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Joseph Hallie Keaton (July 6, 1867 – January 13, 1946) was an American vaudeville performer and silent film actor. He was the father of actor Buster Keaton and appeared with his son in several of his films.

Joe Keaton
Joe keaton.jpg
Born Joseph Hallie Keaton
(1867-07-06)July 6, 1867
Terre Haute, Indiana
Died January 13, 1946(1946-01-13) (aged 78)
Los Angeles, California
Spouse(s) Myra Keaton
Children 3, including Buster Keaton


Life and careerEdit

Keaton was born a few miles south of Terre Haute, Indiana to Libbie Jane and Joseph Francis Keaton IV.[1] Leaving home in 1889, the year of the Land Rush, he homesteaded in the Oklahoma territory for a time, securing a claim three and a half miles northwest of Edmond. A few months into Keaton's residency, the neighboring homesteader (a Canadian whom Keaton had befriended on their shared journey west) was murdered and partially buried by a claim jumper; the body was subsequently discovered, and "justice was meted out" to the murderer by Keaton and a group of three or four men that included Robert Galbreath, Jr.[2]

On May 31, 1894, Joe Keaton eloped with Myra Edith Cutler, who became known as Myra Keaton. Myra performed with Joe in a vaudeville act. Joe and Myra's first child was Joseph Frank Keaton, who became known as the silent film actor Buster Keaton; their other children were Harry Keaton and Louise Keaton.

Buster joined the act when he was only a few years old. The act was a rough-and-tumble one, with Buster being thrown around on stage most of the time. As the years went by, Joe Keaton became an alcoholic, which forced Buster to quit the act by the time he was a teenager. However, after he found success in silent film, Buster provided Joe with small parts in several movies. Myra and Joe split up long after Buster had become an adult. He lived alone in a Hollywood hotel for many years and was said to have stopped drinking after becoming a Christian Scientist.[citation needed]


Joe Keaton died on January 13, 1946, at his home in Hollywood, California, after a long illness.[1]


Year Film Role
1917 A Country Hero Cy Klone, Garage Owner
1918 The Bell Boy Guest
Out West Man on train
1920 Neighbors His father
The Scarecrow Farmer (uncredited)
Convict 13 Prisoner
1922 Day Dreams The Girls Father (uncredited)
The Electric House Extra (uncredited)
1923 Our Hospitality The Engineer
1924 Sherlock, Jr. Her father
1925 Go West Man in Barber Shop (uncredited)
1926 The General A Union General
1928 Steamboat Bill, Jr. Barber
1934 Evelyn Prentice Courthouse Reporter (uncredited)[3]
1935 Palooka from Paducah Pa Diltz


  1. ^ a b "Joseph Keaton, Father of Film Comedian, an Old Vaudeville Trouper, Dies". New York Times. United Press. January 15, 1946. Retrieved 2015-02-10. Joseph Keaton, old-time vaudeville performer and father of Buster Keaton, film comedian, died at his home last night after a long illness. His age was 79. Born in Terre Haute, Ind., Mr. Keaton was the leader of the Three Keatons, a vaudeville act which included his wife, Myra, and son. ... 
  2. ^ "Gossip of the Corridors". The Houston Post Vol. 23, Ed. 1 January 2, 1908. Retrieved 13 July 2016. 
  3. ^ "Screenland Secrets by John Holt". The Queenslander Thursday 27 December 1934. Retrieved 2 September 2015. 

See alsoEdit

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