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Date Posted: 16:20:05 07/21/06 Fri
Author: Syl
Subject: Oona: Living in the Shadows

This looks like a good one, sent in by Beccabee. Thanks, lass! I don't often read biographies, but this looks interesting.

TITLE: Oona: Living in the Shadows

AUTHOR: Jane Scovell

GENRE: Biography of Oona O’Neill Chaplin

Evoking the moods of the mid-19th to the late 20th centuries,
Oona traces this enigmatic woman’s lineage and offers reasons for
the way she chose to live her life. With distinguished ancestors on both
sides, Oona inherited the great good looks and intellect of the best of
them while avoiding the alcoholism and drug addiction that plagued her
parents & grandparents.

Before her marriage Oona was most notably known as the daughter of
Eugene O’Neill, the gaunt, moody, gifted playwright. Seeing little of
her father after her sixth year, when Eugene left her mother for another
woman, as a young girl she was totally reviled and rejected by him when
she became a celebrity of the Paris Hilton ilk - famous for being
famous. Her father never, ever spoke to her again after one last cruel
letter written during this time, which was found in her effects when she
died. At odds with her father's opinion, Oona was well-known as an
intelligent, principled & loving girl.

Looking for someone in whom she could invest herself, dating many once
and future famous men during her days doing the town of L.A. with her
best friends Carol Marcus & Gloria Vanderbilt, Oona came under the eye
of Charlie Chaplin. He moved quickly to woo and win this beautiful young

And there the mystery begins. This eighteen year old Oona married the
fifty-eight year old Charlie and began a marriage that lasted over
thirty years and begat eight children. All those who knew the Chaplins
swore of their devoted love and Oona’s total devotion to Charlie & his
comfort and happiness. Their children talk of it too and how their
parents’ tiny universe of two made its impact on their lives. Friends
and relatives talk of her essential light, her goodness and her kindness.

Oona married Charlie in spite of his long known irresistible pull to
girls of illegal age and the scandals of his previous marriages and
frequent affairs. She stayed with him through blacklisting and his
self-imposed exile from the United States, the abandonment of the hubbub
of excitement in the movie capitol to the sedate boredom of a villa in
Switzerland. As a relatively young woman in her forties and early
fifties she nursed Charlie in a difficult and painful old age and
withdrawal from the world, while in despair she slowly fell into the
alcohol addiction that had spelled so much misery in her family over the

A fascinating, sometimes grim look at the life of a woman who chose to
totally immerse herself in the life of her man. I was captivated by it
from beginning to end.

'becca (beccabee)

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[> This looks excellent, 'becca, I've always been fascinated by Charlie Chaplin since seeing the movie with Robert Downey Jr. I'm definitely going to pick this up. Thanks!! -- Noelle, 02:30:23 07/23/06 Sun

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[> Thanks, Beccabee, for this review and your email to me. I think there's a book out there detailing the gleesome threesome's many-decades-long friendship (Gloria, Oona, and Carol). Oona O'Neill Chaplin has long fascinated me (Geraldine Chaplin is one of my very favorite actresses) and I'll be looking for this one. Her ending as an alcoholic is truly tragic, considering who she was before. (By the way, have you read Gloria Vanderbilt's memoir about many of her love affairs, "It Seemed Important at the Time"? Gotta love that title! She also has another one about her son's suicide.) -- Lemora, 23:46:44 07/23/06 Sun

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[> [> The books you mentioned are on my "mental list." I think it is funny that Anderson Cooper is constantly embarrassed by his elderly mother's memoirs of her lovers. What a hoot! -- beccabee, 21:50:25 07/26/06 Wed

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[> Well done, 'bec! -- FranS, 19:25:52 07/26/06 Wed

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[> Great looking review and book 'becca, and one I would definitly read. ALSO thanks for my book mark which arrived when I was off line and on holiday. Happy Summer to you my dear friend. -- Margy, 14:00:45 08/04/06 Fri

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