Charlie Chaplin character jug produced in England circa 1940. Charles Spencer Chaplin (1889-1977) was an English comic actor, filmmaker, and composer who rose to fame in the era of silent film. He became a worldwide icon through his screen persona, the Tramp, and is considered one of the film industry's most important figures. His career spanned more than 75 years, from childhood in the Victorian era until a year before his death in 1977, and encompassed both adulation and controversy. His films are characterized by slapstick combined with pathos, typified in the Tramp's struggles against adversity. Note the handle and spout on the top of Charlie's hat.