: I always want the audience to out-guess me, and then I double-cross them.
Buster Keaton was an American comic actor, filmmaker, producer and writer. He was best known for his silent films, in which his trademark was physical comedy with a consistently stoic, deadpan expression, earning him the nickname "The Great Stone Face".
At the age of four, Keaton had already begun acting with his parents on the stage. Their act soon gained the reputation as one of the roughest in the country, for their wild, physical antics on stage. It was normal for Joe to throw Buster around the stage, participate in elaborate, dangerous stunts to the reverie of audiences.
While in New York looking for work, a chance run-in with the wildly successful film star and director Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle, resulted in Arbuckle inviting him to be in his upcoming short The Butcher Boy (1917), an appearance that launched Keaton's film career, and spawned a friendship that lasted until Arbuckle's sudden death in 1933.
Unlike many silent movie stars, Buster was eager to go into sound considering he had a fine baritone voice with no speech impediments and years of stage experience, so dialogue was not a problem.
He was voted the seventh Greatest Director of all time by Entertainment Weekly, making him the highest rated comedy director. Charles Chaplin did not make the list.
He often surrounded himself with tall and heavyset 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.
In one scene in Sherlock Jr. (1924), filmed at a train station, Keaton was hanging from a tube connected to a water basin. The water poured out and washed him on to the track, fracturing his neck. This footage appears in the released film. He did not learn about it until a doctor saw X-rays of his neck during a routine physical examination many years later. Not only did Keaton do all his own stunts, but, when needed, he acted as a stunt double for other actors in the films.
Keaton 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.
A heavy smoker for most of his life, he was diagnosed with lung cancer during the first week of January 1966 after a month-long coughing bout, but he was never told that he was terminally sick or that he had cancer, as his doctors feared that the news would be detrimental to his health. Keaton thought that he was recovering from a severe case of bronchitis. Despite his failing health, he was active and walking about almost until the day he died.