Biography

"Big Joe" Roberts, as he was known in vaudeville, toured the country with his first wife, Lillian Stuart Roberts as part of a rowdy act known as Roberts, Hays, and Roberts. Their signature routine was called "The Cowboy, the Swell and the Lady." At this time, in the first decade of the twentieth century, Buster Keaton's father, Joe Keaton, had started a summer Actors' Colony for vaudevillians between Lake Michigan and Muskegon Lake in Michigan. Roberts became acquainted with the Keaton family as a member of this community.

When Buster Keaton's film apprenticeship years with Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle came to an end, and Keaton began making his own shorts in 1920, he asked Roberts to join him. Roberts' hefty 6'3" frame, usually playing a menacing heavy or authority figure, made a striking and amusing contrast to the thin, 5'6" Keaton.

IMDB shows that Roberts made only two films without Keaton. He played the role of "Roaring Bill" Rivers in 1922's The Primitive Lover starring Constance Talmadge—Keaton's sister-in-law—and the silent film actor Harrison Ford; and a drill master in the Clyde Cook comedy The Misfit,[4] released in March 1924, after Roberts' death.

When Keaton began making feature films in 1923, he apparently intended to continue working with Roberts. Roberts had roles in Keaton's Three Ages and Our Hospitality (both 1923). During the filming of the second feature, Roberts had a stroke but insisted on returning to the set to finish the film. After completion, Roberts suffered another stroke and died shortly afterwards.

"Big Joe" Roberts, as he was known in vaudeville, toured the country with his first wife, Lillian Stuart Roberts as part of a rowdy act known as Roberts, Hays, and Roberts. Their signature routine was called "The Cowboy, the Swell and the Lady." At this time, in the first decade of the twentieth century, Buster Keaton's father, Joe Keaton, had started a summer Actors' Colony for vaudevillians between Lake Michigan and Muskegon Lake in Michigan. Roberts became acquainted with the Keaton family as a member of this community.

When Buster Keaton's film apprenticeship years with Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle came to an end, and Keaton began making his own shorts in 1920, he asked Roberts to join him. Roberts' hefty 6'3" frame, usually playing a menacing heavy or authority figure, made a striking and amusing contrast to the thin, 5'6" Keaton.

IMDB shows that Roberts made only two films without Keaton. He played the role of "Roaring Bill" Rivers in 1922's The Primitive Lover starring Constance Talmadge—Keaton's sister-in-law—and the silent film actor Harrison Ford; and a drill master in the Clyde Cook comedy The Misfit,[4] released in March 1924, after Roberts' death.

When Keaton began making feature films in 1923, he apparently intended to continue working with Roberts. Roberts had roles in Keaton's Three Ages and Our Hospitality (both 1923). During the filming of the second feature, Roberts had a stroke but insisted on returning to the set to finish the film. After completion, Roberts suffered another stroke and died shortly afterwards.

Personal Info

Known For Acting

Gender Male

Known Credits 22

Birthday 1871-02-02

Day of Death 1923-10-28

Place of Birth Albany, New York, USA

Official Site -

Also Known As

  • -

Acting TV ShowsMovies

1924 The Misfit as The Drill Master
1923 Our Hospitality as Joseph Canfield
1923 Three Ages as The Girl's Father
1923 The Love Nest as Captain of the Whaler
1922 Day Dreams as The Mayor
1922 The Electric House as Millionaire
1922 The Frozen North as The Driver
1922 The Blacksmith as Blacksmith
1922 My Wife's Relations as Brother
1922 The Primitive Lover as 'Roaring' Bill Rivers
1922 Cops as Police Chief / Chef de police
1922 The Paleface as The Indian Chief
1921 The Play House as Actor-Stage Manager (uncredited)
1921 Little Lord Fauntleroy as Buzz Saw Brannigan (uncredited)
1921 The Goat as Police Chief
1921 The High Sign as Leader of Buzzards
1921 Hard Luck as Lizard Lip Luke
1921 The Haunted House as Bank Cashier
1920 Neighbors as Her Father
1920 The Scarecrow as Farmhand
1920 Convict 13 as Prisoner / Prisonnier
1920 One Week as Piano Mover

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