About George Wheeler Dryden
An English actor and film director known professionally as Wheeler Dryden.
He was born George Wheeler Dryden on August 31, 1892 in Brixton, London, England, 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.
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 FBI inquiries into his brother's politics.
Dryden 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.