Buster Keaton

Joseph Frank "Buster" Keaton (October 4, 1895 – February 1, 1966) was an American actor, comedian and director. He is best known for his silent film work, in which his trademark was physical comedy accompanied by a 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". In 1996, ''Entertainment Weekly'' recognized Keaton as the seventh-greatest film director, writing that "More than Chaplin, Keaton understood movies: He knew they consisted of a four-sided frame in which resided a malleable reality off which his persona could bounce. A vaudeville child star, Keaton grew up to be a tinkerer, an athlete, a visual mathematician; his films offer belly laughs of mind-boggling physical invention and a spacey determination that nears philosophical grandeur." 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 and filmmaker Edward F. Cline, 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), ''Steamboat Bill, Jr.'' (1928), and ''The Cameraman'' (1928), remain highly regarded. ''The General'' is viewed as his masterpiece: Orson Welles considered it "the greatest comedy ever made...and perhaps the greatest film ever made". In 2018, Peter Bogdanovich released ''The Great Buster: A Celebration'', a tribute to Keaton featuring Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Werner Herzog and Quentin Tarantino, among others. Keaton's art has inspired full academic study.

His career declined when he signed with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and lost his artistic independence. His wife divorced him, he lost his home, 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. Late in his career, Keaton made cameos in Wilder's ''Sunset Boulevard'', Chaplin's ''Limelight'', Samuel Beckett's ''Film'' and the ''Twilight Zone'' episode "Once Upon a Time". Keaton is often described as having been ahead of his time; Anthony Lane wrote "He was just too good, in too many ways, too soon...He is the first action hero; to be precise, he is a small, pale-faced American who is startled, tripped, drenched and inspired into ''becoming'' a hero." Provided by Wikipedia
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