Claimed he got his nickname from Harry Houdini, who after seeing the then-6-month-old fall down some stairs unscathed, said that the boy could "really take a buster."
Was typically left with caretakers while his parents performed their vaudeville routines, until a series of incidents (including losing part of his finger to a wire hanger and being sucked out of a window by a cyclone) convinced them that he would be safer on stage.
Made his official professional debut in 1900 when he was 5 years old.
Was often subjected to physical examinations by the police and politicians who accused his parents of child labor law violations and being too rough on the boy during their stage act.
Became interested in filmmaking after dismantling a movie camera to see how it worked.
Was advised against signing with MGM by Charlie Chaplin, who warned him that he would never again have control over his films.
Finished work on Richard Lester’s A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum shortly before his death.