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|Officials Choked on Chaplin Knighthood
- Sex and politics troubled mandarins
CHARLIE CHAPLIN was blocked from receiving a knighthood by both British and American officials, newly released government papers reveal.
The legendary star of the silent screen was finally named a 'sir' in 1975, just three years before his death. In the years proceeding, Chaplin's supposed "communist" politics and his penchant for 16 year old wives gave officials the excuse they needed to deny him one of Britain's top honours.
For British officials, there was also a concern not to offend the US government, then marked by rampant anti-communism. ""Mr Chaplin has alienated many of his former champions and admirers by allowing himself to be played up in certain European countries as a martyr to "hyper-Americanism," reads one report, dated 1956.
Even late in life, Chaplin's name was mud in the corridors of power. "I would just question whether such tardy recognition of Mr Chaplin's talents displayed so very long ago would really be desirable now," the then British Ambassador wrote in 1971 in another discussion about a knighthood.