Under His Iconic Makeup, Charlie Chaplin Looked Like A Totally Different Man

by Rebecca Endicott
Becca is a writer and aspirational dog owner living in NYC.

Decades after his death, Charlie Chaplin remains one of the most influential movie stars of all time.

In fact, Charlie Chaplin is deservedly remembered as one of the original movie stars. Along with actors like Hollywood hunk Rudolf Valentino and femme fatale Clara Bow, Chaplin was a pioneer in silent-film moviemaking.

His best-known character was a heavily made-up slapstick gentleman known as the “Tramp.” The Tramp is well known for his white face paint, bowler hat, and toothbrush mustache.

In fact, the Tramp’s extravagant makeup is so well-known, very few people remember what the actor actually looked like underneath it all!

Most people simply picture Charlie as the Tramp, end of story.

However, you might be surprised to know that a very different face emerges when you peel back the layers of stage makeup.

Let’s just say, we aren’t shocked that Charlie managed to woo hordes of famous ladies.

Scroll through to see what his face really looked like!

Charlie Chaplin is best known for his famous character, the “Tramp.”

The Tramp is heavily made up, and wears a bowler hat, a suit, and a distinctive toothbrush mustache.

This look is so synonymous with the name “Charlie Chaplin” that most of us have a hard time imagining him any other way.

Keep scrolling through to see how he really looked.

We know, it’s a pretty stunning transformation.

Young Charlie Chaplin, with his collarless shirt and windblown locks, looks more like Bob Dylan than his classic silent film persona.

Most shocking of all? No mustache!

In fact, Charlie Chaplin spent most of his time clean shaven.

The actor, who would be known later in life as Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin, looked every inch the British gentleman.

That identity might come as a bit of surprise to an American audience.

That’s because Charlie got his start as an American film star, and rarely spoke on camera. Many people don’t realize that he was actually British (he was born in London).

He started working in vaudeville as a young boy, to help his single mother make ends meet.

His early beginnings may have influenced the Tramp character later on in life.

After rising through the ranks in London, young Charlie had an opportunity to try his luck in Hollywood, and quickly signed with an agent.

He became a bona fide star of the silent era, and eventually struck out on his own.

He began releasing his own feature-length films, and had his first hit with an American audience thanks to The Kid. 

For the next two decades, Charlie Chaplin’s star kept on rising, with a few bumps along the way.

Between 1920 and 1940, he released films like The Kid, Modern Times, and The Great Dictator. 

His movies were major box office hits until the 1940s, when his star began to fade. At around the same time, he started going through some complications in his personal life.

Despite his clownish onscreen presence, Charlie Chaplin was quite the ladies’ man.

He had three brief marriage to young ingenues in his films, and was also linked to a number of other famous women.

Above, he is pictured with prima ballerina Anna Pavlova.

Ultimately, he found happiness with the actress Oona McNeill, and settled into relatively calm domesticity. The duo had a total of eight children together, though Charlie had 11 over the course of his life.

He distanced himself somewhat from the film industry, but had a long and eventful life until his death in 1977, at the age of 88.

Though Charlie Chaplin was a complex man with a tumultuous life story, today we all remember him the same way: as the funnyman in the toothbrush mustache!

Did you know what Charlie Chaplin looked like under his makeup?

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