Buster Keaton and Diane Keaton are two of the most celebrated actors in the history of cinema. They have both starred in iconic films that have influenced generations of filmmakers and audiences. But are they related to each other? Do they share a common ancestry or a family connection? The answer may surprise you.
Buster Keaton: The Great Stone Face
Buster Keaton was born Joseph Frank Keaton VI in 1895 in Piqua, Kansas. He was the son of Joe and Myra Keaton, who were vaudeville comedians with a popular and rough act that involved throwing Buster around the stage. Buster got his nickname from Harry Houdini, who witnessed him falling down a flight of stairs at the age of three and said, “That was a real buster!” according to Wikipedia.
Buster started his film career in 1917, when he met Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, a successful comedian and director who invited him to appear in his short films. Buster soon became Arbuckle’s protégé and co-star, and learned the art of filmmaking from him. He also developed his trademark style of physical comedy, which involved elaborate stunts, chases, and gags, performed with a deadpan expression that earned him the nickname “The Great Stone Face”. according to IMDb.
Buster made his first feature film in 1923, called Three Ages, which was a parody of D.W. Griffith’s Intolerance. He then went on to make some of the most acclaimed and influential comedies of the silent era, such as Sherlock Jr., The Navigator, The General, Steamboat Bill Jr., and The Cameraman. He was also one of the first filmmakers to use special effects, editing techniques, and camera tricks to create surreal and imaginative scenarios. according to Britannica.
Buster’s career declined in the late 1920s, when he signed with MGM and lost his creative control and artistic independence. He also faced personal problems, such as a divorce from his first wife Natalie Talmadge, who took custody of their two sons, Buster Jr. and Bob Talmadge. He also struggled with alcoholism and depression. He made a comeback in the 1940s, when he appeared in several sound comedies and revived his popularity. He also remarried to Eleanor Norris, who helped him overcome his addiction and supported him until his death in 1966. according to Biography.
Diane Keaton: The Annie Hall Icon
Diane Keaton was born Diane Hall in 1946 in Los Angeles, California. She was the daughter of Jack and Dorothy Hall, who were a civil engineer and a homemaker respectively. She studied drama at Santa Ana College and at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York. She made her stage debut in 1968, when she appeared in the original Broadway production of the musical Hair. She then got her first major role in Woody Allen’s play Play It Again, Sam, which earned her a Tony Award nomination. according to Wikipedia.
Diane made her film debut in 1970, when she had a small role in Lovers and Other Strangers. She then rose to fame when she played Kay Adams-Corleone in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather trilogy, which is considered one of the greatest film series of all time. She also collaborated frequently with Woody Allen, who became her romantic partner for some time. She starred in several of his films, such as Sleeper, Love and Death, Manhattan, and Annie Hall. The latter won her an Academy Award for Best Actress and established her as a comic icon. She also started a fashion trend with her unisex clothes and quirky mannerisms. according to IMDb.
Diane also proved her versatility as a dramatic actress, when she appeared in films such as Looking for Mr. Goodbar, Reds, Marvin’s Room, Something’s Gotta Give, and The Family Stone. She received three more Oscar nominations for her performances in these films. She also became known for her roles in popular comedies such as Baby Boom, Father of the Bride, The First Wives Club, and Book Club. She also ventured into directing documentaries, music videos, and feature films. according to Britannica.
The Truth Behind the Surname
So are Buster Keaton and Diane Keaton related? The answer is no. They are not related by blood or marriage. They just happen to share the same surname, which is actually not their original one.
According to Wikipedia, Diane Keaton was born Diane Hall and changed her last name to her mother’s maiden name when she moved to New York to pursue her acting career. There was already another actress named Diane Hall registered with the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), so she had to choose a different name. She decided to use Keaton, which was also the name of her favorite actress at the time, Katharine Hepburn.
According to IMDb, Buster Keaton was born Joseph Frank Keaton VI and adopted his father’s stage name when he joined his parents’ vaudeville act. His father, Joe Keaton, was also born Joseph Frank Keaton, but he changed his name to Joe when he started performing as a comedian. He took the surname Keaton from his mother, Mary Keaton, who was also a performer.
Therefore, Buster Keaton and Diane Keaton are not related to each other in any way. They just happen to have the same last name because they both adopted their mother’s maiden name as their stage name. They never met or worked together during their careers. They are both legends of cinema who have inspired countless fans and filmmakers with their talent and charisma.