Born into a vaudeville family, Joseph Frank Keaton (4th October 1895) began performing aged 3 with his parents in The Three Keatons.
He was introduced to film when he was 21, starring and directing in silent films throughout the 1920's and known for his trademark deadpan expression, earned the nickname ‘The Great Stone Face’. In 1928, he signed with Hollywood's biggest studio, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) - a business decision that he would later call the worst of his life, resulting in a crippling alcoholism that ruined his family life. Despite Keaton's loss of artistic independence and mounting personal problems, some of his most financially successful films for the studio were during this period. But Keaton was so demoralised that MGM fired him.
He recovered in the 1940's, remarried, and revived his career to a degree as an honoured comic performer for the rest of his life, earning an Academy Honorary Award in 1959.
He died on 1st February 1966 aged 70.