Oona O'Neill

Actor, Film actor

1925 – 1991


Who was Oona O'Neill?

Oona, Lady Chaplin was the daughter of Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Eugene O'Neill and writer Agnes Boulton, and the fourth and last wife of British comic and filmmaker Sir Charles "Charlie" Chaplin.

O'Neill's parents divorced when she was four years old, after which she was raised by her mother in Point Pleasant, New Jersey and very rarely saw her father. She first came to the public eye during her time at the Brearley School in New York City in 1940–1942, when she was photographed attending fashionable nightclubs with her friends Carol Marcus and Gloria Vanderbilt. In 1942, she received a large amount of media attention after she was chosen as "The Number One Debutante" of the 1942–1943 season at the Stork Club. Soon after, she decided to pursue a career in acting and, after small roles in two stage productions, headed for Hollywood.

In Hollywood, O'Neill was introduced to Chaplin, who considered her for a film role. The film was never made, but O'Neill and Chaplin began a romantic relationship and married in June 1943, a month after she had turned eighteen. The 36-year age gap between them caused a scandal, and severed O'Neill's relationship with her father, who had already strongly disapproved of her wish to become an actress. Following the marriage, O'Neill gave up her career plans. She and Chaplin had eight children together and remained married until his death in 1977. The first decade of their marriage was spent living in Beverly Hills, but after Chaplin's re-entry permit was canceled during a voyage to London in 1952, they moved to Manoir de Ban in the Swiss village of Corsier-sur-Vevey. In 1954, O'Neill gave up her American citizenship and became a British citizen.

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May 14, 1925
Warwick Parish
Also known as
  • Lady Chaplin
  • Oona Chaplin
  • Oona, Lady Chaplin
  • Oona
  • Oona O'Neill Chaplin
  • Bermuda
  • United Kingdom
  • Brearley School
Sep 27, 1991

on July 23, 2013


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