Catalina Island News

Charlie Chaplin and Paulette Goddard Exhibition Opens at the Catalina Island Museum

Catalina Island Museum

He was already the most famous film star the world had ever known. She was more than twenty years younger, recently divorced and sporting bleached blond hair. They met on the yacht of a film producer, who thought a weekend getaway to Catalina Island might kindle some romance. And how right he was.

When Paulette Goddard shyly asked Charlie Chaplin to help her invest her substantial divorce settlement in the movies, he was instantly smitten. He had always preferred far younger women. He would eventually marry three teenage girls and had countless affairs with others. But Paulette was different.

She was not only clever but vivaciously witty, and Charlie always found this compelling. She was intent on becoming an actress, and before long he asked her to dump the platinum locks, move into his Hollywood estate and entrust her career to him. She had only one complaint: as a blonde she didn’t have to think around men; now, that would all change. Charlie was snagged - hook, line and sinker.

Of course, this was 1932 - a time not known for its liberal attitudes toward divorce and men dating younger women. A couple living together - especially a couple with an age difference - was hardly acceptable. Tongues started to wag - even in Hollywood. But Charlie was by far the biggest star of the day.

For a while he could afford to ignore the gossip. He purchased a 38-foot motor cruiser and presented it to his young paramour over breakfast. They could sail whenever they wanted, swimming and fishing the majestic waters off Santa Catalina. They could revel in their love, without the prying eyes of a pushy public always wanting to peer in. At least, this was the dream, and it lasted for seven years.

Opening Wine Reception
The Catalina Island Museum invites you to the opening reception for Chaplin and Goddard: A Secret Love Affair on Wednesday, April 16 from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Tickets are free for members of the museum and $5.00 for the general public.

You can also see Charlie Chaplin starring in his silent masterpiece, City Lights during the 27th annual Catalina Island Museum Silent Film Benefit on Saturday, May 17 in the Avalon Casino Theatre. City Lights will be accompanied by a 39-piece symphony orchestra led by Grammy Award-winning conductor Richard Kaufman. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the events page at

The Catalina Island Museum is Avalon’s sole institution devoted to art, culture and history.  The museum, its digital theater and store are located on the ground floor of Avalon’s historic Casino and are open 7 days a week, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. For more information, the museum may be reached by phone at 310-510-2414 or at its website: