Buster Keaton

Birth Name: Joseph Frank Keaton

Date of Birth: October 4, 1895

Place of Birth: Piqua, Kansas, U.S.

Date of Death: February 1, 1966

Place of Death: Woodland Hills, California, U.S.

Ethnicity: English, German, as well as distant Welsh and Scottish

Buster Keaton was an American actor, comedian, and filmmaker. He starred in the silent movies The Electric House, Sherlock, Jr., The General, Steamboat Bill, Jr. and The Cameraman. He was nicknamed “The Great Stone Face.”

He was the son of vaudeville performers and film actors Myra Keaton (born Myra Edith Cutler) and Joe Keaton (born Joseph Hallie Keaton). His father owned a traveling show with Harry Houdini, the Mohawk Indian Medicine Company, or the Keaton Houdini Medicine Show Company. Buster was born in Piqua, where his parents were performing at the time. He spent much of his childhood on the road. His maternal grandfather Frank Cutler also had a traveling act, The Cutler Comedy Medicine Show.

Buster was married to dancer and variety show performer Eleanor Keaton, until his death. He had two children with his former wife, silent film actress Natalie Talmadge. Natalie was the sister of actresses Norma Talmadge and Constance Talmadge.

Buster’s paternal grandfather was Joseph Zachariah Keaton (the son of Joseph Zachariah Keaton and Margaret Trueblood). Buster’s grandfather Joseph was born in Indiana. Buster’s great-grandfather Joseph was the son of Benoni Keaton and Anne/Ann Markham. Margaret was the daughter of The Rev. Benoni Trueblood, who was a Baptist minister, and of Bridget Ann Gregory.

Buster’s paternal grandmother was Libbie/Lydia Jane Shireey/Shirley (the daughter of Richardson Shirley and Catherine Burkey). Lydia was born in Ohio. Richardson was the son of William Shirley and Elizabeth Clore. Catherine was the daughter of Jacob Burkey and Julianna Mary Fronce.

Buster’s maternal grandfather was Frank Luke Cutler (the son of Luke H. Cutler and Axenia Barber). Frank was born in Pennsylvania, and was of Colonial American (English) ancestry, from New England. Buster’s great-grandfather Luke was the son of Nahum Cutler and Martha Robbins. Axenia was the daughter of Martin Barber and Elizabeth Brown.

Buster’s maternal grandmother was Sarah Elizabeth Shaffer (the daughter of Joshua Shaffer and Marie/Mary A. Peck/Beck). Sarah was born in Pennsylvania, and was of German descent. Joshua was the son of Johannes Schaefer and Catharina Barbara Boshaar. Marie was the daughter of Conrad Beck/Peck and Barbara Leider/Lyter/Leiter/Leyder.

Sources: Genealogies of Buster Keaton – https://www.geni.com

4 Responses

  1. andrew says:


    I think he may have been:

    62,5% English
    37,5% German

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