Scandal Gets in the Way of a Knighthood

The continuing saga about director Roman Polanski and his fetish for young girls puts me in mind of Charlie Chaplin who, while he was never accused of rape (as Polanski has been, twice now), certainly had a “thing” for young girls.

Chaplin, the most famous actor/director of his day, had a penchant for young actresses. Two of Chaplin’s wives were only 16 when he married them, and one of those was pregnant before she reached that age. (In those days, you had to marry the girl when you got her pregnant, and to his credit, he did.) This and his communist sympathies supposedly prevented Chaplin, an Englishman, from being knighted by the Queen.

He was nominated for the honor of a knighthood as early as 1931 and again in 1956 but the British Foreign Office scratched him off the list. Finally, in 1975, the 85-year-old Chaplin was knighted by Queen Elizabeth and could style himself Sir Charles Chaplin for the rest of his life . . . three more years.

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