Perry White

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Perry White
Perry White, as seen on the cover of The World of Metropolis #1 (August 1988).
Art by John Byrne, Dick Giordano, and Tom Ziuko.
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
First appearanceThe Adventures of Superman
"Clark Kent, Reporter (February 14, 1940)"
First comic appearanceSuperman #7 (November 1940)
Created by
In-story information
Team affiliationsDaily Planet
Galaxy Communications
Supporting character ofSuperman
Lois Lane
Jimmy Olsen

Perry White is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. He is the editor-in-chief of the Metropolis newspaper the Daily Planet.[1] The character maintains very high ethical and journalistic standards and is an archetypal image of the tough, irascible, but fair-minded boss.[2]

In film, the character has been portrayed by Pierre Watkin in the Superman serial, Jackie Cooper in 1978's Superman movie and its sequels, Frank Langella in Superman Returns, Laurence Fishburne in the DC Extended Universe, and Wendell Pierce in the upcoming DC Universe (DCU) film Superman (2025). In television, John Hamilton and Lane Smith in played the character in Adventures of Superman and Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, respectively, and Paul Jarrett in the series Superman & Lois.

Publication history[edit]

The character Perry White was created for the radio serial The Adventures of Superman, voiced by actor Julian Noa. He first appeared in the second episode, "Clark Kent, Reporter", which aired on February 14, 1940. The character was introduced into the comic books later that year, appearing in Superman #7 (November 1940). Since then, the character has continued to appear in Superman and other comic books on a continual basis, and has been a regular supporting character in both live-action and animated films and television programs over eight decades.

He is well-known for the catchphrases "Great Caesar's ghost!" and "Don't call me 'chief!'".

Fictional character biography[edit]

Golden and Silver Age[edit]

The earliest Superman comics depict Clark Kent and Lois Lane working for the newspaper the Daily Star, under an editor named George Taylor. However, after Perry White's introduction in the Adventures of Superman radio series, the character was incorporated into the comic books, appearing as the editor of a newly renamed the Daily Planet.[3] No in-story explanation for this change was given at the time, and neither George Taylor nor the Daily Star were mentioned again for many years.

After the establishment of the multiverse in the 1960s, Taylor and the Daily Star were retroactively placed on "Earth-Two", (the setting of DC's Golden Age comics), while White and the Daily Planet were placed on Earth-One (the Silver Age universe). (In the real world, Perry White and the Planet were both created during comics' Golden Age.) A Perry White also existed on Earth-Two: There, he is a lead reporter for the Daily Star and, according to a Superman Family tale, has "filled in" as editor from time to time while Taylor was away.

Prior to the sweeping continuity changes detailed in Crisis on Infinite Earths, The Man of Steel, and other comics published after 1986, Perry White is depicted as having been a freelance reporter for various newspapers, including a Chicago newspaper[4] and Gotham City's Gotham Gazette.[5] In The Adventures of Superman, it was also established that White had a law degree but had never practiced law, journalism having a greater attraction for him. However, this detail from the radio show was rarely, if ever, touched upon in comics.[6]

White eventually goes to work at the Daily Planet as a reporter, and earns his first Pulitzer Prize by being the first to write about Superboy's extraterrestrial origins, thanks to an exclusive interview with the Boy of Steel.[7]

Later, Perry's reporting skills earn further praise after he is the first to discover that Superboy has moved to Metropolis from Smallville. (Superboy had intended to keep his move quiet for an undefined period of time, so as not to alert anyone to Superboy and Clark Kent leaving Smallville at the same time.)[8]

Finally, during Clark Kent's junior year of college, Perry is promoted to editor-in-chief of the newspaper, after the retirement of the paper's previous editor, the Earth-One version of George Taylor.[9]

In the early 1970s, the Daily Planet is bought by Morgan Edge, president of the media conglomerate Galaxy Communications, with much of Perry's power in running the paper overtaken by Edge.[10] In the months just prior to the Crisis "reboot" in 1985, it is implied that Perry White is beginning to succumb to Alzheimer's disease, manifesting in increased forgetfulness and confusion.[volume & issue needed]

Post-Crisis (1986-2011)[edit]

With writer John Byrne's post-Crisis on Infinite Earths revamp of Superman's origin in the Man of Steel miniseries and his subsequent Superman comics, Perry White's history was altered and fleshed out more fully.

Post-Crisis, White was born in Metropolis' Suicide Slum area, growing up with a father missing in action in an overseas war. White goes to school with Lex Luthor while they are children (Luthor was also born in Suicide Slum) and becomes a copy boy at the Daily Planet, beginning a lifetime career that will take him up the newspaper's ladder.

After Luthor becomes a successful businessman, he begins diversifying his holdings in his newly founded LexCorp company, which includes buying the Daily Planet. Luthor soon sells it after deciding to pursue technology and television investments. Turning down an offer from Luthor to become part of Luthor's new television station WLEX, White finds an investor who saves the Daily Planet, on the condition that Perry is promoted from reporter to managing editor. The entire episode, including being forced out of his active reporting career, leaves White bitter and angry with Luthor.

White marries Alice Spencer and has a son, Jerry White. Much later, after Jerry is fully grown, Perry learns that Luthor is Jerry's biological father; Luthor having seduced and impregnated Alice while Perry was overseas reporting on a war and thought to have been killed.

