Buster Keaton Net Worth At Death – How Did He Get Rich? Exposed!

Buster Keaton Net Worth

Buster Keaton has an estimated net worth of $10 Million. Comedian and director Buster Keaton was popular for his pioneering silent comedies in the 1920s. He earned the majority of his income from movies and TV shows.

Buster Keaton, who was born to vaudeville performers, began performing at the age of three. He was introduced to film at the age of 21 and went on to direct and star in films in the 1920s. The talkies eventually drove him out of work, but he made a comeback in the 1940s and 1950s by playing himself in films like Sunset Boulevard.

To calculate the net worth of Buster Keaton, subtract all his liabilities from his total assets. Investments, savings, cash deposits, and any equity he has in a house, car, or other similar asset are included in the total assets. All debts, such as loans and personal debt, are included in total liabilities.

Here’s the breakdown of his net worth:

Name: Buster Keaton
Net Worth: $10 Million
Monthly Salary: $100 Thousand+
Annual Income: $1 Million+
Source of Wealth: Actor, Film Director, Film Producer, Film Editor, Screenwriter, Stunt Performer

Early Years

Joseph Frank Keaton IV was born in Piqua, Kansas, on October 4, 1895. Joe and Myra Keaton were both veteran vaudevillian actors, and Keaton began performing at the age of three when he was incorporated into their act.

According to legend, he got the nickname “Buster” when he was 18 months old after falling down a flight of stairs. Magician Harry Houdini picked up the child and turned to his parents, saying, “That was a real buster!”

Keaton quickly grew accustomed to being thrown around. Keaton was frequently tossed around by his father while performing with his parents in an act that prided itself on being as rough as it was funny. During these performances, Keaton learned to use the deadpan expression that would later become a trademark of his comedy career.

“It was the roughest knockout act in the history of theater,” he later said of his performances with his parents.

Keaton spent many summers as a child in Muskegon, Michigan, where his father helped establish The Actors Colony. The community inspired the young entertainer at the time because the area had become a destination for vaudevillian performers.

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The Filmmaker

Even in his first film, The Butcher Boy, a 1917 two-reeler starring Roscoe (“Fatty”) Arbuckle, Keaton was extreme slapstick, with the young actor subjected to a variety of abuses, from being submerged in molasses to being bitten by a dog.

Still, film called to Keaton, and he continued to work closely with Arbuckle for the next two years for $40 per week. It was a sort of apprenticeship in which Keaton was given complete access to the filmmaking process.

In 1920, Keaton debuted as a filmmaker on his own, first with a series of two-reelers that included the now-classic One Week (1920), The Playhouse (1921), and Cops (1922). (1922). In 1923, Keaton began producing full-length films such as The Three Ages (1923) and Sherlock, Jr. (1924). The lineup also included The General (1927), which starred Keaton as a train engineer during the American Civil War. Keaton was the film’s sole creator, writing and directing it. While the film was initially a commercial failure, it was later hailed as a groundbreaking piece of filmmaking.

Of course, Keaton’s trademark comedy, brilliant timing, and patented facial expressions were woven throughout his films. In his early two-reelers, he was known for his mastery of the slapstick pie. His work also showcased Keaton’s penchant for performing his own stunts, and he became something of a Hollywood legend not only for his falls, but also for his lack of injuries.

In the mid-1920s, at the height of his career, Keaton shared some of the same celebrity as another silent-film star, Charlie Chaplin. His weekly salary rose to $3,500, and he eventually built a $300,000 home in Beverly Hills.

Career Undone

In 1928, Keaton made what he later called the “mistake of his life.” With the advent of talkies, Keaton signed on with MGM, where he went on to make a string of new sound comedies that did well at the box office but lacked the punch the filmmaker had come to expect from Keaton’s work.

The reason for this was largely due to the fact that by signing the contract, Keaton had given up some creative control over his films to his bosses. His life quickly devolved into a downward spiral. His marriage to actress Natalie Talmadge, with whom he had two sons, ended in divorce, and he struggled with alcoholism and depression.

Keaton declared bankruptcy in 1934, after his MGM contract had expired. His listed assets were only $12,000. He divorced his second wife, Mae Scriven, a year later.

Career Rebound

Keaton’s life began to change for the better in 1940. He married for the third time, to Eleanor Morris, a 21-year-old dancer who many credited with bringing him stability. They remained together until Keaton’s death in 1966.

A revival of fame occurred in the 1950s, sparked by British television, where the aging comedian appeared on a number of programs. American audiences rediscovered Keaton after he played himself in Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard (1950) and then in Chaplin’s Limelight (1952). (1952).

He also raised his profile by appearing on a number of American television shows and commercials. In 1956, Paramount paid him $50,000 for the film rights to The Buster Keaton Story, which follows the performer’s life (albeit inaccurately) from his days in vaudeville to his work in Hollywood.

During this period, film fans rediscovered Keaton’s silent-film work. Keaton, who had retained full rights to his older films, reissued The General in 1962 and watched in awe as it drew praise from fans and critics all over Europe.

In October 1965, Keaton’s comeback reached a climax when he was invited to the Venice Film Festival, where he showed Film, a 22-minute silent film based on a Samuel Beckett screenplay Keaton had written in New York the year before. Keaton received a five-minute standing ovation from the audience at the end of his presentation.

“This is the first time I’ve ever been invited to a film festival,” a tearful Keaton declared. “However, I hope it isn’t the last.”

The hardworking Keaton, a survivor to the end, was nearing the end of his life and earning more than $100,000 a year just from doing commercials. Overall, Keaton, who received a special Academy Award in 1959, claimed he had more work than he could handle.


Keaton died in his sleep on February 1, 1966, from complications of lung cancer at his home in Woodland Hills, California. He was laid to rest in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery.

Further Reading

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