10 Interesting Facts About Silent Film Star Buster Keaton

Joseph Frank “Buster” Keaton (October 4, 1895 – February 1, 1966) was an American actor, comedian and filmmaker. He is best known for his silent films, in which his trademark was physical comedy with a consistently stoic, deadpan expression that earned him the nickname “The Great Stone Face”. Critic Roger Ebert wrote of Keaton’s “extraordinary period from 1920 to 1929” when he “worked without interruption” as having made him “the greatest actor-director in the history of the movies”.[4] In 1996, Entertainment Weekly recognized Keaton as the seventh-greatest film director, and in 1999 the American Film Institute ranked him as the 21st-greatest male star of classic Hollywood cinema.

Working with independent producer Joseph M. Schenck, Keaton made a series of successful two-reel comedies in the early 1920s, including One Week (1920), The Playhouse (1921), Cops (1922), and The Electric House (1922). He then moved to feature-length films; several of them, such as Sherlock Jr. (1924), The General (1926), and The Cameraman (1928), remain highly regarded. The General is widely viewed as his masterpiece: Orson Welles considered it “the greatest comedy ever made…and perhaps the greatest film ever made”. His career declined when he signed with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and lost his artistic independence. His wife divorced him, and he descended into alcoholism. He recovered in the 1940s, remarried, and revived his career as an honored comic performer for the rest of his life, earning an Academy Honorary Award in 1959. (Wikipedia)

  1. Keaton Was Institutionalized

There was a time in Buster Keaton’s life were he started to go down hill. He began to drink and had depression. His first wife Natalie Talmadge who was an actress took all of his money when they divorced. He was unstabilized he had to be put into an institution.

  1. Most of Keaton’s Films Were Made Without a Script

“Two or three writers and I would start with an idea, and then we would work out a strong finish, and let the middle take care of itself as we went along, as it always does.” – Buster Keaton said in an interview.

  1. Buster is His Nickname

When Keaton was a small child he fell down the stairs. He stood up as if he didn’t even fall. Someone said “That’s a real buster!” and that’s where he got his nickname.

  1. Keaton Didn’t Find Out Abut His Broken Neck Till Years Later

When Keaton was filming Sherlock Jr. he broke his neck on the train track scene. He didn’t find out about his broken neck until he had his routine examination which was years later.

  1. Buster Keaton’s Real Name

Buster Keaton’s birth name is Joseph Francis Keaton Vl. He was born on October 4, 1895.

  1. His Nickname Was “The Great Stone Face”

He was called this because in his earlier movie he would sometimes smile but in his later work he wouldn’t. Some people would even claim that he could smile or laugh.

  1. Buster Keaton Had Three Wives

Buster Keaton’s first wife was Natalie Talmadge. They were married for twelve years and divorced in 1933. Buster Keaton’s second wife was Mae Scribbens. They were married for three years and divorced in 1936. Buster Keaton’s third wife was Eleanor Norris. They were married in 1940.

  1. Buster Keaton Has Two Sons

Their names are Joseph and Robert. Their mother is Natalie Talmadge.

  1. Keaton Has Been in Over 100 Films

Buster Keaton has been in about 147 films

  1. Buster Keaton Died of Lung Cancer

Even though his stunts were very dangerous, the stunts he did had nothing to do with his death. Keaton died of lung cancer on February 1, 1966. This means he was 70 years old when he died.


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