Charlie Chaplin and Edna Purviance Dates and Events Chart
A list of years about Edna and Charlie
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Update May 2015: Due to the fact I am currently working on Edna's biography, I will not be updating this page until the book is finished. Thank you for visiting! I will keep this page up. - L

Early Years
April 16, 1889
Birth: Charles Spencer Chaplin - East Lane, Walworth, London, England
Parents - Charles Spencer and Hannah Chaplin

During 1894 Chaplin reports his first time on stage. His mother’s voice failed during a performance and the young Charlie sang ‘E Dunno Where E Are’ in her place. Canteen, Aldershot, England. (Hannah's stage name: Lily Harley)

October 21, 1895

Birth: Olga Edna Purviance - Paradise Valley, Nevada
Parents - Madison Gates and Louise Wright Purviance
August 1898
Charlie, Sydney and Hannah (their mother) were admitted to Lambeth Workhouse.

During this same time, Edna lived in Paradise Valley, Nevada with her two sisters, Myrtle and Bessie. The family owned their home in Paradise since 1886.

In September 1898, Madison Purviance would visit Lovelock, Nevada. He was on a return trip from Reno, Nevada where Bessie was attending her first year in college.

December 1898 April 1901

Charlie Chaplin performs with ‘The Eight Lancashire Lads’.

December 1898

Edna Purviance family move to Lovelock, Nevada.

January 1899

Madison and Louise worked on re-opening The Singer Hotel. By the first part of February they officially opened. The family left their rental house and moved to their new home in the hotel.

First Performances

April 1900

Edna Purviance is mentioned in the Lovelock Tribune singing with a small group for her Easter Program at church.


Charles Chaplin Senior dies.

Charlie finished his tour with ‘The Eight Lancashire Lads’

In Lovelock, Myrtle, Bessie and Louise were all involved performing in a Lovelock play that was well received by the audience.


Edna Purviance's parents, Madison and Louise, divorce in the fall of 1902. They lived in Winnemucca, Nevada during this time with the Brown family.

1903 – 1906

Chaplin tours with London stage company for ‘Sherlock Holmes’
Chaplin plays the part of Billy
1904 Edna's mother is married to Robert Nurnberger in San Francisco, California. Robert's family is from the bay area, but Robert lived in Nevada for several years where he ran a well drilling and plumbing business.

1900 – 1912

Edna Purviance performs at various local events connected with church, school and a local theatre company. (More later)

Edna studied piano and became known for her playing in Humboldt County. She preferred the classics in her youth.

1906 – 1907

Chaplin Tours with ‘Casey’s Court Circus’ in the UK

Karno and Leaving for San Francisco

1908 – 1913

Chaplin joins ‘Fred Karno Company’ after his brother Sydney Chaplin introduces Charlie to Fred Karno. Sydney was the more popular performer in England.

1910 – 1913

Charlie Chaplin travels in two separate tours across America with Karno. (Five complete trips across America) Chaplin is successful during these tour and mentioned in local newspapers for his performance.

Shows performed during the two years were ‘The Wow Wows’, ‘A Night in an English Music Hall’, and ‘Night in a London Club’. Each show ran about 30 minutes.

In general, the company gave three shows a day (one afternoon and two evening) seven days a week. Somes times it could be a few weeks before the company would see a few days off.

Keystone spotted Chaplin during one of the east coast performances.

During Chaplin's September 1913 play dates in Portland, Oregon, Chaplin signs the final contract with Keystone Pictures.

Chaplin finishes the American Karno Tour before heading to Keystone Film Company.

August 1913 Edna Purviance and her mother, Louise Nurnberger, leave for a month vacation in the San Francisco area. Edna stays in the bay area to go to business school, while Louise returns back to Lovelock, Nevada.

October 1913

Charlie Chaplin is in San Francisco, and gives his last bay area stage performance of ‘The Wow Wow’s'. Sid Grauman ran The Empress Theatre Chaplin performed. (Edna was in business school in the bay area at this time.)

November 29, 1913 - Sat.

Chaplin gives his final performance for Karno at the Empress Theatre in Kansas City. He leaves for Los Angeles to start his contract with Keystone.

Keystone Studio


January to early December, Chaplin stars and becomes a director of his own films at Keystone.

