Eleanor Norris Keaton, widow of comic silent screen star Buster Keaton, died Monday of emphysema and lung cancer at the Motion Picture & Television Fund Foundation. She was 80.
She grew up in Hollywood, where her father was a studio electrician. As a youth, she danced in numerous MGM musicals and met Keaton on the Metro lot. They were married July 28, 1940, when she was 21.
During their 26 years of marriage, the Keatons worked together on stage and on live television. Following her husband’s death from lung cancer in 1966, she worked as a beautician and later raised champion Saint Bernard dogs, including those used in the “Beethoven” films.
She worked tirelessly to insure her husband’s legacy as a cinematic genius remained intact, and she was an honorary member of the Sons of the Desert (the Laurel and Hardy fan club) and the Damfinos: the International Buster Keaton Society.
She is survived by two nephews, Rick and Randy Kelly.