Friday, 17 February 2012


 MYSTERY?  REALLY! Check Adolph Hitler's origins, birth and real name!

Mystery of Charlie Chaplin's birth that baffled MI5 agents

Charlie Chaplin in 1921Despite the best efforts of MI5 its secret agents were unable to find out where Charlie Chaplin was born, it was revealed today.

The star of silent cinema was investigated after US officials suspected he might be a security risk and asked their British counterparts to look into his background.

Suspicions were raised after an informant told the FBI that the star of 'The Great Dictator' had donated $1,000 (approximately £8,380 in today's money) to the Communist Party. At the time there were extensive fears in the US over the threat posed by Communism.

Chaplin had even been privately denounced as “one of Hollywood’s parlour Bolsheviks” by J Edgar Hoover, the head of the FBI.

A newspaper cutting from 1952 Friday's documents from the National Archives show that in 1952 the FBI thought that the entertainer's real name was in fact Israel Thornstein and this led to secret agents delving into his background.

The actor always maintained he was born in Walworth, Central London on 16 April 1885, but MI5 looked into claims that he may have been born in Fontainebleau, France, after failing to find records of him under the names Chaplin, Thornstein or Harley (his mother’s stage name).

Despite concluding in January 1953 “that there are no reliable grounds for regarding him as a security risk,” MI5 continued lines of inquiry for at least another five years - collating a vast amount of newspaper clippings on his whereabouts in the process.

MI5 appeared to finally put the investigation to bed in 1958, stating: “It may be that Chaplin is a communist sympathiser but on the information before us he would appear to be no more than a ‘progressive’ or radical.”

However the origins of Chaplin’s birth still remain shrouded in mystery. The issue came to the fore again last February through the discovery of a letter which appeared to indicate he may have been born into a gypsy family in the West Midlands.

[See also: The Iron Lady: Thatcher offered to buy own iron and linen over expenses fears]

The letter, discovered in the locked drawer of a desk Chaplin owned, was sent by a man named Jack Hill who claimed that the actor was born in a caravan that “belonged to the Gypsy Queen”.

It read: “You were born on the Black Patch in Smethwick near Birmingham.”

Where was Charlie Chaplin born? (PA)

Charlie Chaplin mystery deepens

Not even the combined forces of MI5 and the FBI could track down the Little Tramp's hidden birthplace. Radical

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