Pearl White (1889-1938)

Pearl White - Silent Film Star

Silent film star Pearl White was born Pearl Fay White in Green Ridge, Missouri on March 4th, 1889. She was one of five children born to a farmer and his wife, the wife dying when Pearl was only three years old. The father moved the family to Springfield, Missouri to try and better their circumstances, but money remained tight. To make extra income, Pearl went on the stage starting at the age of six, playing Little Eva in a production of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”. At age thirteen Pearl became a circus equestrienne, but a spinal injury forced her to quit. While she was in high school she joined the Diemer Theater company, and performed plays with them at night, then went on the road with various stock companies after graduation. While performing with the Trousdale Stock Company, she met her first husband, actor Victor Sutherland. Their marriage lasted from 1907 through 1914.

Being brought up on a farm made Pearl quite athletic, which indirectly helped her in her early stage and film career; doing her own stunt work impressed both entertainment executives, because it saved them money, since they did not have to hire stunt doubles, and also impressed her audiences. Her good looks and physical abilities won her a role in a Western film entitled “The Girl from Arizona” (1910), and a contract resulted from this experience with the Powers Film Company in New York. Pearl became an international star when she began filming Pathé’s “The Perils of Pauline” series of films starting in 1914. She was for a time the most popular female star in silent films, for a time even topping Mary Pickford’s popularity at the box office. Later in her film career she attempted more dramatic roles, but these films were not as successful. Personal and professional problems (her second husband, director Wallace McCutcheon, had been gassed in World War One, suffered mental problems and eventually committed suicide), and declining health and depression forced Pearl to retire from films in America. She moved to France, hoping to find some measure of peace in her life, made one film there, and then suffered a nervous breakdown, retiring from the screen permanently in 1924. Pearl had written an autobiography entitled “Just Me”, published in 1919. Many critics claimed it was not very factual. She died from cirrhosis of the liver in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France on August 4th, 1938. ~ Copyright © 2004

Vintage Bio from “Who’s Who On The Screen” (1920): “Pearl White was born in Missouri and attracting the attention of a proprietor of a traveling show by reciting Hamlet’s Soliloquy was given a chance to play “Little Eva” in the show’s production of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” She later played with a circus and then entered upon her screen career playing Wild West pictures due to her ability to ride a horse with remarkable skill. She later came into great prominence by playing in the Pathe serial “The Perils of Pauline” and several other serials made by that company. She is now a Fox star and while with this company has completed “The White Moll” and several other photoplays. Miss White is an expert at almost every branch of athletics. She is five feet, six inches high, weighs a hundred and twenty pounds and has light hair and blue eyes.”

Pearl White’s Silent Films

Terreur (1924)
… aka Perils of Paris, The (1924)
Plunder (1923)
Without Fear (1922) …. Ruth Hamilton
Broadway Peacock, The (1922) …. Myrtle May
Any Wife (1922) …. Myrtle (Mrs. John Hill)
Virgin Paradise, A (1921) …. Gratia Latham
Beyond Price (1921) …. Sally Marrio
Know Your Men (1921) …. Ellen Schuyler

Pearl White in The Perils of Pauline with her horses

Pearl White with her horses in “The Perils of Pauline” (1914)

