Posts Tagged ‘virginia cherrill’

Virginia Cherrill’s Birthday

Saturday, April 12th, 2008

Happy 100th Birthday

Virginia Cherrill!

 

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April 12, 1908, Carthage, Illinois
November 14, 1996, Santa Barbara, California

 

by Allan R. Ellenberger

 

Virginia Cherrill is best known as the beautiful, blind flower girl in the classic Charlie Chaplin silent film City Lights (1931). Cherrill was born near Carthage, Illinois and educated in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and Chicago.

 

After an early marriage to Irving Adler, a Chicago lawyer, ended in divorce, she moved to California where she met Chaplin. He reportedly first noticed her on a California beach and when they were both at a boxing match.

 

In City Lights, Chaplin gave Cherrill the part of the flower girl largely because she portrayed a blind person appealingly, in a test, after he advised her to look at him but “to look inwardly and not to see me.”

 

Cherrill starred in several other American films in the early 1930’s and met Cary Grant at a film premiere. They were married in 1933, and she went on to retire briefly from film making. They divorced in 1935. Then she again resumed her career in Britain, where she appeared in two films. She later said, “I was no great shakes as an actress.”

 

Cherrill retired from film making permanently when she began her nine-year marriage to the ninth Earl of Jersey, in 1937. As the Countess of Jersey, she did charity work in Britain during World War II. In 1948 she married Florian Martini, a World War II flying ace. Moving to Santa Barbara, they remained married for 48 years until Cherrill’s death in 1996 at age 88.

 

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Cherrill’s grave at the Santa Barbara Cemetery

 

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