Buster Keaton

Lowest Rated: 33% Pajama Party (1964)
Birthday: Oct 4, 1895
Birthplace: Piqua, Kansas, USA
Although his career lacked the resilience of Charlie Chaplin and Laurel and Hardy, Buster Keaton may well have been the most gifted comedian to emerge from the cinema's silent era. And while his skills as a gag writer and physical comic were remarkable, Keaton was one clown whose understanding of the film medium was just as great as his talent for taking a pratfall. Keaton, however, had a roller-coaster career in which he fell just as far as he rose, though he was fortunate enough to enjoy a comeback in the later years of his life. Joseph Frank Keaton was born on October 4, 1895, to Joseph Hallie Keaton and Myra Cutler Keaton, a pair of vaudeville performers. Spending his childhood on the road with his family, he earned the nickname Buster at the age of six months; as legend has it, after the young Keaton fell down a flight of steps at a theater, a magician on the bill, Harry Houdini, said to the lad's father, "What a buster your kid took!" The name stuck, and, by the age of three, the youngster was appearing as part of his parents act whenever they could evade child labor laws. In vaudeville, Keaton developed remarkable talents as an acrobatic comedian with a superb sense of timing, and became a rising star by his teens. His father, however, had developed a serious drinking problem, which strained his relationship with his son and caused serious problems with their very physical stage act, which, in early 1917, Buster left. He appeared in a Broadway comic revue later that year, but the key to Keaton's future came when he met a fellow vaudeville comedian. Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle was starring in a low-budget two-reel screen comedy, The Butcher Boy, and invited Keaton to play a small role in the picture. The two hit it off and became a successful onscreen team, starring in a long string of comic hits. Fascinated by the medium of film, Keaton soon began writing their pictures, and assisted in directing them; Keaton was soon starring in his own films, as well, though he and Arbuckle remained lifelong close friends. Keaton developed a distinctive comic style which merged slapstick with a sophisticated sense of visual absurdity, and often included gags which made the most of the film medium, involving props, sets, and visual trickery that would have been impossible on the vaudeville stage. Keaton also developed his personal visual trademark, an unsmiling deadpan demeanor which made his epic-scale gags even funnier. Beginning with his first solo short subjects in 1920, The High Sign and One Week, Keaton became a major star, and after a series of successful two-reelers, including Cops and The Balloonatic, Keaton moved up to feature-length comedies in 1923 with the farcical The Three Ages. Keaton reached the peak of his craft with the features which followed, including Sherlock Jr., Seven Chances, The Navigator, Steamboat Bill, Jr., and the Civil War comedy The General, now universally regarded as Keaton's masterpiece. Independent producer Joseph M. Schenck was the man behind Fatty Arbuckle's comedies when Keaton came aboard, and they continued to work together when Keaton struck out on his own. Schenck believed in the comic's talent and allowed him to work without interference, resulting in a string of creative and popular triumphs. Then, in 1928 -- and with Keaton's approval -- Schenck sold his contract to the biggest studio in Hollywood, Metro Goldwyn Mayer. While Keaton's first vehicle for MGM, The Cameraman, was up to his usual high standards, he chafed at the studio's interference and insistence that the filmmaker work within the same boundaries as its other employees. With outside writers and directors controlling Keaton with a strong hand, his work suffered tremendously. Coupled with a crumbling marriage (to Natalie Talmadge, whom he wed in 1920), Keaton began to drink heavily. With the advent of sound, MGM seemed to have even less of an idea of what to do with the actor/director, and starred him in a series of second-rate come

Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

MOVIES

CREDIT
No Score Yet Il Monello vs. Sherlock Jr. Director 2016
93% Notfilm Actor 2015
No Score Yet Les Burlesques Americains Director 2011
No Score Yet 5 Burlesques Director 2010
No Score Yet The Forgotten Films of Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle Actor 2005
No Score Yet An Afternoon With Buster Keaton Actor 2001
No Score Yet Hidden Hollywood, Vol. 2: More Treasures From the 20th Century Fox Vaults Actor 2000
No Score Yet Oh, Doctor! Actor 2000
No Score Yet Slapstick, Too! Actor 1998
100% That's Entertainment! III Actor 1994
No Score Yet Memories of Hollywood Actor 1990
84% A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum Erronius 1966
No Score Yet Buster Keaton Rides Again Actor 1965
No Score Yet Sergeant Deadhead Pvt. Blinken 1965
No Score Yet How to Stuff a Wild Bikini Bwana 1965
No Score Yet The Railrodder (The Railroader) Actor Director 1965
80% Beach Blanket Bingo Himself 1965
No Score Yet Film The man 1965
33% Pajama Party Chief Rotten Eagle 1964
73% It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World Jimmy the Crook 1963
No Score Yet 30 Years of Fun Actor 1963
No Score Yet A Few Moments with Buster Keaton & Laurel & Hardy Actor 1963
No Score Yet The Great Chase Actor 1962
No Score Yet The Sound of Laughter Actor 1962
No Score Yet The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Lion tamer 1960
No Score Yet When Comedy Was King Actor 1960
71% Around the World in 80 Days Conductor 1956
97% Limelight Piano Accompanist 1952
98% Sunset Boulevard Himself 1950
No Score Yet The Misadventures of Buster Keaton Actor 1950
71% In the Good Old Summertime Hickey 1949
No Score Yet The Lovable Cheat Goulard 1949
No Score Yet Boom in the Moon Actor 1946
No Score Yet Two Girls and a Sailor Durante's Son 1944
No Score Yet Forever and a Day Dabb's Assistant 1943
No Score Yet Tales of Manhattan Screenwriter 1942
No Score Yet Li'l Abner Lonesome Polecat 1940
No Score Yet The Villain Still Pursued Her William Dalton 1940
No Score Yet New Moon Prisoner "LuLu" 1940
No Score Yet Pardon My Berth Marks Actor 1940
No Score Yet Hollywood Cavalcade Himself 1939
No Score Yet Old Spanish Custom Leander Proudfoot 1936
No Score Yet Allez Oop Elmer Director 1934
No Score Yet What! No Beer? Elmer Butts 1933
No Score Yet Speak Easily Producer Prof. Timolean Zanders Post 1932
No Score Yet The Passionate Plumber Elmer Tuttle 1932
No Score Yet Casanova wider Willen Actor 1931
No Score Yet Sidewalks of New York Homer Van Dine Harmon 1931
No Score Yet The Stolen Jools Policeman 1931
No Score Yet Parlor, Bedroom and Bath Reginald Irving Producer 1931
No Score Yet Doughboys Elmer Producer 1930
No Score Yet Free and Easy (Easy Go) Producer Elmer J. Butts 1930
40% The Hollywood Revue of 1929 Himself/Princess Raja 1929
100% Spite Marriage Elmer 1929
100% Steamboat Bill Jr. Director Willie Canfield 1928
100% The Cameraman Producer Buster 1928
88% College A Son 1927
94% The General Director Producer Screenwriter Johnnie Gray 1927
67% Battling Butler Producer Alfred Butler Director 1926
100% Go West Director Friendless 1925
100% Seven Chances Director Jimmy Shannon 1925
94% Sherlock Jr. Director Projectionist/Sherlock, Jr. 1924
100% The Navigator Director Rollo Treadway 1924
100% The Three Ages Producer Director The Boy Screenwriter 1923
No Score Yet The Love Nest Actor Director Screenwriter 1923
No Score Yet Balloonatic Screenwriter Director The Young Man 1923
96% Our Hospitality William McKay Director 1923
No Score Yet Daydreams Screenwriter Director Actor 1922
No Score Yet Electric House Director Actor Screenwriter 1922
No Score Yet My Wife's Relations Director Screenwriter The Husband 1922
No Score Yet Cops The Young Man Screenwriter Director 1922
No Score Yet The Frozen North The Bad Man Director Screenwriter 1922
No Score Yet The Blacksmith Director Screenwriter Blacksmith's assistant 1922
No Score Yet Paleface Director Actor Screenwriter 1922
No Score Yet Seeing Stars Actor 1922
No Score Yet The Playhouse Screenwriter Mr. Brown Director 1921
No Score Yet The Goat Director The Goat Screenwriter 1921
No Score Yet Hard Luck Screenwriter Suicidal Boy Director 1921
No Score Yet The Haunted House Bank Clerk Director Screenwriter 1921
No Score Yet The Boat Director Actor Screenwriter 1921
No Score Yet The 'High Sign' Screenwriter Director Actor 1921
No Score Yet The Scarecrow Screenwriter Director Farmhand 1920
No Score Yet Convict 13 Buster Screenwriter Director 1920
No Score Yet One Week Director Man Screenwriter 1920
No Score Yet The Garage Actor 1920
No Score Yet Neighbors The Boy Screenwriter Director 1920
No Score Yet The Saphead Bernie "The Lamb" Van Alstyne 1920
No Score Yet The Hayseed General Store Manager 1919
No Score Yet Back Stage Stagehand 1919
No Score Yet The Cook Assistant Chef 1918
No Score Yet Good Night, Nurse! Head Surgeon 1918
No Score Yet The Bell Boy Bellboy 1918
No Score Yet Out West Gambler 1918
No Score Yet Coney Island Rival 1917
No Score Yet The Rough House Actor Director 1917
No Score Yet The Butcher Boy Actor 1917
No Score Yet An Evening With Buster & the Boys Director

TV

CREDIT
80% The Twilight Zone
1959-1964
Woodrow Mulligan
  • 1961

QUOTES FROM Buster Keaton CHARACTERS