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#626 2019-11-05 00:05:40

ganesh
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Re: crème de la crème

592) Jarkko Oikarinen

Jarkko Oikarinen (born 16 August 1967) is a Finnish IT professional and the inventor of the first Internet chat network, called Internet Relay Chat (IRC), where he is known as WiZ.

Biography and career

Oikarinen was born in Kuusamo. While working at the University of Oulu in August 1988, he wrote the first IRC server and client programs, which he produced to replace the MUT (MultiUser Talk) program on the Finnish BBS OuluBox. Using the Bitnet Relay chat system as inspiration, Oikarinen continued to develop IRC over the next four years, receiving assistance from Darren Reed in co-authoring the IRC Protocol. In 1997, his development of IRC earned Oikarinen a Dvorak Award for Personal Achievement—Outstanding Global Interactive Personal Communications System; in 2005, the Millennium Technology Prize Foundation, a Finnish public-private partnership, honored him with one of three Special Recognition Awards.

He started working for medical image processing in 1990 in Oulu University Hospital, developing research software for neurosurgical workstation, and between 1993 and 1996 he worked for Elekta in Stockholm, Sweden and Grenoble, France putting the research into commercial products marketed by Elekta. In 1997 he returned to Oulu University Hospital to finish his Ph.D. as Joint Assistant Professor / Research Engineer, receiving the Ph.D. from the University of Oulu in 1999, in areas of computer graphics and medical imaging. During these years he focused on telemedicine, volume rendering, signal processing and computed axial tomography. Once finishing his Ph.D., he has held the positions of Chief Software Architect of Add2Phone Oy (Helsinki, Finland), Head of R&D in Capricode (Oulu, Finland) and General Manager in Nokia.

He is also partner and chief software architect at an electronic games developer called Numeric Garden (Espoo, Finland).

Oikarinen and his wife, Kaija-Leena, were married in 1996 and have three children: Kasper, Matleena, and Marjaana.

Oikarinen has been working for Google since 2011, initially in Stockholm, Sweden, and since 2016 in Kirkland, Washington. He is working on the Google Hangouts and Google Meet projects.

Jarkko-Oikarinen.jpg


It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge - Enrico Fermi. 

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.

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#627 2019-11-07 00:21:57

ganesh
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Re: crème de la crème

593) Morita Akio

Morita Akio, (born Jan. 26, 1921, Nagoya, Japan—died Oct. 3, 1999, Tokyo), Japanese businessman who was cofounder, chief executive officer (from 1971), and chairman of the board (from 1976 through 1994) of Sony Corporation, world-renowned manufacturer of consumer electronics products.

Morita came from a family with a long tradition of sake brewing and was expected to follow in the family business. Instead he showed an early interest in technology, eventually attending Ōsaka Imperial University and graduating in 1944 with a degree in physics. During World War II he was assigned to the Air Armoury at Yokosuka, where he met Ibuka Masaru, industry’s representative on the Wartime Research Committee. Together the two men worked to develop thermal guidance systems and night-vision devices.

After the war Morita worked with Ibuka to establish a communications laboratory in Tokyo. In 1946 they cofounded Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corporation (Tōkyō Tsūshin Kōgyō), renamed Sony Corporation in 1958. Morita’s major concerns were the financial and business matters; he was responsible for marketing Sony products worldwide. Some of Morita and Ibuka’s product successes include early consumer versions of the tape recorder (1950; Ibuka had developed magnetic recording tape a year earlier), the transistorized radio (1955), and the “pocket-sized” transistor radio (1957).

Morita had a corporate vision that was global in scope. Indeed, the name Sony was chosen after the founders searched dictionaries trying to find a name that would be pronounceable in any language. (Sony was derived from the Latin sonus, “sound.”) In 1961, under Morita’s direction, Sony became the first Japanese company to sell its shares on the New York Stock Exchange. In addition, he moved himself and his family to the United States for a year in 1963 in order to better understand American business practices and American ways of thinking. Once Sony products began to sell well internationally, Morita opened factories in the United States and Europe in addition to those in Japan.

