Big Joe Roberts was an old vaudeville friend of Buster Keaton’s family, and had known Buster since he was a child. When Buster became a star of his own series in 1920, he immediately hired Roberts to play his heavy.
In 1923, Roberts suffered a stroke during the shooting of the Keaton feature, OUR HOSPITALITY. Despite his failing health, he insisted on finishing the picture and passed away before the film’s release.
Just as Chaplin never found a fitting substitute for Eric Campbell after his death, neither was Keaton able to replace Big Joe Roberts. Both comic foils were irreplaceable
- Neighbors (1921) – Episode 09