Josephine Chaplin, Actress and Daughter of Charlie Chaplin, Dies at 74 


Josephine Chaplin, an actress and the sixth of 11 children fathered by screen legend Charlie Chaplin, died July 13 in Paris, her family announced. She was 74.

Chaplin starred with Laurence Harvey in Menahem Golan’s Escape to the Sun (1972), about a group of people attempting to leave the Soviet Union to escape antisemitism and political repression.

She also appeared with Vittorio De Sica and Maurice Ronet in L’odeur des fauves (1972), with Liv Ullmann and Kiefer Sutherland in Daniel Petrie’s The Bay Boy (1984), and with Klaus Kinski in a German-language version of Jack the Ripper (1976).

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In 1988, she portrayed Hadley Richardson, the first wife of Ernest Hemingway, in a miniseries that starred Stacy Keach.

ESCAPE TO THE SUN, from left, Josephine Chaplin, Laurence Harvey, 1972

Josephine Chaplin with Laurence Harvey in 1972’s Escape to the Sun. Courtesy Everett Collection

Josephine Hannah Chaplin was born in Santa Monica on March 28, 1949, the third of eight children of Charlie Chaplin and his fourth wife, Oona O’Neill, the British actress and daughter of Nobel Prize-winning playwright Eugene O’Neill. Her parents eloped in 1943 and had Geraldine and Michael before her.

In Limelight (1952), written, directed and starring her dad, she appeared in the opening scene with Geraldine and Michael, and she was in her father’s A Countess From Hong Kong (1967) as well. In 1972, she played May in Pier Paolo Pasolini’s X-rated The Canterbury Tales (1972).

A longtime resident of Paris, Chaplin did most of her acting in French features, among them Nuits rouges (1974) and À l’ombre d’un été (1976). According to IMDb, her last credit came in the 1994 film Ciudad Baja, starring Mike Connors.

In 1978, she and her family were involved in a bizarre extortion plot by two men who stole the body and coffin of her father, who had died in Switzerland on the previous Christmas Day. The family refused to pay a ransom, and his remains were recovered 11 weeks after they were taken. Oona died in 1991.

Josephine managed the Chaplin office in Paris on behalf of her siblings for years and sponsored a statue of her father in Waterville, Ireland, where her family often vacationed.

English actor and filmmaker Charlie Chaplin with his daughter Josephine during a summer vacation at their villa in Saint-Jean-Cap Ferrat, southeastern France, 15th July 1957.

Josephine Chaplin and dad Charlie Chaplin during a summer vacation in 1957 in Saint-Jean-Cap Ferrat in southeastern France. Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

She was married to Greek businessman Nikki Sistovaris from 1969 until their 1977 divorce, then lived with French actor Maurice Ronet until his 1983 death. Her second husband was archeologist Jean-Claude Gardin; they were together from 1989 until his 2013 death.

In addition to Geraldine and Michael, survivors include her sisters, Victoria, Jane and Annette; brothers Eugene and Christopher; and sons Charly, Julien and Arthur. A funeral will take place in Paris “in the intimacy of the family.”


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