Pearl White

Active - 1914 - 1962  |   Born - Mar 4, 1889 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France  |   Died - Aug 4, 1938   |   Genres - Drama

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Biography by Sandra Brennan

Actress Pearl White is best remembered as the silent screen heroine in the enormously popular Perils of Pauline serials that began in 1914. She was born a farmer's daughter in Green Ridge, Missouri. At age six, she played Little Eva in Uncle Tom's Cabin. This lead to many other child leads, the earnings from which allowed her to buy a horse. At 13, she became a circus equestrienne until she fell off a horse and suffered a serious spinal injury. She left the circus and joined travelling troupes and performed in stock theater, but never did make it to Broadway. Instead she took a secretary job with a small film company where she was noticed by director Joseph A. Golden who was frantically searching to replace the female lead of his newest western The Life of Buffalo Bill. White was a hit, and went on to star in over 100 one-two reel comedies, adventures, and westerns for several studios, frequently co-starring with Paul Panzer and Henry B. Walthall. She then went on to do Pauline where she often performed her own stunts. When they were too dangerous (her spinal injury kept her from being overly daring), slightly built men doubled for her. At her peak, White was more popular than Mary Pickford for several years. Following Pauline, she continued in other serials until 1920, when she moved to Fox so she could try her hand at becoming a dramatic leading lady. Unfortunately, she was not popular and returned to serials in 1923. In 1924 she made her final film in France and retired. She lived there for the rest of her life.

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