Recommended Reading

"Buster Keaton: The Man Who Wouldn't Lie Down"

by Tom Dardis (University of Minnesota Press., 2002, 340 pages)

Originally published in 1979, this is still the best biography of Buster Keaton. Re-released in 2002 by the University of Minnesota Press, the late (1923-2001) Tom Dardis' book is a respectful tribute to the Great Stoneface. Silent movie fans will get all the good stuff - Keaton's early years in vaudeville, his start with Fatty Arbuckle, his "golden" years during the twenties, troubles with MGM, his somewhat successful career in talkies, and a rediscovery in the 1950's and 1960's - it's all here. Good biographies of movie stars require a delicate balance between the star's career and private life, and Dardis has done a wonderful job, not dwelling overly long on Keaton's troubles such as his divorce from Natalie Talmadge and his alcoholism, but giving us enough while focusing on Keaton's genius on the screen. For the silent movie fan, this book, along with Keaton's autobiography "My Wonderful World of Slapstick" and his widows picture-book tribute "Keaton Remembered," give a well-rounded, complete picture of this great comedian, his life and his career.

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