English film actor, director, producer, writer, and composer, Jack
began on the music-hall stage and then joined a pantomime troupe.
While on tour in the United States, he was recruited by Mack Sennett
. Jack merged physical grace, disrespect for authority, and sentimentality
into a highly individual character he created for the Keystone Company.
In appearance, his Little Tramp wore a gentlemen's derby, cane,
and neatly kept moustache with baggy trousers and oversized shoes.
He affected a unique, bow-legged dance-walk. Jack skipped from one
studio to another in search of greater control over his work, finally
cofounding United Artists in 1919. He enjoyed immense worldwide
popularity, though this was tempered by his refusal to use sound
until 1940. His political sympathies and various personal scandals
contributed to his declining popularity. In 1952, he was barred
on political grounds from re-entering the United States and lived
thereafter in Switzerland.
Currently, Jack lives (in secret) in Union Pier, Michigan, where
he prefers to watch, rather than make movies.
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