Buster Keaton

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Buster Keaton
Joseph Frank Keaton
BirthplacePiqua, Kansas, USA
Actor, director, producer, writer

Keaton, Buster

(Joseph Francis Keaton), 1895–1966, American movie actor, b. Piqua, Kans. Considered one of the greatest comic actors in film history, Keaton used his considerable acrobatic skills, which he had developed as a child in vaudeville, in many silent comedies in which he portrayed a deadpan hero who survived against incredible odds. Among these movies are The Navigator (1924), The General (1926), and Steamboat Bill Junior (1927). He made a comeback as a supporting actor in such films as Sunset Boulevard (1950), Limelight (1952), and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966).


See biographies by R. Blesh (1960), M. Meade (1995), and E. McPherson (2005); J. E. Rapf, Buster Keaton: A Bio-Bibliography (1995); J. Kline, The Complete Films of Buster Keaton (2003); studies by G. Wead and G. Lellis (1977), G. Oldham (1996), and R. Knopf (1999).

Keaton, Buster


(real name, Joseph Francis Keaton). Born Oct. 4, 1896, in Pickway; died Feb. 1, 1966, in Hollywood. American comic actor and motion picture director.

Keaton began playing in movie shorts with the well-known comic R. (Fatty) Arbuckle. In the 1920’s, Keaton’s film comedies The Three Ages, Our Hospitality (both 1923), Sherlock Junior, The Navigator (both 1924), and The General (1926) became world famous. Keaton played the leads in these films and was usually director as well. The comic essence of Keaton’s acting consisted in the incongruity of his deadpan expression with the exciting pace of events in the film. After the advent of sound films, Keaton lost his popularity and thereafter acted only occasionally in featured roles.


Kaluzhinskii, Z. “Baster Kiton.” In Komiki Mirovogo ekrana. Moscow, 1966.
Robinson, D. Buster Keaton [2nd ed.]. London [1970].

Keaton, (Joseph Francis) Buster

(1895–1966) film actor, screenwriter, producer; born in Piqua, Kans. The son of medicine show performers, he joined their acrobatic comedy act at age three; they moved on to vaudeville when he was six and already an accomplished acrobat. He entered films in 1917 with The Butcher Boy, and after brief service in World War I, he made a series of short movies, along with his first feature, The Saphead (1920). By 1923 he was exercising complete artistic control over his films and he had established his persona as a deadpan and agile Everyman undaunted by the most extreme situations. Some of his productions were almost surreal, such as Sherlock, Jr. (1924), in which he played a film projectionist who became involved in the action on the screen; other masterworks include The Boat (1921), The Navigator (1924), and The General (1927). After Keaton signed with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc. in 1928 he lost some control over his films, and not only did his marriage to Natalie Talmadge break up, but he was also troubled by alcoholism and mental illness. He hung on at the margins of the Hollywood film world, but it was his appearances at the circus in Paris in 1947 and then in Chaplin's Limelight (1952) that led to the reappreciation of his comic artistry. His last decade saw him all but overwhelmed by the constant demands on his time and tributes to his genius.
References in periodicals archive ?
Bluffton: My Summers with Buster" is a beautiful book that will definitely pique readers' interest in Buster Keaton and his fabulous and hilarious motion pictures and shorts.
This truly inspired comedy is based on a true story from the American Civil War adapted by Buster Keaton in his inimitable style.
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We haven't been on a vacation in years," says Kenny with perfect Buster Keaton timing.
As a former West Virginian, I feel I can ask: Why were Buster Keaton, Peter Pan, Hank Stram and Norman Mailer caricatured on your January/February cover?
The Cameraman" -- "Spite Marriage" -- "Free and Easy"; Deluxe Two-Disc DVD set includes Kevin Brownlow's All-New Documentary: "So Funny It Hurt: Buster Keaton and MGM"
EVERYONE BIRMINGHAM MAIL SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 2013 Graham Young visits a new Buster Keaton exhibition the fading era of the silent movie legends?
American comic Buster Keaton (above) is featured in a new exhibition at Warwick Arts Centre.
Buster Keaton performed a number of stunts himself during filming of the movie.
Spencer Creek Grange will show Buster Keaton classic
They will present a gala screening of the classic silent film The General, starring the incomparable Buster Keaton, and accompanied on the Compton Paramount organ by Donald MacKenzie, resident organist at the Odeon Leicester Square, London.
McQueen, the film's director and co-writer, is best known for a Turner Prize-winning video inspired by Buster Keaton.