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This fresh biography by an accomplished young writer who spent more than a year and a half repeatedly watching and admiring more than 60 Buster Keaton films traces Keaton’s career from his early days in vaudeville – where, as a rambunctious five-year-old, his father threw him around the stage – to his becoming one of the brightest stars of silent film’s Golden Age. Taking what he knew from vaudeville – ingenuity, athleticism, audacity, and wit – Keaton applied his hand to the new medium of film, proving himself a prodigious acrobat and brilliant writer, gagman, director, and actor in more than 100 films. Between 1920 and 1929, he rivaled Fatty Arbuckle, Harold Lloyd, and even Charlie Chaplin as the master of silent comedy by writing, directing, and starring in more than 30 films. This book celebrates Keaton in his prime – as an antic genius, equal parts auteur, innovator, prankster, and daredevil – while also revealing the pressures in his personal and professional life that led to a collapse into drunkenness and despair before his triumphant second act as a television pioneer and Hollywood player in everything from beach movies to Beckett. McPherson describes the life of Keaton – in front of the camera and behind the scenes – with the kind of exuberance and narrative energy displayed by the shrewd, madcap films themselves.