First film Chaplin was in: 'Making a Living'.

First film released that Chaplin appeared as the tramp: 'Kid Auto Races in Venice'

First released film he directed: 'Twenty Minutes of Love'

Mack Sennett’s directed ‘Tillie Puncture Romance’. It is the first feature length comedy made and a hit for Keystone and Charles Chaplin.
In November, Chaplin leaves Keystone after signing with Essanay Studios for a salary of $1250 per week.
In late December and early Januray, Chaplin works on his first Essanay film ‘His New Job’ at the Chicago studio. Gloria Swanson has a bit role in the film as a secretary.
In the San Francisco area, Edna Purviance returned home to spend the 1914 Christmas holidays with her family and friends in Nevada.

Essanay Studio


Mid-January Chaplin finishes his new job and leaves for Niles, California Essanay Studios, mainly for better weather and studio conditions.
January - Chaplin is reported in the San Francisco area checking out the shows and even taking time to see ‘Tillie’s Puncture Romance’.
By the end of January, Edna Purviance tests at Niles and signed as Chaplin’s new leading lady.
Edna Purviance is in her first film ‘His Night Out’. She was in films made in the Niles area, including ‘A Jitney Elopement’ (filmed in San Francisco and Golden Gate Park) and ‘The Tramp’ filmed near Niles.
Edna Purviance leaves with the Chaplin Stock Company to Los Angeles in April
'By the Sea' is Edna’s first Los Angeles film followed by: ‘Work’, ‘A Woman’. ‘The Bank’, ‘Shanghaied’, ‘A Night in the Show’, ‘Carmen’ and ‘Police’.

‘A Night in the Show’ was a take on Chaplin’s Karno stage show ‘A Night at a English Music Hall’)

Mutual Films and return to Lovelock


January through February the company takes a break after finishing the Essanay contract.

Chaplin travels to New York to sign the Mutual deal, while Edna Purviance returns home to Nevada.

February 1916, Chaplin signs with Mutual for $10,000 per week, with a $150,000 signing bonus. At the time, the largest wage ever paid.
In March Lone Star Studio opens.

‘The Floorwalker’ was Chaplin’s first film for Mutual. Edna had a minor role as a secretary.

1916 – 1917

Chaplin directed Edna in eleven films for Mutual. The only film that Edna did not appear in was ‘One A.M.’ Chaplin starred in this film alone, with the exception of Albert Austin as a cab driver in the beginning.

(Albert Austin was a former player with Karno and toured with Chaplin during the American Karno Tour.)
The Mutual films were Chaplin’s happiest time in work. (See the Chaplin Film List)

First National Films


Chaplin signs million-dollar contact with First National in June. Sydney Chaplin helped Charlie get deal.
Chaplin and Edna Purviance, and others, take a trip to Hawaii after the filming of ‘The Adventurer’.

Chaplin returns to Los Angeles and started building his own studio in October.
Charlie and Edna's relationship saw rocky moments, but became distance during the early months of the First National contract, but they continued their working relationship and friendship.


Chaplin Studio opens in January. An open house is held for the public. It was the only public open house Chaplin had at the studio.

Chaplin creates a film called 'How to Make Movies'. It was never released. Available in the Chaplin collections.
Edna begins work on ‘A Dog’s Life’.

It was the first film Charlie’s brother Sydney Chaplin play in with Chaplin.

Edna played a girl finding work as a singer and dance hall girl.
‘Shoulder Arms’ is the second film. It became the first war comedy and was a big success.

Chaplin married Mildred Harris in October.
Edna continues to work for Chaplin.


‘Sunnyside’. Not a popular film, but an interesting one. Some good Edna and Charlie scenes as Charlie tries to be the 'well dressed' boyfriend to Edna.

‘A Day's Pleasure’ also was released in 1919. A quick two-reeler to make First National Films happy, while Chaplin worked on 'The Kid'.

Edna plays Charlie's wife and Jackie Coogan in one of the two children the in film. This was Coogan's first appearance on film.
Charles Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford and others, create United Artists.

Sydney Chaplin becomes Edna's agent, but the contact is short lived.


Chaplin and Harris divorce in August. They had one son who died a few days after birth in 1919.
‘The Kid’, Chaplin’s first full-length feature. Made Jackie Coogan a child star.

