John Sylvester White

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John Sylvester White
John Sylvester White Jr.

(1919-10-31)October 31, 1919
DiedSeptember 11, 1988(1988-09-11) (aged 68)
Waikiki, Hawaii, United States
Years active1951–1952
Spouse(s)Joan Alexander

John Sylvester White Jr. (October 31, 1919 – September 11, 1988) was an American actor.[1]

Early life[edit]

John Sylvester White was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania but grew up in the new town of Colmar Manor, Maryland, a bedroom community suburb of northeast Washington, D.C., where his father, an attorney also of the same name, was elected the first mayor of the community in July 1927.[2]

Acting career[edit]

Before becoming known in the 1970s as the assistant principal (and later head principal) Mr. Woodman on the sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter, White had been best known for his starring role as Keith Barron, the first husband of Mary Stuart's character Joanne Gardner on the television soap opera Search for Tomorrow from 1951 to 1952. Starting in 1970, he had guest appearances on various television shows, including Kojak and Baretta, and TV movies such as The Marcus-Nelson Murders,[3] before landing a recurring role on the Kotter show.[1] In 1983, he appeared as Mr. Vogelman, the proprietor of the Raytown Travel Agency in the episode titled "Mama Gets a Job" (Season 1 - Episode 7) on Mama's Family.

White married Joan Stanton, known as Joan Alexander in the 1940s when she was the voice of Lois Lane on the radio version of "The Adventures of Superman", in 1944. They later divorced.[4] White moved to Hawaii in the early 1980s.[3]


He died on September 11, 1988, from pancreatic cancer in Waikiki, Hawaii at the age of 68.


Year Title Role Notes
1975-1979 Welcome Back, Kotter Mr. Michael Woodman 94 episodes
1984 E. Nick: A Legend in His Own Mind Harry (final film role)


  1. ^ a b The New York Times
  2. ^ History of Colmar Manor Maryland
  3. ^ a b "John Sylvester White, TV actor, 68, dies here", The Honolulu Advertiser (September 13, 1988), p. D-2.
  4. ^ Dunning, John (1998). On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-time Radio. US: Oxford University Press. pp. 14, 17. ISBN 0-19-507678-8.

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