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Buster Keaton

Buster Keaton

The Navigator (1924) was his most successful movie according to the gross.

A baseball fanatic, Keaton not only held games between takes, but also incorporated it into applications for employment. According to legend, two of the questions on the application he used to hire actors read "Are you a good actor?" and "Are you a good baseball player?" Anyone who answered "Yes" to either had a job with Keaton.

Because most of his childhood was spent on vaudeville with his parents, he had few peers. However, he enjoyed a more regular childhood during his family's annual summer getaways to an Actor's Colony on Lake Michigan in Muskegon, Michigan. In fact, the city of Muskegon has erected a historical marker to note his stomping ground.

Biography in: John Wakeman, editor. "World Film Directors, Volume One, 1890-1945". Pages 523-531. New York: The H.W. Wilson Company, 1987.

Broke his ankle while filming The Electric House (1922) when he slipped on the escalator and was still recovering from it when he made The Play House (1921) in which his stunts were considered to be tamer than usual.



Died quietly at home, in his sleep, shortly after playing cards with his wife.

Ex-brother-in-law of Norma Talmadge and Constance Talmadge.

Ex-son-in-law of Margaret Talmadge.

Father, with Natalie Talmadge, of sons Buster Keaton Jr. and Bob Talmadge.

First married Mae Scriven in Mexico on 1 January 1932 before his divorce from Natalie Talmadge was final, then again legally in 1933.

Fractured his neck while filming Sherlock Jr. (1924) and did not learn about it until a doctor saw X-rays of his neck during a routine physical examination many years later.

Grandfather of Camille Keaton.

He and his parents formed an acrobatic group called "The three Keatons" in his early youth.

He appears in four of the American Film Institute's 100 Funniest Movies: The General (1926) at #18, It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963) at #40, Sherlock Jr. (1924) at #62 and The Navigator (1924) at #81.

He became an alcoholic when he his career collapsed around 1930, only kicking his habit and regaining his self-esteem when he married Eleanor Norris (Eleanor Keaton), who was his wife from 1940 to his death in 1966.

He died the same day as his The Stolen Jools (1931), Speak Easily (1932) and Sunset Blvd. (1950) co-star Hedda Hopper.

He is believed to be the first person to use "Buster" as a name, and popularized its usage ever after.

He often surrounded himself with tall and heavy-set actors in his films, typically as his antagonist, to make his character seem to be at as much of a physical disadvantage as possible. The similarly diminutive Charlie Chaplin (Charles Chaplin) also did this.

He was already quite ill with the cancer that would eventually kill him by the time he made his last completed film, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966). He used a stunt double in this film, as well as most of the films he made as an MGM contract player. Before signing with MGM in 1928, he had performed all of his own stunts, and even doubled for cast members in his own films, as in Sherlock Jr. (1924), where he played both himself, riding on the handlebars of a motorcycle, and the man who falls off the back of it.

He was voted the 35th Greatest Movie Star of all time by Entertainment Weekly.

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