Public Lecture 5 December 2013

Alias Richard Lee : Pictures of a Chaplin actor

Nanette Ackerman


Nanette Ackerman (Berry) was born in Cambridge in 1945. She attended stage school as a young girl and spent a brief spell as a singer. Many years later, after training as a nurse, she studied LAMDA exams at the Hartley-Hodder School of Speech and Drama in Clifton, Bristol. As a licentiate of London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, she has worked as a director and speech and drama teacher, helping many young actors with their careers in theatre and film.

Nanette loves animals, nature and literature - particularly Shakespeare and the Romantic poets. She attempted her first play when she was ten. She subsequently produced several plays at theatres in the West Country, including the Little Theatre - Bristol, the Playhouse - Weston-Super-Mare and the Rondo in Bath. Her spectacular children’s play, Perils of the Pond, starring Tom O’Connor, was published by Bohemia in 1991. In addition to this, she has given regular poetry readings on behalf of her father, Charles Ackerman Berry, whose colourful childhood is remembered in her book, Alias Richard Lee: Pictures of a Chaplin Actor (Redcliffe Press, Bristol).

Alias Richard Lee: Pictures of a Chaplin Actor is now the subject of a play, and subsequent to a successful pilot production in Bristol recently, will be shown at Barons Court (Curtain-Up) Theatre, London, in the near future – under the title: Dick and Daisy.

Currently in demand for dramatic readings and talks related to her well-received book, Nanette is kept busy writing and teaching speech and drama.


Richard Percy Berry, an aspiring Edwardian actor in London, married actress Marguerite Ackerman of Belgravia, the daughter of a late famous opera singer.

After committing a felony through gambling debts and an incident with a gun, Richard skipped the country to seek his fortune, promising to send for his family as soon as possible. He sojourned in the Far East before arriving in San Franciso. Virtually penniless, he hitched a lift to Canada where he joined the army, came under gas attack at Ypres and was invalided out.

Richard Lee, who had left his wife and children destitute, arrived in Hollywood where he found minor roles in some of the early Chaplin films and, again, promised to send for his family. The years rolled by without an invitation . . .

Dramatic events from the past unfolded after his granddaughter entered a cottage by a Cornish moor and found a faded picture of Richard in an old scrapbook, and several years later unlocked the secrets hidden in her grandmother's memoirs.

For more details on the book CLICK HERE