Image of Joe Roberts

Joe Roberts

"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.

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Feb 2, 1871 In Albany, New York, USA
Movie/TV Credits:
First Appeared:
In the movie One Week 1920-08-29
Latest Project:
Movie Crush 2001-08-19
Known For
Poster of Our Hospitality
Poster of My Wife's Relations
Poster of Little Lord Fauntleroy
Poster of Convict 13
Movie Crush Brendan 2001-08-19
Movie Shakespeare in Love John Webster 1998-01-29
Movie Cider with Rosie Laurie Lee 1998-12-26
Movie The Misfit The Drill Master 1924-03-22
Movie The Love Nest Captain of the Whaler 1923-03-01
Movie Our Hospitality Joseph Canfield 1923-11-19
Movie Three Ages The Girl's Father 1923-09-24
Movie My Wife's Relations Brother 1922-05-15
Movie The Paleface The Indian Chief 1922-01-01
Movie Cops Police Chief / Chef de police 1922-03-15
Movie The Primitive Lover 'Roaring' Bill Rivers 1922-04-30
Movie The Blacksmith Blacksmith 1922-07-21
Movie The Electric House Millionaire 1922-10-01
Movie Day Dreams The Mayor 1922-11-27
Movie The Frozen North The Driver 1922-08-28
Movie Hard Luck Lizard Lip Luke 1921-03-14
Movie The Haunted House Bank Cashier 1921-02-21
Movie The High Sign Leader of Buzzards 1921-04-18
Movie The Goat Police Chief 1921-05-15
Movie Little Lord Fauntleroy Buzz Saw Brannigan (uncredited) 1921-09-15
Movie The Play House Actor-Stage Manager (uncredited) 1921-10-26
Movie One Week Piano Mover (uncredited) 1920-08-29
Movie Convict 13 Prisoner / Prisonnier 1920-10-27
Movie Neighbors Her Father (uncredited) 1920-12-12
Movie The Scarecrow Farmhand (uncredited) 1920-11-07