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'Gods Like Us': 6 stories of Hollywood from Ty Burr's new book

They're people, just like us, yet Hollywood's stars hold an incredible thrall over American pop culture and the viewing public. In 'Gods Like Us,' Boston Globe film critic Ty Burr examines the nature of celebrity in America and considers how our view of Hollywood has changed – and yet also remained the same – over the years. Here are 6 stories about Hollywood stars from 'Gods Like Us.'

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1. Charlie Chaplin's worldwide fame

In the early days of film, Burr writes that comedian Charlie Chaplin was by far the most famous male star. "He is, I believe, the most widely known man in the world," a reporter for the New York Herald Tribune wrote in 1917. "They know him almost as well in Japan and Paraguay and Spain as we do here. Because of that he has attained an almost legendary significance in the eyes of millions of people; they give him something akin to the homage of Bernhardt and Shakespeare and John L. Sullivan. These millions could never have that feeling for a Senator, a diplomatist, a millionaire."

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