Pearl White was born March 4, 1889, in Greenridge,
Mo. She began her acting career with the Diemer Stock Company
in Greenridge and toured through the Midwest. She married actor
Victor Sutherland in 1907, but they were divorced in 1914. While
doing stock work in Connecticut, she began making films with the
Powers Stock Company in 1910. In 1911, she joined the Lubin Film
Company in Philadelphia. She was fired from Lubin, then went to
Pathé for a short time followed by the Crystal Film Company
in New York. She stayed busy at Crystal, m developing a loyal
fan following, until going back to Pathé in 1914. There
she made the famous "Perils of Pauline," a 20-chapter
serial that ran from March until December. This established her
as the queen of serials and a major star. Unfortunately, she injured
her back making the serial when co-star Paul Panzer was carrying
her up some stairs and fell over backward. The injury was to plague
her for many years to come, and many believe contributed to her
early death. She made three more serials in 1915, all as "Elaine,"
rather than "Pearl" "The Exploits of Elaine,"
"The New Exploits of Elaine," and "The Romance
of Elaine." Pathé continued to star her in serials,
and she made six more between 1916 and 1920. In 1919, she married
actor and dancer Walter McCutcheon, but they divorced in 1921.
Tiring of serials, she signed with Fox in 1920 and made nine films
for them between 1920 and 1922, none very memorable. She made
one more serial, "Plunder," for Pathé in 1923.
She left for Europe after this and starred in one French-made
film, "Terror" (released in the U.S. as ""The
Perils of Paris") in 1924. Although this ended her film career,
she did continue acting on the stage in France and England. She
also purchased the Hotel de Paris in Biarritz, which she ran for
several years, and a nightclub in Paris. She also invested in
racing horses and trust funds and remained a wealthy woman throughout
the Depression. She married Greek millionaire Theodore Cossika
and spent many years traveling around the world and back and forth
between their homes in France and Egypt. As her old back injury
continued to plague her, she took to alcohol and drugs to relieve
the pain. She died at the American Hospital in Paris Aug. 4, 1938.
Selected films of this star available for viewing:
Perils of Pauline (1914)
The Exploits of Elaine (1915)
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