Chaplin's oldest daughter, Geraldine Chaplin, who grew up admiring and respecting her age-disparate parents' successful thirty-four year marriage saw his attraction to young girls differently than her half-brother and Sam Goldwyn: "He loved young girls, the younger the better. He really did. He only saw pureness and innocence and youth and beauty... he was a romantic."
The actress Louise Brooks--an ex-lover from the 1920s - on the other hand, thought of him as a sexually insecure man with a "Lolita obsession": a view echoed by his longtime camera man, Rollie Totheroh. Like Totheroh, Brooks remembered Charlie as "afraid of girls and... deeply convinced that he could seduce a girl only with his position as a director and starmaker."
Apart from Eugene O'Neill, who disinherited his teenage daughter after she married Chaplin, the most hostile characterization of Chaplin's fourth marriage came from Oona's jilted ex-boyfriend (J.D.Salinger). He wrote: "I can see them at home in the evenings. Chaplin squatting grey and nude, atop his chiffonier, swinging his thyroid around his bamboo cane, like a dead rat. Oona in an aquamarine gown, applauding madly from the bathroom. Agnes [her mother] in a Jantzen bathing suit, passing between them with cocktails. I'm facetious, but I'm sorry. Sorry for anyone with a profile as young and lovely as Oona's."(Quoted from Salinger v. Random House, U.S.Court of Appeals 2nd Circuit, No,86-7957, January 29, 1987).
From the point of view of comparative emotional development, there is no reason to assume that 29-year-old Chaplin was the same man in 1918 when he married Mildred Harris as he was at 53 when he married Oona O'Neill
Summing up her experience with Chaplin after twenty years of successful marriage in 1962, the former teenage bride said: "People seem to think of Charlie as my father, but age counts for nothing in this house. To me he seems younger every day. There certainly is no father fixation about my feeling for him. He has made me mature and I keep him young. When you're happy you don't go in for self-analysis."
"I never consciously think of Charlie's age for 364 days of the year. Only his birthday is the annual shock to me. But I can feel the way some people stare at me with puzzlement and then at him wondering how we have kept it up; whether it is just a façade."
"Well, my security and stability with Charlie stem not from his wealth, but from the very difference in years between us. Other young women who have married mature men will understand what I mean... Charlie has given me one great gift that I had not known before. My childhood was not a very happy one and what he has brought to me is the gift of laughter. And that is beyond price." Chaplin's wistful view was "if only I had known Oona or a girl like her long ago, I would never have had any problems with women. All my life I have been waiting for her without even realizing it until I met her." His playful (Cockney) nicknames for her were the old woman, the missus and the old girl. And for her part, on Tuesday evenings--their cook's night off - Charlie's missus personally prepared some of his favorite South London childhood dishes: tripe with onions, steak and kidney pie and stews with dumplings. "It's a fraud for me to be so old when I feel so young," Chaplin told a reporter.