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Today in History: June 16th, 1943

Photo Credit: Bettmann / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Bettmann / Getty Images

Charlie Chaplin, 54, Marries Oona O’Neill, 18

On June 16, 1943, Hollywood icon Charlie Chaplin married Oona O’Neill, the daughter of famous playwright, Eugene O’Neill. This event drew significant attention due to the couple’s 36-year age difference and Chaplin’s legendary status in the film industry. She was his fourth wife, the third to be in their teens when they married.

Charlie Chaplin, 54 at the time of the wedding, was already a household name. Born in London in 1889, Chaplin had built an illustrious career as an actor, filmmaker, and composer. Known worldwide for his role as the “Little Tramp,” Chaplin was one of the most influential figures in cinema. Oona O’Neill, on the other hand, was just 18 years old. Born in Bermuda in 1925, she was the daughter of Eugene O’Neill, a Nobel Prize-winning playwright, and writer Agnes Boulton. Oona had aspirations of acting and was a well-known debutante before meeting Chaplin.

Oona O'Neill and Charlie Chaplin standing beside each other.
Chaplin and O’Neill had a 37-year gap between them when they married. (Photo Credit: Keystone-France / Gamma-Rapho / Getty Images)

Chaplin and O’Neill’s paths crossed when she auditioned for a role in one of his films. Despite their age difference, they formed a strong bond. Their wedding was a private civil ceremony held in Carpinteria, California. The significant age gap and Chaplin’s fame made their marriage a hot topic in the media.

The marriage caused a significant rift between Oona and her father, Eugene O’Neill, who disapproved of the union and subsequently cut ties with her. Despite this, Charlie and Oona’s marriage stood the test of time. They remained devoted to each other until Chaplin’s death in 1977. Oona was a constant source of support for Chaplin, especially during his politically tumultuous times in the U.S.

More from us: Charlie Chaplin’s Body Was Stolen and Held for Ransom

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Charlie Chaplin and Oona O’Neill’s marriage is remembered as a notable and enduring love story. They had eight children together, some of whom pursued careers in the arts. After Chaplin’s death, Oona managed his estate and preserved his legacy. Their union stands out in Hollywood history, demonstrating the power of love and support in overcoming personal and public challenges.

TVN News Poster

TVN News Poster is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News