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In life, Charlie Chaplin was universally famous for his unparalleled slapstick adventures on the silver screen.  He was equally infamous for an extremely colorful and vigorous personal life which featured countless flapper lovers.  However, it is perhaps less well known that his zany misadventures continued beyond the grave. 

After knowing every manner of success, Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin died at the ripe age of 88 on Christmas Day 1977.  He was interred in Corsier-Sur-Vevey Cemetery, in Vaud, Switzerland at a funeral held by his widow the Lady Oona Chaplin (née O’Neill) whom he had married when he was 54 and she was 18.

Chaplin's Stolen Coffin

A few months after the funeral, two eastern European mechanics dug up Chaplin’s coffin—along with his body—and made off with both.  After sending a picture of the coffin to his widow, the villains called her to demand a ₤400,000 ransom and to threaten her children.  However they were no match for Lady Oona, who angrily stated, “Charlie would have thought it ridiculous.”  She kept the grave robbers tied up in phony price negotiations while the Swiss police department zeroed in on the pay phone they were calling from.   The two were apprehended in Lausanne, Switzerland, and, on May 17th, 1978, they led the police to where they had reburied the actor’s remains.

Lausanne Switzerland is unbelievably beautiful.

Today Charlie Chaplin is once again peacefully interred in his grave at Corsier-Sur-Vevey.  However his coffin is covered by a 1.8 meter concrete plug in order to prevent him from straying.  Thanks to the grave robbers, even when the zombie apocalypse comes, we will never again relive the hijinks of the little tramp.

This is a Look of Silent Horror


Ye Olde Ferrebeekeeper Archives

September 2010