CHAPLIN, Charles (1889-1977), famous English actor and comedian who enjoyed visiting Santa Catalina Island. His interest in the island spanned more than three decades; he loved boating and swimming, and he bought a boat, Panacea, for his island trips. In 1932, Chaplin met Paulette Goddard, a young actress, during a trip to the island. Although their 7-year affair was scandalous at the time, she became his third wife (1936-1942). In 1943, a year after their divorce, he married Oona O'Neil in Carpinteria, California. He was 56 at the time, and she was 18. They had six children!
- “Chaplin was already the most famous film star the world had ever known. She was more than twenty years younger, recently divorced and sporting bleached blond hair. They met on the yacht of a film producer, who thought a weekend getaway to Catalina Island might kindle some romance. And how right he was. When Paulette Goddard shyly asked Charlie Chaplin to help her invest her substantial divorce settlement in the movies, he was instantly smitten. He had always preferred far younger women. He would eventually marry three teenage girls and had countless affairs with others. But Paulette was different. She was not only clever but vivaciously witty, and Charlie always found this compelling. She was intent on becoming an actress, and before long he asked her to dump the platinum locks, move into his Hollywood estate and entrust her career to him. She had only one complaint: as a blonde she didn’t have to think around men; now, that would all change. Charlie was snagged—hook, line and sinker. Of course, this was 1932—a time not known for its liberal attitudes toward divorce and men dating younger women. A couple living together—especially a couple with an age difference--was hardly acceptable. Tongues started to wag—even in Hollywood. But Charlie was by far the biggest star of the day. For a while he could afford to ignore the gossip. He purchased a 38-foot motor cruiser and presented it to his young paramour over breakfast. They could sail whenever they wanted, swimming and fishing the majestic waters off Santa Catalina. They could revel in their love, without the prying eyes of a pushy public always wanting to peer in. At least, this was the dream, and it lasted for seven years.” [Catalina Island Museum exhibit, 2014]
Charlie Chaplin caught a 100-pound tuna which made him eligible for membership in the Tuna Club.
Chaplin's half-brother, Sid Chaplin, owned Chaplin Airlines, Santa Catalina Island (1919-1920), the first regularly scheduled air transportation to the island.