Coogan continued to make films during the 1920’s. Even had his own line of children clothing.

'The Kid' also noted for Lita Grey (real name - Lillita McMurray) first film appearances as the flirting angel.

Edna Purviance played the role of a out-of-wedlock mother who leaves her child in a car parked in front of a wealthy home during a moment of despair. She soon returns to find the car and child gone...
The 1921 released version of this film is only in The First National Collection edited by David Shepard. This includes scenes about Edna and the child's father played by Carl Miller that explain more about the story of the parents.

The Shepard version is out of print and available only used. A few new copies maybe still available, but are rare.

Chaplin’s re-edited 1970's version is in the current DVD ‘The Chaplin Collection Volume Two’ or 'Special 2-Disc Set'. This re-edited version removed nearly all the scenes about the mother and leaves only one scene about the father.


‘Idle Class’ is released.

Edna plays the wife thinking of leaving her husband because of his drinking problem. Charlie plays two roles, as Edna's husband and the tramp, who happens to look like Edna's husband. The two men meet at the Mask ball and is confused by Edna.

Edna rides a horse in this film. In Lovelock she had her own horse and enjoyed riding.

Starts work on ‘Pay Day’, but suddenly stops as Chaplin decides to makes his first trip back to London since leaving England in the fall of 1912 for the American Karno Tour #2.


Edna Purviance lived at Alvarado Court in building 402A, when Paramount film director, William Desmond Taylor , was killed.

Taylor lived in apartment 404B. This was a separate building east of Edna's apartment. Edna was reported home recovering from an illness when the shooting occured.

‘Pay Day’ is released. Chaplin’s last two-reel film. Edna had a small role as the bosses daughter. Great scenes of Chaplin stacking bricks, getting his fair pay and trying to get a ride home.
‘The Pilgrim’ is made and released.

‘Pay Day’ and ‘The Pilgrim’ included Sydney Chaplin. ‘The Pilgrim’ was the last film Edna and Charlie co-starred together. It was Sydney’s last film on screen with his brother Charlie. It was also the last First National film.

United Artists


‘A Woman of Paris’, drama. Chaplin’s first United Artists Film.

Starring Edna Purviance as 'Marie St Clair' and Adophe Menjou as 'Pierre Revel'.

Chaplin wrote and directed. He appeared in one very brief scene as a train porter. Film was widely acclaimed.

Edna was at the top of her career and Adophe Menjou became a star.
Edna Purviance’s mother leases her Lovelock home and business. She moves in with Edna in Los Angeles.
Edna is mentioned in the papers to star in Chaplin’s next film about a Alaska gold rush.

Chaplin Studio
1924 January 1 - Edna Purviance and Mabel Normand were in Courtland Dines apartment when Normand's chauffeur, Horace Greer, shot Dines. Dines did not died, but the event haunted Mabel's and Edna's careers and life. The event would always be attached to Edna to her death.
Upset after the event, Chaplin shows his support behind his leading lady and said Edna would stay under Chaplin Studio.
With Edna nearing 30-years-old and not fitting the profile Chaplin felt he needed for his next picture, Charlie announces his new leading lady, Lita Grey, for his latest picture 'The Gold Rush'.
Edna spends more time with family and close friends. She remained under contract with the Chaplin Studio.
Edna settles into her own home in Los Angeles, leaving the apartment she lived in for many years.
Chaplin married Lita Grey.
Near the holidays, Georgia Hale is selected as Leading Lady.


Edna spends most of the year with her family and friends, settling into her new Los Angeles home.
Charlie Chaplin Jr. was born.
'The Gold Rush' was released with leading lady Georgia Hale.


Edna had the female lead in 'Sea Gulls'. Work on the film took most of the first half of 1926. The Chaplin Studio funded the film.
Charlie starts work on 'The Circus'.
Sydney Chaplin is born.
Edna did spend more time with her family after the filming of 'Sea Gulls'.
Lita Grey leaves Chaplin's home with their kids Sydney and Charlie.

Special credit to David Robinson's 'Chaplin: His Life and Art', Silent Movies - Taylorology,
Edna Purviance Research Collection. Page created by
Page started: 2004
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