Charlie Chaplin Death Anniversary: Here's why the iconic comedian's mortal remains were stolen

Charlie Chaplin Death Anniversary: Here's why the iconic comedian's mortal remains were stolen

It has been 45 years since he passed, and the vaccum he left is largely felt even today. Chaplin's coffin was stolen two months after he passed by two refugees.

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Saturday, December 24, 2022, 03:39 PM IST
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Charlie Chaplin | IMDb

Every time one speaks of Charlie Chaplin, the image that strikingly comes to ones mind is that of a tall, lanky man dressed in a suit with his small mustache, hat, and walking stick.

Chaplin, a legendary comedian, made gave everybody a bellyful laugh with his slapstick comedy and undoubtedly reigns the title of being one of he finest.

During his career, which lasted for nearly eight decades, Chaplin gave many blockbuster performances inculding the classic The Great Dictator [a satire on Adolf Hitler].

As the world celebrates Christmas merrily, a part of people's being, especially Chaplin's followers, also remember the comedian on hi death anniversary. He unexpectedly passed away after suffering a stroke in his sleep at the age of 88 on December 25, 1977.

It has been 45 years since he passed, and the vaccum he left is largely felt even today. There's one story that is attached with his death that shocked everyone back in the day and still does. Chaplin's coffin was stolen two months after he passed.

Here's what had happened:

Chaplin, at the time of his death, was living in exile in Swiss village Corsier-sur-Vevey wherein a small and private Anglican funeral service was held in accordance with his wishes on December 27.

However, the villagers were shook when they learnt two months later that his grave had been dug up and mortal remains were carted away.

Chaplin's wife Oona and her attorney had received approximately 27 phone calls over the course of few months from those who had stolen his coffin demanding the equivalent of $600,000 in exchange of his mortal remains,

Police had been keeping an eye on 200 phone booths nearby and tapping Oona's phone lines to apprehend the thieves.

Despite the tough situation, Oona did not falter and maintained that she will never pay the ransom and that Charlie himself would have found it silly.

In the subsequent year, on May 16, the cops arrested a Polish refugee Roman Wardas who was 25 at the time and later on his accomplice Gantscho Ganev, another refugee. They during investigation relented and told the police they had committed the crime to get out of their financial trouble and that they never intended to hurt Chaplin's remains.

Both Wardas and Ganev were found guilty of grave robbery and attempted extortion in December of that same year. Reportedly, the two felt genuine regret and they even wrote Oona a letter to that effect. I

In the end, she decided to forgive them and move on from this terrible experience. Remains of Chaplin were reburied at the neighbourhood cemetery, but this time they were enclosed by reinforced concrete.

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