Oona Chaplin was born on this day in 1926

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OONA (OO-nuh)

Daughter of Eugene O’Neil and wife of Charlie Chaplin
Common clues: Mrs. Chaplin; A Chaplin; One of the O'Neills; Charlie's wife; Eugene O'Neill's daughter; The last Mrs. Chaplin; Wife of “The Little Tramp”
Crossword puzzle frequency: 5 times a year
Illumination – The Chaplin-family

Oona O'Neill, Lady Chaplin (May 13, 1926 – September 27, 1991) was the daughter of Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Eugene O'Neill and his second wife, writer Agnes Boulton, and the fourth wife of actor Charlie Chaplin.

She had romantic relationships with satirical cartoonist Peter Arno and with the then 22-year-old author J. D. Salinger. To Salinger's disappointment, the relationship ended when she met British-born actor/director/producer Charlie Chaplin, after having been suggested for a role in his never-completed film Shadow and Substance.

Chaplin later wrote that he was immediately smitten by Oona's "luminous beauty" and "sequestered charm", and despite a thirty-six-year age difference, they were married in Carpinteria, California, on June 16, 1943, when he was fifty-four and she was eighteen.

For his part, Eugene O'Neill was so incensed at the union (he had refused to give his consent so that Oona could marry Chaplin before her eighteenth birthday), that he cut her out of his life, refusing all attempts by her at a reconciliation. According to Scovell, playwright Clifford Odets "saw something vindictive in O'Neill's behaviour and thought that O'Neill could not forgive Oona perhaps because he had abandoned her ..."

Chaplin and Oona had eight children: three sons, Michael (born in 1946), Eugene (born in 1953), and Christoper (born in 1962, when Chaplin was seventy-three), and five daughters, actress Geraldine Chaplin (born in 1944), Josie (born in 1949), Vicky (born in 1951), Jane (born in 1957), and Annie (born in 1959). Despite the size of their family, the temperamental Chaplin always insisted on being put first in Oona's life, and he was – often to the detriment of their children.

In March, 1975 – three years after briefly returning to the United States to receive a special Academy Award – Chaplin was knighted. He died on Christmas Day, 1977, at the age of eighty-eight.

In the years immediately following Chaplin's death, Oona lived in New York and attempted to create a life of her own. But after years of being continually on call to a demanding husband (her tasks were once described as being akin to those of a "duty nurse"), Oona – who had given up the promise of an acting career at the age of eighteen - returned to Switzerland and became more and more reclusive. She increasingly sought oblivion in the O'Neill "family curse" of alcoholism, and died of pancreatic cancer on September 7, 1991, at the age of 66.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Oona Chaplin".