Paris: Josephine Chaplin, the daughter of comedy legend Charlie Chaplin and his fourth wife, Oona O’Neill, passed away on July 13 in Paris, her family announced on Friday. She was 74 years old.
Chaplin was an actress who appeared in several films, including Pier Paolo Pasolini’s The Canterbury Tales (1972), where she played May, the adulterous wife of the elderly Sir January. She also starred in Menahem Golan’s Escape to the Sun (1972), L’Odeur des fauves (1972), Jack the Ripper (1976), The Bay Boy (1984), and Poulet au Vinaigre (1985).
She made her screen debut at the age of three in Limelight (1952), a film written, directed by and starring her father. She also had a cameo in his A Countess from Hong Kong (1967). She mostly worked in French cinema, such as Nuits Rouges (1974), À l’ombre d’un été (1976) and Les enquêtes du commissaire Maigret (1987).
She was born in Santa Monica, California, in March 1949, as the sixth of 11 children fathered by Charlie Chaplin and the third of eight with Oona O’Neill, an actress and the daughter of Nobel laureate playwright Eugene O’Neill. The couple married in 1943, despite their 35-year age difference, and remained together until Charlie Chaplin’s death in 1977.
Josephine Chaplin managed the Chaplin family office in Paris and sponsored a statue of her father in Waterville, Ireland. She was also involved in a bizarre extortion plot after her father’s death when two men stole his body and coffin and demanded a ransom. The family refused to pay and the remains were recovered 11 weeks later.
She was married twice, to Greek businessman Nicholas Sistovaris and French archaeologist Jean-Claude Gardin. She also lived with French actor Maurice Ronet, with whom she had a son, Julien. She had two other sons, Charly and Arthur.
She is survived by her brothers Michael, Eugene, and Christopher; sisters Geraldine, Victoria, Jane, and Annette; and her sons. Her funeral will take place in Paris “in the intimacy of the family”.