Joseph Frank “Buster” Keaton (October 4, 1895 – February 1, 1966) was an American actor, comedian, film director, producer, screenwriter, and stunt performer. 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. Keaton performed all of his stunts, he never refused a stunt, however dangerous; in fact, he frequently doubled for other actors when they needed to take a fall. That’s because he was a pro, who had learned to land soft and withstand a few knocks. Some stunts require agility, others an inner strength. The crowning glory of Steamboat Bill Jr, possibly Keaton’s greatest gag of all time, was a stunt as beautiful as it was potentially lethal but it required him simply to stand still. And he didn’t get a scratch on him. The celebrated moment in Steamboat Bill Jr when the facade of a house drops to the ground with a two-ton thwack, leaving Keaton serene amid the debris, relied on precise mathematics and nerves of steel. Keaton’s position on the ground had to line up exactly with an open window in the top of the house; thankfully for him, it did. More importantly, he had to be sturdy enough to trust the sums, and not flinch.
Some of Buster Keaton’s Most Amazing Stunts