note that Buster Keaton (and his wife, Natalie Talmadge), who lived at 1004 N. Hartford, is listed on the census before him.

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On this census, Paulette (Goddard) is listed as Chaplin’s wife. Charlie claims to rent his home on Summit Drive (the “R” in the third box on the left) even though he listed himself as owner on the same home in 1930 (the “O” after “Head” on that census). In Lita Grey’s divorce complaint she claimed that Chaplin once told her that he had his house put out of his name to protect himself against women. Two Japanese servants lived in the home including George, who was Charlie’s cook for many years. Chaplin’s age is listed as 51. Paulette’s age is incorrectly given as 27. According to her birth certificate, she was born in 1910 which means she would have been closer to 30. Paulette, like many women in Hollywood, fibbed about her age.  His neighbors on Summit Drive include Mary Pickford and her husband Buddy Rogers (1143), Fred Astaire (1121), & Ronald Colman (1003).

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  1. It's funny that you publishing these today – just this weekend I was completing some family tree work and pulling the census reports and DAMN those are hard to read. I have "census" type city and town reports from before the 1900's, too and what a dang chore to try to read them – those are even worse! Someone actually filled those sheets out, by city, by suburb, by street by house to house- an amazing feat!

  2. I believe CC sold the house to the Chaplin studios in 1926 or so, in order to avoid distributing its assets to Lita and/or to avoid paying taxes on it. However, I believe he also probably saved some dough during the cash with this strategy. I think I could spend my life looking at census records, ship manifests, etc. They're infinitely fascinating!

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