With Ibuka’s innovative consumer products and Morita’s business savvy, Sony became a major competitor in the electronics industry. Morita pioneered the concept of branding, making sure that the name Sony was prominent on all products and refusing to sell products to other businesses to be packaged under their labels. The corporation also used American-style advertising to great advantage. Frequently, however, Morita helped Sony to prosper by recognizing the potential in new products. It was at Morita’s urging that the Sony Walkman portable tape player was developed and marketed (company insiders doubted that there was enough consumer demand for the device). The Walkman was one of Sony’s most popular consumer products in the 1980s and ’90s.

Not all decisions made by Morita were so successful; the belief and determination he invested in winning products were sometimes invested in missteps as well. For instance, Sony was one of the first to release videocassette recorders (VCRs) for home use, but Sony’s version, Betamax (Beta), was soon overwhelmed by the more popular VHS version; it was some time before Morita was willing to allow Sony to shift to the industry standard of VHS. After the Beta problem, however, Morita concluded that Sony must forge partnerships with other electronics firms. Thus, when Sony developed the CD storage disk that would eventually revolutionize computer data storage and the music industry, it was done in partnership with the Dutch firm Philips Electronics NV to ensure that an industry standard for the product was achieved from the start.

As Sony’s stature grew, so did Morita’s in the international business community. He sat on a number of boards representing Japanese business. He was vice-chairman of the Keidanren (Japanese Federation of Economic Organizations), a group that has a powerful influence over decisions made by the Japanese government concerning business and economics. Morita also was a longtime member of the “Wise Men” (as the eight-member Japan–U.S. Economic Relations Group is informally called).

Morita was closely involved in the management of the Sony company until his retirement, owing to ill health, in 1994. His autobiography, Made in Japan: Akio Morita and Sony, was published in 1986.

moritaakio.jpg


It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge - Enrico Fermi. 

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.

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#628 2019-11-09 00:14:47

ganesh
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Re: crème de la crème

594) Adolphe Quetelet

Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quetelet (22 February 1796 – 17 February 1874 was a Belgian astronomer, mathematician, statistician and sociologist. He founded and directed the Brussels Observatory and was influential in introducing statistical methods to the social sciences. His name is sometimes spelled with an accent as Quételet. He founded the science of anthropometry and developed the body mass index scale, originally called the Quetelet Index.

Biography

Adolphe was born in Ghent (which, at the time was a part of the new French Republic). He was the son of François-Augustin-Jacques-Henri Quetelet, a Frenchman and Anne Françoise Vandervelde, a Flemish woman. His father was born at Ham, Picardy, and being of a somewhat adventurous spirit, he crossed the English Channel and became both a British citizen and the secretary of a Scottish nobleman. In that capacity, he traveled with his employer on the Continent, particularly spending time in Italy. At about 31, he settled in Ghent and was employed by the city, where Adolphe was born, the fifth of nine children, several of whom died in childhood.

Francois died when Adolphe was only seven years old. Adolphe studied at the Ghent Lycée, where he afterwards started teaching mathematics in 1815 at the age of 19. In 1819, he moved to the Athenaeum in Brussels and in the same year he completed his dissertation (De quibusdam locis geometricis, necnon de curva focal – Of some new properties of the focal distance and some other curves).

Quetelet received a doctorate in mathematics in 1819 from the University of Ghent. Shortly thereafter, the young man set out to convince government officials and private donors to build an astronomical observatory in Brussels; he succeeded in 1828. He became a member of the Royal Academy in 1820. He lectured at the museum for sciences and letters and at the Belgian Military School. In 1825, he became correspondent of the Royal Institute of the Netherlands, in 1827 he became member. From 1841 to 1851, he was supernumerary associate in the Institute, and when it became Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences he became foreign member. In 1850, he was elected a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

Quetelet also founded several statistical journals and societies, and was especially interested in creating international cooperation among statisticians. He encouraged the creation of a statistical section of the British Association for the Advancement of Science (BA), which later became the Royal Statistical Society, of which he became the first overseas member.

In 1855, Quetelet suffered from apoplexy, which diminished but did not end his scientific activity.

He died in Brussels on 17 February 1874, and is buried in the Brussels Cemetery.

