Lita Grey

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Lita Grey
Lita Grey.jpg
Lita Grey in 1925
Born
Lillita Louise MacMurray

(1908-04-15)April 15, 1908
DiedDecember 29, 1995(1995-12-29) (aged 87)
Spouse(s)
(m. 1924; div. 1927)
Henry Aguirre
(m. 1936; div. 1938)
Arthur Day
(m. 1938; div. 1950)
Patsy Pizzolongo
(m. 1956; div. 1966)
ChildrenCharles Chaplin Jr.
Sydney Earl Chaplin

Lita Grey (born Lillita Louise MacMurray, April 15, 1908 – December 29, 1995), who was known for most of her life as Lita Grey Chaplin, was an American actress and the second wife of Charlie Chaplin.

Background[edit]

She was born in Hollywood, California, and christened Lillita Louise MacMurray. Her father was of Scottish descent and her mother's family was descended from an illustrious 9th-generation Californian Spanish family, whose luminaries included Antonio Maria Lugo. The Lugos were from Andalusia, Spain and were one of the first to bring horses to the country.[1][2]

Personal life[edit]

Grey married four times. By her own account, she first met Charlie Chaplin at the age of eight at a Hollywood café and first worked with him at the age of 12 in the part of the "flirting angel" in The Kid.[3] She appeared briefly as a maid in The Idle Class. Her one-year contract was not renewed. At the age of 15, she met Chaplin again when she heard he was testing brunettes for his The Gold Rush.[4] They had an affair and she suspected she had become pregnant by the then-35-year-old Chaplin. As he could have been imprisoned for having sexual relations with a minor, they married that November in secret in Empalme, Sonora, Mexico to avoid a scandal. They had two sons, Charles Chaplin Jr. and Sydney Chaplin. [5]

Lita Grey in The Kid (1921)

The marriage was troubled from the start. The two had few interests in common, and Chaplin spent as much time as he could away from home, working on The Gold Rush (in which Grey was to have played the female lead prior to becoming pregnant) and later The Circus. They divorced on August 22, 1927 due to his alleged numerous affairs with other women, and he was ordered to pay over US$600,000 ($8.8 million in 2019 dollars[6]) and US$100,000 ($1.5 million in 2019 dollars[6]) in trust for each child, in the largest divorce settlement at the time. Copies of her lengthy divorce complaint which made scandalous sexual claims against Chaplin were published and publicly sold, and the divorce became a sensational media event.[7][8]

She later married Henry Aguirre and Arthur Day. According to the 1940 United States Census, Lita and Arthur lived at 38 East 50th Street in New York City, and that in 1935, she had lived in England. The census listed her occupation as "singer," and Arthur's as "manager personal." She married her fourth husband, Patsy Pizzolongo (aka Pat Longo), on September 22, 1956, in Los Angeles, California. They were divorced in June 1966.[citation needed]

In the 1970s and 1980s, she worked as a clerk at Robinson's Department Store in Beverly Hills. She wrote two autobiographical volumes covering her life with Chaplin. My Life with Chaplin (1966) was, by her own admission, largely a work of exaggeration and fabrication. She claimed to tell the story as it really was in her second memoir Wife of the Life of the Party (1998).[9] Grey was portrayed by Deborah Moore in the 1992 film Chaplin, but Grey was depicted on screen for less than a minute in the final film.

Death[edit]

She died in Los Angeles, at age 87 of cancer, and was buried in Valhalla Memorial Park Cemetery in North Hollywood, California.

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Note
1983 Unknown Chaplin Herself TV
1979 The Hollywood Greats Herself TV
1953 This Is Your Life Herself TV
1949 The Devil's Sleep Judge Rosalind Ballentine
1933 Seasoned Greetings Store Owner Short
Mr. Broadway Lita Grey
1925 The Gold Rush Extra Uncredited
1921 The Idle Class Maid Uncredited
The Kid Flirtatious Angel Uncredited

Bibliography[edit]

  • Chaplin, Lita (1928). Complaint of the young movie star against her elderly husband. ISBN 9781461674320. OCLC 1051461671.
  • Chaplin, Lita; Cooper, Morton (1966). My life with Chaplin; an intimate memoir. Bernard Geis Associates. OCLC 1304298.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Chaplin, Lita Grey; Vance, Jeffrey (March 5, 1998). Memoirs by Lita Grey Chaplin. ISBN 9781461674320. Archived from the original on July 13, 2015. Retrieved July 11, 2015.
  2. ^ Chaplin, Lita Grey and Jeffrey Vance. (1998). Wife of the Life of the Party. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, pg. 2-3; ISBN 0-8108-3432-4.
  3. ^ "The Gold Rush". http://www.charliechaplin.com/. Archived February 7, 2015, at the Wayback Machine Charlie Chaplin: The Official Website. Retrieved September 17, 2014.
  4. ^ Chaplin, Lita Grey and Jeffrey Vance. (1998) Wife of the Life of the Party. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 4-13. ISBN 0-8108-3432-4.
  5. ^ "Lita Grey embrujó a uno de los genios del cine, lo esquiló y le dio una vida de perros". La Nación, Grupo Nación.
  6. ^ a b Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved January 1, 2020.
  7. ^ Bucktin, Christopher (April 2, 2015). "Charlie Chaplin seduced me when I was just 15 and made revolting sexual demands". Daily Mirror. Archived from the original on August 22, 2018. Retrieved March 16, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ Shipman, David (1995). "OBITUARY: Lita Grey". The Independent. Archived from the original on December 9, 2017. Retrieved March 16, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ Chaplin, Lita Grey; Vance, Jeffrey (1998). Wife of the life of the party. Scarecrow Press. p. 306. ISBN 9780810834323. Archived from the original on July 4, 2014. Retrieved October 4, 2016.

External links[edit]