American dancer and actor who was a featured performer in vaudeville, the Broadway stage, motion pictures and television. West was one of those performers who was “born in a suitcase”, as his father John West and mother were both vaudeville performers and he performed with them as a child.
Buster West achieved success in vaudeville and the legitimate stage as an eccentric dancer, achieving his breakthrough in the Broadway musical revue George White’s Scandals of 1926. One of the stars of that show was another eccentric dancer, Tom Patricola, with whom West would star in short comedies made by the Educational Film Corporation of America, one of the lower-tier production companies in the film industry’s Poverty Row. Though he made his film debut as himself in a cameo in Broadway After Dark (1924), the bulk of his movie career was spent in shorts made between 1929 and 1938. He made only one more film, in 1949.
In 1944, he co-starred with Jackie Gleason in the musical Follow the Girls, a smash hit that ran for 888 performances. His next (and last) Broadway appearance was in another smash, The Pajama Game, when he replaced Eddie Foy, Jr. in one of the leads.
West was married to the acrobatic dancer and film actress Lucille Page, with whom he appeared with in vaudeville in Berdell and Wellington and in the short Moonlight and Melody (1935). Lucille died in 1964, while Buster died in 1966 from brain cancer. He was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Hollywood Hills) in the Hollywood Hills.
- March, 31, 1901
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- March, 19, 1966
- Encino, California
Cause of Death
- brain cancer
- Forest Lawn Memorial Park