Jack White (film producer)
White in 1919
March 2, 1897
Budapest, Kingdom of Hungary, Austria Hungary
April 10, 1984 (aged 87)|
North Hollywood, California
|Cause of death||Heart attack|
|Other names||Preston Black|
Pauline Starke (1927–1937)|
Charlotte "Toni" Corsich (1955–1984)
Sam White (brother)|
Jules White (brother)
Ben White (brother)
Leo White (Uncle)
Jack White (born Jacob Weiss, March 2, 1897 – April 10, 1984) was a Hungarian-born American film producer, director and writer. His career in the film industry began in the late 1910s and continued until the early 1960s. White produced over 300 films; directed more than 60 of these, and wrote more than 50. He directed some of his sound comedies under the pseudonym "Preston Black."
Immigrating to America from Hungary in 1905, White and his family lived in Hollywood, California. A nearby stable was used to engage in the new business of motion pictures. Jack and his three brothers, Jules, Sam, and Ben rode horses as extras in outdoor westerns. This was the start of the brothers' movie careers; they became directors and/or producers. A fourth brother, Ben White, became a cameraman.
In 1926, White produced a comedy short for Educational Pictures, The Radio Bug, directed by Stephen Roberts in both a silent and Phonofilm version. Also in 1926, Jack White hired one of his younger brothers, Jules White, as a film editor. By the 1930s Jules had eclipsed Jack as a leading producer of comedy short subjects, largely with the Three Stooges. In 1935 Jules hired Jack as a writer and director. Jack's first Stooges film was Ants in the Pantry (1936); he worked in Columbia's shorts department through 1937. He rejoined the unit briefly in the early 1940s before serving in the military, then returned to Columbia for good in 1951.
During the 1950s, rising production costs forced Columbia to economize, and reuse sequences from older pictures. Jules White called upon Jack White to write new scripts that plausibly incorporated scenes from some other movie. Jack's biggest challenge was probably the Stooge short Scheming Schemers (released 1956), for which he not only had to insert old scenes from three older Stooge shorts, but he had to write around the absence of co-star Shemp Howard, who had died in 1955. Jack's creative ideas cleverly hid the patchwork; according to Columbia director Edward Bernds, neither audiences nor exhibitors ever noticed the old footage in the new comedies. White worked at Columbia until the comedy shorts unit closed on December 20, 1957.
Jack White married to silent-film actress Pauline Starke in 1927; the marriage was unhappy and they divorced in the mid-1930s. Starke's lawyers pressured White, prompting White to adopt the "Preston Black" pseudonym to avoid further distress.
White died on April 10, 1984.
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