Friday, September 21, 2007

The Churchill Series - Sept. 21, 2007

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

Yesterday we talked about Churchill and Greta Garbo. She was one of a number of Hollywood luminaries Churchill befriended. Charlie Chaplin was another.

Off the top of my head and in a hurry for which I apologize, I offer the following:

Churchill and Chaplin met at a reception while Churchill was on a trip to California in October 1929. They seemed to have struck up a friendship almost immediately.

The two men had a common interest in Napoleon. Chaplin wanted to play Napoleon in a movie; Churchill had for many years wanted to write the Emperor’s biography. The two men discussed then, and for some years afterward, Churchill writing the screen play for the movie in which Chaplin would star. But nothing came of it.

During the 30s Chaplin was invited a number of times to lunch at Chartwell.

Churchill, of course, was aware of Chaplin's far-left politics but didn't let that get in the way of their friendship. He once described Chaplin as " bolshy in politics - delightful in conversation."

While I'm not citing sources today because of my hurry, I'll vouch for everything I've just said. But the amusing anecdote I'm about to relate I can't vouch for. I tell it in the spirit of "why let facts get in the way of a harmless, funny story" and with the intent of starting your weekends with a smile.

It seems that Chaplin and Churchill once had the following exchange:

Chaplin: "I'm thinking about making a movie on the life of Christ and playing the lead."

Churchill: "Have you cleared the rights?"

Have a nice weekend.