Edna Purviance was born Olga Edna Purviance on 21 st October 1895 in Nevada. Edna’s parents divorced when she was young, and she, her sisters and he mother ran a boarding house in Nevada. Edna always displayed a liking for the arts and for literature, and when she finished school decided she wanted to be a stenographer. For a while she moved in with her married sister in San Francisco.
The young Charlie Chaplin, in the meantime, was on a mission to find the perfect leading lady for his movies; someone with what Simon Cowell might describe as the X Factor. Edna was suggested to Chaplin, and despite the fact that she had no acting experience and in his own words didn’t look as though she would be able to act, he hired her anyway because of her beauty.
This was the start on a long and successful partnership – and short one off-screen as well. Edna starred in many of Chaplin’s great movies, such as: ‘The Tramp’, ‘Easy Street’, ‘The Immigrant’, and many others. Even when their off-screen relationship ended, Chaplin continued to look after Edna for decades, until he moved away in 1952 with his wife. Edna also got married to a PAN AM executive, John Squires.After a long and successful career as Chaplin’s leading lady as well as some minor roles in his later movies, Edna passed away from throat cancer on 11 th January 1958 in California.
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