Thirty five years ago, one of the most bizarre events in cinematic history took place…
On March 1st 1978, Charlie Chaplin’s grave was dug up and his coffin stolen. The comic legend died on Christmas day 1977 aged 88 and buried in a field a mile away from his home at Corsier near Lausanne Switzerland. Located above Lake Geneva, the grave was robbed by thieves who then demanded £400,000 for the coffin’s safe return. There were even threats to his children over the phone if demands weren’t met. Lady Oona Chaplin refused to pay it saying Charlie would have thought it ridiculous.
Although the family kept quiet about the ransom demands but rumours began that Chaplin had been dug up because he was a Jew buried in a gentile cemetery.
Two men were arrested, a 38-year-old Bulgarian and a 24-year-old Pole, mechanics who were charged with the crimes of attempted extortion and disturbing the peace of the dead. They revealed the location of the coffin which was found ten miles away on May 17th.