Family

In 1825, he married Cécile-Virginie Curtet.

Work

His scientific research encompassed a wide range of different scientific disciplines: meteorology, astronomy, mathematics, statistics, demography, sociology, criminology and history of science. He made significant contributions to scientific development, but he also wrote several monographs directed to the general public. He founded the Royal Observatory of Belgium, founded or co-founded several national and international statistical societies and scientific journals, and presided over the first series of the International Statistical Congresses. Quetelet was a liberal and an anticlerical, but not an atheist or materialist nor a socialist.

Social physics

The new science of probability and statistics was mainly used in astronomy at the time, where it was essential to account for measurement errors around means. This was done using the method of least squares. Quetelet was among the first to apply statistics to social science, planning what he called "social physics". He was keenly aware of the overwhelming complexity of social phenomena, and the many variables that needed measurement. His goal was to understand the statistical laws underlying such phenomena as crime rates, marriage rates etc. He wanted to explain the values of these variables by other social factors. These ideas were rather controversial among other scientists at the time who held that it contradicted the concept of freedom of choice.

His most influential book was Sur l'homme et le développement de ses facultés, ou Essai de physique sociale, published in 1835 (In English translation, it is titled Treatise on Man, but a literal translation would be "On Man and the Development of his Faculties, or Essays on Social Physics"). In it, he outlines the project of a social physics and describes his concept of the "average man" (l'homme moyen) who is characterized by the mean values of measured variables that follow a normal distribution. He collected data about many such variables.

Quetelet's student Pierre François Verhulst developed the logistic function in the 1830s as a model of population growth; see Logistic function  History for details.

When Auguste Comte discovered that Quetelet had appropriated the term 'social physics', which Comte had originally introduced, Comte found it necessary to invent the term 'sociologie' (sociology) because he disagreed with Quetelet's notion that a theory of society could be derived from a collection of statistics.

Criminology

Quetelet was an influential figure in criminology. Along with Andre-Michel Guerry, he helped to establish the cartographic school and positivist schools of criminology which made extensive use of statistical techniques. Through statistical analysis, Quetelet gained insight into the relationships between crime and other social factors. Among his findings were strong relationships between age and crime, as well as gender and crime. Other influential factors he found included climate, poverty, education, and alcohol consumption, with his research findings published in Of the Development of the Propensity to Crime.

Anthropometry

In his 1835 text on social physics, in which he presented his theory of human variance around the average, with human traits being distributed according to a normal curve, he proposed that normal variation provided a basis for the idea that populations produce sufficient variation for artificial or natural selection to operate.
In terms of influence over later public health agendas, one of Quetelet's lasting legacies was the establishment of a simple measure for classifying people's weight relative to an ideal for their height. His proposal, the body mass index (or Quetelet index), has endured with minor variations to the present day. Anthropometric data is used in modern applications and referenced in the development of every consumer-based product.

Awards and honours

Quetelet was elected a Foreign Member of the Royal Society (ForMemRS) in 1839.

The asteroid 1239 Queteleta is named after him. The title of Quetelet professor at Columbia University is awarded in his name.

Quetelet_3.jpeg


It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge - Enrico Fermi. 

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.

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#629 2019-11-11 00:11:23

ganesh
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Registered: 2005-06-28
Posts: 29,076

Re: crème de la crème

595) Forrest Parry

Forrest Corry Parry (July 4, 1921 – December 31, 2005) was the IBM engineer who invented the Magnetic stripe card used for Credit cards and identification badges.

Parry was born in Cedar City, Utah to Edward H. Parry and Marguerite C. Parry. Forrest attended the Branch Agricultural College (BAC) now Southern Utah University, in Cedar City before entering the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md, in 1942. He graduated from the Naval Academy in June 1945. When the Korean War began in 1950, Parry served on the USS Walke as First Lieutenant and Damage Control Officer. After the Walke was hit by a torpedo or floating mine which killed 26 sailors and wounded 40, Parry was awarded a Bronze Star with Valor.

Career

After leaving the Navy in 1952, Parry went to work at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and married Dorothea Tillia. They raised five children. Parry left Livermore in 1954 to work for Dow Chemical and then at Unette Corporation, a small plastic packaging firm.