Mountain Woman, The (1921) …. Alexander McGiverns
Thief, The (1920) …. Mary Vantyne
Tiger’s Cub, The (1920) …. Tiger’s Cub
White Moll, The (1920) …. Rhoda, The White Moll
Black Secret, The (1919)
Lightning Raider, The (1919)
King’s Game, The (1918) …. Catherine Dardinilis
House of Hate, The (1918)
Fatal Ring, The (1917) …. Pearl Standish
Mayblossom (1917) …. Anabell Lee
Pearl of the Army (1916)
Out of the Grave (1916)
Iron Claw, The (1916)
Hazel Kirke (1916) …. Hazel Kirke
Lady in Distress, A (1915)
Romance of Elaine, The (1915) …. Elaine Dodge
New Exploits of Elaine, The (1915) …. Elaine
Easy Money (1914)
Going Some (1914)
Mashers, The (1914)
Exploits of Elaine, The (1914) …. Elaine Dodge
Father’s Devotion, A (1914)
Oh! You Mummy (1914)
Pearl’s Mistake (1914) …. Pearl
Some Collectors (1914)
East Lynne in Bugville (1914)
Hand of Providence, The (1914)
Was He a Hero? (1914)
Willie’s Disguise (1914)
What Pearl’s Pearls Did (1914)
Girl in Pants, The (1914)
Her New Hat (1914)
Dancing Craze, The (1914)
Telephone Engagement, A (1914)
Get Out and Get Under (1914)
Lady Doctor, The (1914)
Perils of Pauline, The (1914) …. Pauline Marvin
Lizzie and the Iceman (1914)
McSweeney’s Masterpiece (1914)
Sure Cure, A (1914)
Getting Reuben Back (1914)
For a Woman (1914)
What Didn’t Happen to Mary (1914)
Grateful Outcast, A (1914)
Oh! You Puppy (1914)
Shadow of a Crime, The (1914)
It May Come to This (1914)
Ring, The (1914)
Shadowed (1914)
Lifted Veil, The (1914)
Girls Will Be Boys (1913)
Through Fire and Air (1913)
Will Power (1913)
Kitchen Mechanic, The (1913)
Lure of the Stage, The (1913)
Heart of an Artist, The (1913)
Soubrette, The (1913)
First Love (1913)
Pearl’s Hero (1913)
Woman’s Revenge, A (1913)
Convict’s Daughter, The (1913)
Hubby’s New Coat (1913)
Cabaret Singer, The (1913) …. Madge
Her Secretaries (1913) …. Pearl
Oh! You Pearl (1913)
When Duty Calls (1913)
Hidden Love, A (1913)
Rich Uncle, The (1913)
Robert’s Lesson (1913)
Willie’s Great Scheme (1913)
Hearts Entangled (1913)
Woman and the Law, The (1913)
Dress Reform (1913)
His Last Gamble (1913) …. Pearl Letterell
Pearl and the Poet (1913) …. Pearl
Misplaced Love (1913)
Night in Town, A (1913)
News Item, A (1913)
Pleasing Her Husband (1913)
Some Luck (1913)
Lost in the Night (1913)
Much Ado About Nothing (1913)
His Aunt Emma (1913)
That Crying Baby (1913)
Caught in the Act (1913) …. Mrs. Brown
Greater Influence, The (1913) …. Norah
Pearl and the Tramp (1913)
Oh! You Scotch Lassie (1913) …. Pearl
Starving for Love (1913) …. Mabel
True Chivalry (1913)
Child’s Influence, A (1913)
What Papa Got (1913) …. Pearl
College Chums (1913)
Broken Spell, The (1913)
Hall-Room Girls, The (1913) …. Pearl
Pearl’s Dilemma (1913) …. Pearl Howell, a Young Matron
Girl Reporter, The (1913)
Muchly Engaged (1913)
Hour of Terror, An (1913) …. Mrs. Brown
Paper Doll, The (1913) …. Alice Wilson
Who Is in the Box? (1913)
Smuggled Laces, The (1913)
Call from Home, A (1913)
Her Joke on Belmont (1913)
False Love and True (1913)
New Typist, The (1913)
Mary’s Romance (1913)
Supper for Three, A (1913)
Toodleums (1913)
Homlock Shermes (1913)
Our Willie (1913)
His Awful Daughter (1913)
Oh! Whiskers! (1913)
Pearl as a Detective (1913) …. Pearl
When Love Is Young (1913)
Where Charity Begins (1913)
Joke on the Sheriff, A (1913)
His Romantic Wife (1913)
Two Lunatics (1913)
Our Parents-In-Law (1913)
Veiled Lady, The (1913)
Forgetful Flossie (1913)
Pearl as a Clairvoyant (1913)
Drummer’s Note Book, The (1913)
His Twin Brothers (1913)
Lovers Three (1913)
Who Is the Goat? (1913)
Knights and Ladies (1913)
Ma and the Boys (1913)
Innocent Bridegroom, An (1913)
Schultz’s Lottery Ticket (1913)
That Other Girl (1913)
Awful Scare, An (1913)
Strictly Business (1913)
Her Lady Friend (1913)
Box and Cox (1913)
With Her Rival’s Help (1913)
Accident Insurance (1913)
False Alarm, The (1913)
Pearl’s Admirers (1913)
Dip Into Society, A (1913)
Fake Gas-Man, The (1913)
Heroic Harold (1913)
Night at the Club, A (1913)
Her Kid Sister (1913)
Life of Buffalo Bill, The (1912)
Mad Lover, The (1912)
Mayblossom (1912)
Her Visitor (1912)
His Wife’s Stratagem (1912)
Mind Cure, The (1912)
Tangled Marriage, A (1912)
Spendthrift’s Reform, The (1912) …. The Wife
Locked Out (1912/I)
Quarrel, The (1912/I)
Chorus Girl, The (1912)
Her Old Love (1912)
Gypsy Flirt, The (1912)
Oh, Such a Night! (1912)
Blonde Lady, The (1912)
Pair of Fools, A (1912)
Bella’s Beaus (1912)
Only Woman in Town, The (1912)
Her Dressmaker’s Bills (1912)
McQuirk, the Sleuth (1912)
Man from the North Pole, The (1912)
Girl in the Next Room, The (1912)
Pals (1912)
Hand of Destiny, The (1912)
Arrowmaker’s Daughter, The (1912)
For the Honor of the Name (1912)
Home Sweet Home (1911)
Power of Love, The (1911)
Her Little Slipper (1911)
Lost Necklace, The (1911)
Reporter, The (1911/II)
Love’s Renunciation (1911)
Terms of the Will, The (1911)
Love Molds Labor (1911)
For Massa’s Sake (1911)
Prisoner of the Mohicans, A (1911)
Through the Window (1911)
Memories of the Past (1911)
His Birthday (1911)
Stepsisters, The (1911)
Angel of the Slums, The (1911)
Helping Him Out (1911)
Her Photograph (1910)
Maid of Niagara, The (1910)
When the World Sleeps (1910)
Woman Hater, The (1910/I)
New Magdalene, The (1910)
Woman’s Wit, A (1910)
Summer Flirtation, A (1910)
Music Teacher, The (1910)
Hoodoo, The (1910)
Matinee Idol, The (1910)
Burlesque Queen, The (1910)
Horse Shoer’s Girl, The (1910)
Tommy Gets His Sister Married (1910)
Missing Bridegroom, The (1910)
Girl from Arizona, The (1910)

To learn more about Pearl White visit her profile on The Internet Movie Database


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