Buster Keaton

Born Oct. 4, 1895, in Piqua, Kansas, to a pair of vaudevillians, Buster Keaton developed his trademark deadpan demeanor and physical agility early by appearing in the family act -- a routine that involved throwing young Buster all over the stage and into the audience while he remained expressionless throughout.

After Keaton's family act disbanded, fellow vaudevillian Fatty Arbuckle invited him to appear in his two-reel comedy The Butcher Boy, a pairing that resulted in 15 more comic hits (which Keaton also wrote and co-directed). Keaton's first solo effort, The Saphead, led to the formation of his own production company, and by 1921, he was writing, directing and starring in his own films, including his masterpiece, The General (1927).

Keaton's later films include Charlie Chaplin's Limelight (1952), Around the World in 80 Days and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966). He died Feb. 1, 1966.