In May 1957, Parry began his 30-year career with IBM, mostly in Rochester, Minnesota. While at IBM, he developed devices and systems for high-speed printers, optical character readers, Universal Product Code (UPC) checkout systems, and an Advanced Optical Character Reader (AOCR) which reads addresses from mailed letters and reprints it as bar codes for easy resorting at smaller post offices that have simpler and cheaper sorting machines.

In 1960, while at IBM, Parry invented the magnetic stripe card for use by the U.S. Government. He had the idea of gluing short pieces of magnetic tape to each plastic card, but the glue warped the tape, making it unusable. When he returned home, Parry's wife Dorothea was using a flat iron to iron clothes. When he explained his inability to get the tape to "stick" to the plastic in a way that would work, she suggested that he use the iron to melt the stripe onto the card. He tried it and it worked. The heat of the iron was just high enough to bond the tape to the card. Magnetic stripes are now used on credit cards, debit cards, gift cards, stored-value cards, hotel keycards, and security identification badges.

forrest_parry.jpg


It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge - Enrico Fermi. 

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.

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#630 2019-11-13 00:18:59

ganesh
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Registered: 2005-06-28
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Re: crème de la crème

596) Petrache Poenaru

Petrache Poenaru (1799–1875) was a Romanian inventor of the Enlightenment era.

Poenaru, who had studied in Paris and Vienna and, later, completed his specialized studies in England, was a mathematician, physicist, engineer, inventor, teacher and organizer of the educational system, as well as a politician, agronomist, and zootechnologist, founder of the Philharmonic Society, the Botanical Gardens and the National Museum of Antiquities in Bucharest.

While a student in Paris, Petrache Poenaru invented the world's first fountain pen, an invention for which the French Government issued a patent on 25 May 1827.

Biography

He was born in 1799 in Băneşti, Vâlcea County. His uncle, Iordache Otetelişanu, was one of the promoters of an institutionalized educational system, in a time when a great part of the population was illiterate. Poenaru attended the secondary school Obedeanu in Craiova and worked as a copyist at the office of the bishop of Râmnicu Vâlcea. Later on, between 1820 and 1821, he taught Greek language at the Metropolitan School in Bucharest.

In 1821, the Revolution led by Tudor Vladimirescu began. At that time, Wallachia was under Turkish domination and was ruled by the Phanariots (Greeks originating from Constantinople and very loyal to the Sultan), who burdened the country with numerous taxes and an expensive and corrupt court. Tudor Vladimirescu gathered an army of Oltenian soldiers called panduri and moved towards Bucharest to overthrow them. He was joined by many and, among them, was the young Petrache Poenaru. During his first skirmish, he proved he didn’t have any fighting abilities and his comrades took him in front of the revolution’s leader, for punishment. But Vladimirescu was impressed by the young man’s educated spirit and sharp mind and made him his personal assistant. From this position, he elaborated the army’s manifesto, now considered one of the first Romanian newspapers.

Poenaru was lucky enough not to be around Tudor Vladimirescu when the leader was lured in a trap and assassinated, as he was sent in a diplomatic mission to advocate the Romanian cause to the representatives of the great powers, Russia, Austria or England. After news of Vladimirescu’s death spread, he took refuge in Sibiu.

When the political situation improved, he was able to earn a scholarship to study in Vienna, in 1822. There, he learnt about measuring tools and micrometers, unknown to the underdeveloped Romanian engineering field and discovered a great appetite for technical sciences, while also fervently studying Greek, Latin, French, Italian and English. In a letter sent to his family, he confessed that he thought the sweetest pleasure a man can experience is learning.

In 1824, the Wallachian ruler Grigore Ghica granted him another scholarship, which compelled Poenaru to return to the country after the studies ended and share his acquired knowledge as a teacher.

Poenaru's fountain pen

In 1826 he went to France and attended the École Polytechnique in Paris, where he studied geodesy and surveying. He was so busy taking notes and copying courses, that he invented a fountain pen that used a swan's quill as an ink reservoir. On 25 May 1827, the Manufacture Department of the French Ministry of the Interior registered Poenaru’s invention with the code number 3208 and the description ”plume portable sans fin, qui s’alimente elle-meme avec de l’ancre" ("never-ending portable pen, which recharges itself with ink").

index3.jpg


It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge - Enrico Fermi. 

