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George Wheeler Dryden (August 31, 1892 in Londonmarker – September 30, 1957 in Los Angelesmarker) was an Englishmarker actor and film director, the son of Hannah Chaplin and music hall entertainer Leo Dryden and thus the half brother of Charles and Sydney Chaplin. He was also the father of rock musician Spencer Dryden.

Biography

Dryden was the youngest of Hannah Chaplin's children, and his father Leo removed him from his mentally troubled mother as an infant. He was touring Indiamarker and the Far East as a vaudeville comedian in 1915 when he first learned from his father that the newly famous Charlie Chaplin was his half brother.

At this point, he wrote several letters to Chaplin and his half-brother Sydney but got ignored by both of them. In 1917, he got in touch with Chaplin's lead actress Edna Purviance who likely convinced Chaplin to recognize him as his relative. He then joined the Chaplin brothers and their mother in America in 1918, and became a U.S. citizen in 1936.

He later appeared in Stan Laurel's Mud and Sand and was the "other man" in the melodrama False Women. In 1928, he directed Syd Chaplin in A Little Bit of Fluff, and later, worked at the Chaplin Studios as Charlie's assistant director on The Great Dictator and Monsieur Verdoux. He also appears in the supporting roles of a doctor and a clown in Chaplin's last American film, Limelight.

After Chaplin left America for Switzerland in 1952, Dryden managed the winding down of Chaplin's Hollywood business affairs until 1954, when the studio was sold. He suffered from mental illness and reclusiveness in his final years, exacerbated by aggressive FBImarker inquiries into his brother's politics.

Family

Wheeler was married from 1938–1943 to Radio City Music Hall prima ballerina Alice Chapple (1911–2005), and they had a one child Spencer Dryden. Dryden took his son to Los Angeles jazz clubs in the 1950s, which inspired his musical ambitions as a jazz and rock drummer.

References

External links




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