Biography in: John Wakeman, editor. "World Film Directors, Volume One, 1890-1945". Pages 523-531. New York: The H.W. Wilson Company, 1987.
Was hearing-impaired since 1918, when he was in Germany fighting the war.
The three top comedians in silent era Hollywood were Keaton, Charlie Chaplin (Charles Chaplin) and Harold Lloyd. All three comics produced, controlled and owned their own films. Keaton was convinced to sell his studio and films to MGM in the 1920s, while Chaplin and Lloyd retained ownership of their films. Chaplin and Lloyd became wealthy, while Keaton endured years of financial and personal problems.
When he was three years old, he got his right index finger caught in a clothes wringer and it was crushed and had to be amputated at the first knuckle. The injury is most clearly visible in The Garage (1920), when Keaton steadies Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle's head with his right hand while wiping oil off his face with his left.
Broke his ankle while filming The Electric House (1922) when he slipped on the escalator and was still recovering from it when he made The Play House (1921) in which his stunts were considered to be tamer than usual.
Fractured his neck while filming Sherlock Jr. (1924) and did not learn about it until a doctor saw X-rays of his neck during a routine physical examination many years later.
The Navigator (1924) was his most successful movie according to the gross.
In one scene in the film Sherlock Jr. (1924) at a train station, he was hanging off of a tube connected to a water basin. The water poured out and washed him on to the track, fracturing his neck. This footage appears in the released film.
His performance as Johnny Gray in The General (1926) is ranked #34 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time (2006).
He appears in four of the American Film Institute's 100 Funniest Movies: The General (1926) at #18, It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963) at #40, Sherlock Jr. (1924) at #62 and The Navigator (1924) at #81.
He became an alcoholic when he his career collapsed around 1930, only kicking his habit and regaining his self-esteem when he married Eleanor Norris (Eleanor Keaton), who was his wife from 1940 to his death in 1966.
He died the same day as his The Stolen Jools (1931), Speak Easily (1932) and Sunset Blvd. (1950) co-star Hedda Hopper.
First married Mae Scriven in Mexico on 1 January 1932 before his divorce from Natalie Talmadge was final, then again legally in 1933.
In 1952 while remodeling his home, James Mason discovered several reels of Keaton's "lost" films (Mason had purchased Keaton's Hollywood mansion) and immediately recognized their historical significance. He took upon himself the responsibility for their preservation.
His last film work was The Railrodder (1965), but because it was such a short film it was released before other movies, like A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966), which had completed filming before "The Railrodder".
He was already quite ill with the cancer that would eventually kill him by the time he made his last completed film, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966). He used a stunt double in this film, as well as most of the films he made as an MGM contract player. Before signing with MGM in 1928, he had performed all of his own stunts, and even doubled for cast members in his own films, as in Sherlock Jr. (1924), where he played both himself, riding on the handlebars of a motorcycle, and the man who falls off the back of it.
Pictured on one of ten 29¢ US commemorative postage stamps celebrating stars of the silent screen, issued 27 April 1994. Designed by caricaturist Al Hirschfeld, this set of stamps also honored Rudolph Valentino, Clara Bow, Charles Chaplin, Lon Chaney, John Gilbert, Zasu Pitts, Harold Lloyd, Theda Bara, and the Keystone Kops.