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.

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#631 Yesterday 00:28:44

ganesh
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Re: crème de la crème

597) Charlie Chaplin

Charlie Chaplin, byname of Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin, (born April 16, 1889, London, England—died December 25, 1977, Corsier-sur-Vevey, Switzerland), British comedian, producer, writer, director, and composer who is widely regarded as the greatest comic artist of the screen and one of the most important figures in motion-picture history.

Early Life And Career

Chaplin was named after his father, a British music-hall entertainer. He spent his early childhood with his mother, the singer Hannah Hall, after she and his father separated, and he made his own stage debut at age five, filling in for his mother. The mentally unstable Hall was later confined to an asylum. Charlie and his half brother Sydney were sent to a series of bleak workhouses and residential schools.

Using his mother’s show-business contacts, Charlie became a professional entertainer in 1897 when he joined the Eight Lancashire Lads, a clog-dancing act. His subsequent stage credits include a small role in William Gillette’s Sherlock Holmes (1899) and a stint with the vaudeville act Casey’s Court Circus. In 1908 he joined the Fred Karno pantomime troupe, quickly rising to star status as The Drunk in the ensemble sketch A Night in an English Music Hall.

While touring America with the Karno company in 1913, Chaplin was signed to appear in Mack Sennett’s Keystone comedy films. Though his first Keystone one-reeler, Making a Living (1914), was not the failure that historians have claimed, Chaplin’s initial screen character, a mercenary dandy, did not show him to best advantage. Ordered by Sennett to come up with a more-workable screen image, Chaplin improvised an outfit consisting of a too-small coat, too-large pants, floppy shoes, and a battered derby. As a finishing touch, he pasted on a postage-stamp mustache and adopted a cane as an all-purpose prop. It was in his second Keystone film, Kid Auto Races at Venice (1914), that Chaplin’s immortal screen alter ego, “the Little Tramp,” was born.

In truth, Chaplin did not always portray a tramp; in many of his films his character was employed as a waiter, store clerk, stagehand, fireman, and the like. His character might be better described as the quintessential misfit—shunned by polite society, unlucky in love, jack-of-all-trades but master of none. He was also a survivor, forever leaving past sorrows behind, jauntily shuffling off to new adventures. The Tramp’s appeal was universal: audiences loved his cheekiness, his deflation of pomposity, his casual savagery, his unexpected gallantry, and his resilience in the face of adversity. Some historians have traced the Tramp’s origins to Chaplin’s math childhood, while others have suggested that the character had its roots in the motto of Chaplin’s mentor, Fred Karno: “Keep it wistful, gentlemen, keep it wistful.” Whatever the case, within months after his movie debut, Chaplin was the screen’s biggest star.

His 35 Keystone comedies can be regarded as the Tramp’s gestation period, during which a caricature became a character. The films improved steadily once Chaplin became his own director. In 1915 he left Sennett to accept a $1,250-weekly contract at Essanay Studios. It was there that he began to inject elements of pathos into his comedy, notably in such shorts as The Tramp (1915) and Burlesque on Carmen (1915). He moved on to an even more lucrative job ($670,000 per year) at the Mutual Company Film Corporation. There, during an 18-month period, he made the 12 two-reelers that many regard as his finest films, among them such gems as One A.M. (1916), The Rink (1916), The Vagabond (1916), and Easy Street (1917). It was then, in 1917, that Chaplin found himself attacked for the first (though hardly the last) time by the press. He was criticized for not enlisting to fight in World War I. To aid the war effort, Chaplin raised funds for the troops via bond drives.

