Sydney Chaplin

Sydney Chaplin

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Sydney Chaplin

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For Sydney Chaplin's nephew, son of Charlie Chaplin, see Sydney Chaplin


Sydney Chaplin (16 March 1885 – 16 April 1965) was an English actor. He was the elder half-brother of Sir Charlie Chaplin and served as his business manager, and the half-uncle of the actor Sydney Earle Chaplin (1926–2009), who was named after him.

Early life

Chaplin was born as Sidney John Hill, to 19-year-old Hannah Hill in London, England. There is a mystery as to who was Sydney’s father. The story is that it was a man named Hawkes, but there is no record of Hannah’s marriage to a Mr. Hawkes. He began using the Chaplin surname following his mother's marriage to Charles Chaplin Sr., a year after his birth. While Syd and brother Charlie were in the Hanwell Schools, following his mother's mental demise, Syd was placed in the program designed to train young boys to become seamen, on the Exmouth training ship docked at Grays, Essex. He followed this training period with several years working on ships, receiving high marks from all of his employers. But his ambition was to get into the entertainment business and he left his final voyage with that in mind.

Charlie and Sydney worked briefly together in one of their first stage appearances, the play Sherlock Holmes in 1905. Syd was briefly cast as a villain in that play. In 1906, however, he landed a contract with Fred Karno, of Karno's London Comedians and was to fight hard to bring Charlie into the company two years later. Charlie...
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