Buster Keaton, born Joseph Frank Keaton on October 4, 1895 in Piqua, Kansas, was a pioneer in the American film industry. Legend holds that Keaton received the nickname "Buster" from no less than Harry Houdini himself, a story that Keaton often repeated. He began his career in vaudeville, following in the tradition of his family. He began his film career in 1917, shortly after meeting the famous comedian Fatty Arbuckle. The two became close friends and work associates thereafter. After appearing in numerous short films, Keaton starred in his first feature, The Saphead, in 1920. He worked regularly after that, with his career reaching a new height in 1926 when he starred in and directed the legendary comedy The General. Though Keaton's career continued for several decades after the introduction of "talkies," he would never enjoy the same popularity as he did during the silent film era. He died on February 1, 1966 of lung cancer in Woodland Hills, California.