In 1918 Chaplin jumped studios again, accepting a $1 million offer from the First National Film Corporation for eight shorts. That same year he married 16-year-old film extra Mildred Harris—the first in a procession of child brides. For his new studio he made shorts such as Shoulder Arms (1918) and The Pilgrim (1923) and his first starring feature, The Kid (1921), which starred the irresistible Jackie Coogan as the kid befriended and aided by the Little Tramp. Some have suggested that the increased dramatic content of those films is symptomatic of Chaplin’s efforts to justify the praise lavished upon him by the critical intelligentsia. A painstaking perfectionist, he began spending more and more time on the preparation and production of each film. In his personal life too, Chaplin was particular. Having divorced Mildred in 1921, Chaplin married in 1924 16-year-old Lillita MacMurray, who shortly would become known to the world as film star Lita Grey. (They would be noisily divorced in 1927.)

From 1923 through 1929 Chaplin made only three features: A Woman of Paris (1923), which he directed but did not star in (and his only drama); The Gold Rush (1925), widely regarded as his masterpiece; and The Circus (1928), an underrated film that may rank as his funniest. All three were released by United Artists, the company cofounded in 1919 by Chaplin, husband-and-wife superstars Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, and director D.W. Griffith. Of the three films, The Gold Rush is one of the most-memorable films of the silent era. Chaplin placed the Little Tramp in the epic setting of the Yukon, amid bears, snowstorms, and a fearsome prospector (Mack Swain); his love interest was a beautiful dance-hall queen (Georgia Hale). The scene in which the Tramp must eat his shoe to stay alive epitomizes the film’s blend of rich comedy and well-earned pathos.

The Sound Era: City Lights To Limelight

As the Little Tramp, Chaplin had mastered the subtle art of pantomime, and the advent of sound gave him cause for alarm. After much hesitation, he released his 1931 feature City Lights as a silent, despite the ubiquity of talkies after 1929. It was a sweet, unabashedly sentimental story in which the Little Tramp falls in love with a blind flower girl (Virginia Cherrill) and he vows to restore her sight. The musical score, the lone “sound” element the film offered, was composed by Chaplin, and he conducted its recording; no matter the lack of dialogue, it was a huge success.

In 1932 Chaplin began a relationship with young starlet Paulette Goddard. His next film, Modern Times (1936), was a hybrid, essentially a silent film with music, sound effects, and brief passages of dialogue. Chaplin also gave his Little Tramp a voice, as he performed a gibberish song. Chaplin played a nameless factory worker who has been dehumanized by the mindless task he has to perform—tightening bolts on parts that fly by on an assembly line; Goddard played “A Gamin,” the waif who comes under his wing. It was the last silent feature to come out of Hollywood, but audiences still turned out to see it. Most significantly, it was the Little Tramp’s final performance.

The Great Dictator (1940) was Chaplin’s most overt political satire and his first sound picture. Chaplin starred in a dual role as a nameless Jewish barber and as Adenoid Hynkel, Dictator of Tomania—a dead-on parody of German dictator Adolf Hitler, to whom Chaplin bore a remarkable physical resemblance. Goddard played Hannah, the barber’s Jewish friend, who flees Tomania after the barber is arrested and sent to a concentration camp, and Jack Oakie gave a hilarious impersonation of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini as Napaloni, Dictator of Bacteria. The japing tone of the picture’s lampooning was a movement away from Chaplin’s usual poetic approach; The Great Dictator was simply too bitter and too outraged to permit much in the way of gentle comedy. The film did well at the box office, and he received his only Academy Award nomination as best actor.

After making just three movies over a 10-year period, Chaplin would take seven more years before his next film. Problems in his personal life were again partly to blame. In 1942 he and Goddard divorced (despite likely never having officially married). In 1943 a paternity suit was brought against him by young would-be actress Joan Barry. That same year he married 18-year-old Oona O’Neill, daughter of playwright Eugene O’Neill; again he was accused of cradle robbing. In the Barry suit the courts ruled against Chaplin in 1944; he was named the father of Barry’s child, although he was cleared of the more serious charges of violating the Mann Act, which prohibited interstate transportation of women for “immoral purposes.”

