O'Neill-Chaplin, Oona

BORN 13 May 1926, Bermuda: Warwick Parish - DIED 27 Sep 1991, Corsier-sur-Vevey, Vaud
BIRTH NAME O'Neuill, Oona
CAUSE OF DEATH pancreatic cancer
GRAVE LOCATION Corsier-sur-Vevey, Vaud: Cimetière, Sur le Crêt

Oona O'Neil was the daughter of playwright Eugene O'Neill who received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1936. Her mother was his second wife, the author Agnes Boulton. She was born when her parents lived in Bermuda. Her father left the family when she was two to live with the actress Carlotta Monterey (he married her in 1929).

She grew up in Manhattan and spent the summers in West Point Pleasant where the Boulton family had a house. In 1942 she decided to become an actress and she entered into relationships with cartoonist Peter Arno and with the young author J.D. Salinger. She ended this relationship when she met Charlie Chaplin who fell for her immedately. He was 36 years older but they married in 1943.

Her father was furious and broke off all contacts with her but the marriage was a happy one. In 1946 their first son Michael was born. When Chaplin was accused of Communist sympathies in 1952 he was unable to return to the US and they settled in Switzerland after Oona had returned to California alone to collect Chaplin's belongings. She even smuggled $1,000 bills out of the country. In 1959 their eighth and last child Anna was born. Chaplin was a demanding husband and she spent most of her time on him instead of on their children, nursing him in old age. Chaplin was knighted in 1975 and died in 1977, aged 88.

Oona relocated to New York but had trouble living on her own and turned to drinking like her father Eugene had done when she was young. She died of pancreatic cancer in 1991 in Corsier-sur-Vevey where she had lived with Chaplin. She was buried beside him at the local cemetery.

• Husband: Chaplin, Charly (1943-1977, Carpinteria, California)


The grave of Charly Chaplin at the cemetery of Corsier-sur-Vevey, Vaud.
Picture by Androom (05 Dec 2007)


Oona O'Neill - Wikipedia

Oriola, Alphonse von

Published: 01 Apr 2012
Last update: 16 May 2020