Charlie Chaplin got his own ‘Me Too’ reckoning last night when a documentary about the British comedy legend premiered in Mayfair as part of the London Film Festival.
An even more captivating drama unfolded off-screen, however. I can tell that the star’s family is furious with the filmmakers.
Model and actress Kiera Chaplin claims the truth about her grandfather has been ignored by the directors, James Spinney and Peter Middleton.
The Real Charlie Chaplin focuses on his relationship with his second wife, Lita Gray, whom he married at age 35 when she was 16. She was one of three women he married as a teenager.
“It was a different time with a different mindset,” says Kiera, the daughter of Chaplin’s son Eugene.
“If you weren’t married at 18, you were considered a spinster. It’s a shame that these so-called documentary directors chose to make something sensational without showing all the facts.
“Our family office gave them proof that some of what they said was wrong, but they ignored it because it wouldn’t fit their story of being outrageous.”
Chaplin, who died in 1977 at age 88, and Lita divorced after three years, accusing him of cruelty. His reputation remained untouched.
Kiera, 39, adds: “Why don’t we focus on the present, instead of trying to create scandals from the past, and talk about all the violence against women and girls?”
Spinney says, “Lita’s story raises questions not only about Chaplin’s behavior, but also how the media and the political establishment create a culture of impunity for powerful people.”
Kiera Chaplin, daughter of Chaplin’s son Eugene, defended her grandfather, saying it was ‘a different time with a different mindset’
Sir Billy Connolly isn’t worried about antagonizing his fellow Scots.
The comedian says of his colleagues when he worked at a shipyard in Glasgow: ‘They didn’t like being welders, and they didn’t like where they lived, and they didn’t like their wives. I never understood. There was a lack of optimism, of worries about the future.’
If he were younger, he’d move to Down Under and say, “The treasure it has is its optimism.”
Martha blooms at art fair
The feisty socialite and model Lady Sitwell can never be described as a wallflower, but she was easily missed at the private viewing of Start Art Fair this week.
The former face of Royal Ascot wore a £420 leopard print beret that matched seamlessly with the art at Chelsea’s Saatchi Gallery.
“I think there’s a Victoria Grant hat that’s suitable for almost any occasion,” says Martha of the hatter’s creations. “But really, the meddling was a happy coincidence.”
Martha, 40, is the ex-wife of Baron and former film producer Sir George Sitwell.
The feisty socialite and model Lady Martha Sitwell could never be described as a wallflower, but she was easily missed on the private view of the Start Art Fair this week
Some foolishly claimed it would never last when Dame Joan Collins made Percy Gibson her fifth husband, but they are still going strong as they look forward to their 20th wedding anniversary in February.
And this week, the pair enjoyed a double dose of festivities as the former Dynasty star marked the release of her sparkly new memoir, My Unapologetic Diaries.
The Daily Mail, which serialized the book, hosted a glittering party for Dame Joan, 88, which nearly coincided with Gibson’s birthday – he turned 56 yesterday.
Among her friends at Brown’s Hotel in Mayfair was legendary comedian Barry Humphries, aka the outrageous Australian housewife Dame Edna Everage.
Some foolishly claimed it would never last when Dame Joan Collins made Percy Gibson her fifth husband, but they are still going strong as they look forward to their 20th wedding anniversary in February
Guests joked that Humphries, who attended with his wife Lizzie Spender, had channeled his inner Daniel Craig, referring to the James Bond star wearing a fuchsia velvet jacket to the world premiere of No Time To Die.
The dinner featured the best of British music, books and comedy, including composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and his wife Madeleine; author William Boyd and his wife, Susan; and Dame Joan’s brother, Bill, and his wife, Hazel.
Shortly after she married Peruvian-born producer Gibson, Dame Joan commented, “At first people were like, ‘What are you going to do about the age difference?’ I’d say, “Well, if he dies, he dies!”‘
Guests joked that Humphries, who was in attendance with his wife Lizzie Spender, had channeled his inner Daniel Craig, referring to the James Bond star wearing a fuchsia velvet jacket to the world premiere of No Time To Die.
The dinner featured the best of British music, books and comedy, including composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and his wife Madeleine; author William Boyd and his wife, Susan; and Dame Joan’s brother, Bill, and his wife, Hazel
There’s a barking post-pandemic trend in the art world: taking your dog to view paintings.
At a private viewing in London this week, of Simon Elwes & Jamie Coreth: Relatives In Portraiture, at Fine Art Commissions in St James’s, at least five puppies were spotted.
The gallery’s curator, Sam Parker Bowles, a cousin of the Duchess of Cornwall’s children, tells me, “They were tied up tight.”
Too bad there was nothing of Vincent from Dog or Paw-casso. Boom Boom.
Paul’s short shift
He’s the heartthrob that made viewers swoon in the impassioned BBC drama Normal People, wearing his now famous football shorts and gold necklace.
Now devoted fans of Paul Mescal have the chance to own a beautiful blue short, signed by the star herself.
The 25-year-old actor donated them to a raffle for the Cooraclare Gaelic Athletic Association club in Ireland, and bettors can pay €10 (£8.47) for a ticket.
Club spokesman Joe Considine tells me: “When Paul came by recently to see his godson train with the club’s under-9s, he was kind enough to sign a few items for us, including, of course, the iconic shorts.”
Paul Mescal is the heartthrob who made viewers swoon in the impassioned BBC drama Normal People, wearing his now famous football shorts and gold necklace
Dedicated fans of Paul Mescal have a chance to win beautiful blue shorts, signed by the star himself