His darkest comedy, Monsieur Verdoux, was released in 1947, and by then Chaplin was in the headlines again, as possibly being called before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) to testify about his relations with communists, especially exiled German composer Hanns Eisler. Chaplin starred in that “Comedy of Murders” (as Monsieur Verdoux was promoted) as Henri Verdoux, a happily married father and former bank clerk who becomes the scourge of 1930s Paris by romancing and then killing a series of rich widows and spinsters for their fortunes. (Chaplin’s character was based on French murderer Henri Landru, who was known as the Bluebeard of France when he went on his killing spree during the 1910s.) Monsieur Verdoux was an utter failure commercially upon its release—his first since A Woman of Paris 24 years earlier—and critical opinion was divided, although Chaplin’s screenplay was nominated for an Oscar. It is still difficult to determine whether Monsieur Verdoux would have been better received had he not been suffering from the attentions of HUAC. When Chaplin heard news that he would be summoned before the committee, he immediately accepted, saying, “I am not a communist. I am a peacemonger.” He planned a rerelease of Monsieur Verdoux in Washington, D.C., for the week Eisler was to testify before HUAC, and he invited the committee members to the premiere. However, HUAC chairman J. Parnell Roberts canceled Chaplin’s appearance and said he would not be a part of publicity for Monsieur Verdoux.

Chaplin took another five years to launch his next film, the melancholy Limelight (1952). He played Calvero, a music-hall idol whose day has passed, and British actress Claire Bloom (then 19) costarred as Terry, a ballet dancer whom Calvero saves from a suicide attempt; he shelters, encourages, and finally helps elevate her to the top of her profession, even as his own star dims and then blinks out. Chaplin’s half brother Sydney and his son Charlie, Jr., both had small parts, and silent comedy star Buster Keaton had a key role as a theatre pianist who watches Calvero expire. (Limelight would be given an Oscar for its score, to which Chaplin contributed, in 1973, after the film finally received the requisite release in Los Angeles.)

For Chaplin, Limelight’s release was further tainted by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service advising him (as he sailed on an ocean liner with Oona to the film’s premiere in London) that he would be denied reentry to the United States unless he was willing to answer charges “of a political nature and of moral turpitude.” The Chaplins continued on their way to England; she returned to the States to close out their business affairs, while he kept going, finally settling in Corsier-sur-Vevey, Switzerland, where he and Oona would live for the rest of their lives. He liquidated his interest in United Artists.

Final Works: A King In New York And A Countess From Hong Kong

Chaplin made use of his own experiences as a victim of McCarthyism in his next film, the British-made A King in New York (1957). Satirizing the very witch hunts that had sent him into self-imposed exile, Chaplin fashioned a diatribe against the foibles of 1950s America that only occasionally managed to nail its target. (Ironically, the film was not released in the United States until 1973.)

While an anthology titled The Chaplin Revue (comprising the shorts A Dog’s Life [1918], Shoulder Arms [1918], and The Pilgrim [1923]) was being given a theatrical release in the United States in 1959, Chaplin began work on his memoirs. My Autobiography (1964) provided a great deal of information about Chaplin’s childhood and rise to stardom but was less forthcoming about his work and adult life. Nevertheless, the warm reception it was accorded made another film project viable.

The passing of a full decade since A King in New York and the radical change in the political climate of the United States ensured that there was much anticipation surrounding A Countess from Hong Kong (1967), a British-made romantic comedy starring Marlon Brando and Sophia Loren, the biggest names he had worked with since he himself was a premier box-office draw. However, it proved to be a critical and commercial disappointment.

In his last years Chaplin was accorded many of the honours that had been withheld from him for so long. In 1972 he returned to the United States for the first time in 20 years to accept a special Academy Award for “the incalculable effect he has had on making motion pictures the art form of this century.” It was a bittersweet homecoming. Chaplin had come to deplore the United States, but he was visibly and deeply moved by the 12-minute standing ovation he received at the Oscar ceremonies. As Alistair Cooke described the events,

He was very old and trembly and groping through the thickening fog of memory for a few simple sentences. A senile, harmless doll, he was now—as the song says—“easy to love,” absolutely safe to admire.

Chaplin made one of his final public appearances in 1975, when he was knighted. Several months after his death, his body was briefly kidnapped from a Swiss cemetery by a pair of bungling thieves—a macabre coda that Chaplin might have concocted for one of his own two-reelers.

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It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge - Enrico Fermi. 

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.

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