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Lita Grey in 1925
|Born||Lillita Louise MacMurray|
April 15, 1908
Hollywood, California, U.S.
|Died||December 29, 1995 (aged 87)|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Children||Charles 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.
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 Andalucia, Spain and were one of the first to bring horses to the country.
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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. 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. 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. (1925–1968) and Sydney Chaplin (1926–2009).
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 ($8.5 million in 2017 dollars) and US$100,000 ($1.4 million in 2017 dollars) in trust for each child. It was the largest divorce settlement at the time. The divorce was one of the sensational media events of the time. Copies of her lengthy divorce complaint which made scandalous sexual claims against Chaplin were published and publicly sold.
She later married Henry Aguirre and later 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.
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 (1995). Grey was portrayed by Deborah Moore in the 1992 film Chaplin, though Grey was depicted on screen for less than a minute in the final film.
She died in Los Angeles, at age 87 of cancer, and was buried in Valhalla Memorial Park Cemetery in North Hollywood, California.
|1979||The Hollywood Greats||Herself||TV|
|1953||This Is Your Life||Herself||TV|
|1949||The Devil's Sleep||Judge Rosalind Ballentine|
|1938||Skyline Revue||Party Guest||Short|
|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|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Lita Grey.|
- Memoirs by Lita Grey Chaplin.
- 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.
- "The Gold Rush". http://www.charliechaplin.com/. Charlie Chaplin: The Official Website. Retrieved 2014-09-17.
- 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.
- Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Community Development Project. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved January 2, 2018.
- Chaplin, Lita Grey; Vance, Jeffrey (1998). Wife of the life of the party. Scarecrow Press. p. 306.