In subsequent years as managing editor and then editor-in-chief of The Daily Planet, White goes on to hire such staffers as Lois Lane, Clark Kent, Jimmy Olsen, Catherine Grant, Ron Troupe, and others. The Planet, meanwhile, is established as a paper of record, breaking such stories as Superman's debut, multiple alien invasions, and the death and subsequent return of Superman. During this time, White becomes increasingly estranged from his son Jerry, who ultimately dies from a gunshot wound. Perry and Alice grieve for some time, resulting in Perry taking a leave of absence from the Daily Planet.

Later, the Whites adopt an orphaned African-American boy named Keith Robert Parks, who soon has his name changed to Keith Robert White. At about this time, Perry takes another leave of absence for lung cancer treatment, putting Clark Kent in charge as the Planet's temporary editor. After many grueling months of chemotherapy, the cancer goes into remission. (Perry White had been depicted in all media as a habitual cigar smoker for decades.)

During a period of financial struggle for the Planet, its owner, Franklin Stern, sells the paper back to Luthor. Luthor, acting out of malice, shuts the paper down and fires everyone except Lane, Olsen, and two others who are relocated to Lexcom, Luthor's new Internet-based news company. Shortly thereafter, Luthor sells the Planet to Bruce Wayne for $1 (thanks to a secret deal made with Lane). White is hired back as editor-in-chief, and the entire former staff is hired back as well.

Though Perry White's knowledge of Clark Kent's alter ego is uncertain, he has found his star reporter's clothes in a supply closet, including his passport. For this reason, it is implied that White may well suspect that Kent is Superman, but he has never confided this suspicion or knowledge to anybody. For his own part, Batman believes that White knows ("Perry White is too good a reporter not to have uncovered Clark's secret. And yet, he acts otherwise... reminding me how good a detective Jim Gordon is back in Gotham City..." -Batman: Hush).

Changes to Superman continuity were introduced in the 2003-2004 miniseries Superman: Birthright, and then again in 2010's Superman: Secret Origin. These changes may have affected details of Perry White's life as related above. However, any details not directly contradicted by those stories or subsequent comics prior to 2011 are assumed to be within the character's continuity.

Since 2011's Flashpoint, 2013's Rebirth, and 2022's Dark Crisis, the entirety of DC Comics continuity has been rewritten, erased, and reintroduced multiple times, subsequently altering the Perry White character further.

New 52[edit]

When Superman's identity is exposed by Lois to protect Clark from being blackmailed by a secret conspiracy, Perry fires Clark, outraged and bitter at the perceived betrayal, accusing Clark of only working at the Planet so that he can profit from his own headlines.

When the Superman of this reality dies, he is replaced by his predecessor from the pre-Flashpoint universe, while Mister Mxyzptlk impersonates Clark Kent to create the illusion that the previous revelation of Superman's identity was an elaborate fake. This storyline culminates in the displaced Lois and Clark merging with the essence of their counterparts in this universe, creating a new timeline where Lois and Clark took a leave of absence from the Planet to raise their newborn son Jon Kent, with Perry as his godfather.

In the "Watchmen" sequel "Doomsday Clock", Perry White has changed the name of the article revolving around "The Superman Theory" much to the dismay of Lois Lane at the time when she and Clark Kent think that someone is pulling the strings behind this theory.[11]

When Clark decides to go public with his identity, Perry is one of the first people he tells, with his friend warmly accepting the revelation in this version of events.

When Lex Luthor uses Manchester Black to erase all public knowledge of Superman's secret identity, Perry is the first to demonstrate what will happen if anyone is reminded of this secret; Black's telepathic command nearly causes Perry to have a seizure as his brain can no longer accept the idea that Superman and Clark Kent are the same person.[12]

Other versions[edit]

  • In the limited comic series DC Universe Online: Legends, Perry White was captured, alongside Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen, in the Daily Planet by Brainiac, but was saved by Superman, with Lex Luthor in possession of the canister containing them.[13][14] Later, Perry became one of the people who has gained metahuman abilities from Braniac's Exobytes, transforming his body into a being of Ice and granting him Ice powers, which has surprised him.[15] Later he adopted the code name Frost.[16]
  • In the limited series All-Star Superman, Perry remains the boss of the Daily Planet and publishes an article that incriminates Lex Luthor, resulting in his arrest and sentenced execution.
  • In the limited series Superman: Red Son, Perry is the editor-in-chief of the Daily Planet, eventually succeeded by Lois Luthor.
  • In the tie-in comic to Young Justice, Perry is at Bibbo's Diner, where Bibbo comments on the behavior of his other guests, but Perry doesn't respond. Five years later, Perry was at the front door of the Daily Planet when a spaceship launched a device that hovered over Metropolis, burrowing into the ground. Perry walks over to the crater and watches as it starts digging a hole through the ground.

In other media[edit]



  • Perry White appears in Adventures of Superman, portrayed by John Hamilton. The series originated the character's iconic phrases of "Great Caesar's ghost!" and "Don't call me chief". Additionally, its version of White has a sister, Kate, and a nephew, Chris.
  • Perry White appears in It's a Bird... It's a Plane... It's Superman, portrayed by Allen Ludden.
  • Perry White's son, T. J. White, was a supporting character in the Superboy television series. Perry White himself never appeared in the show; however, he did appear in the second issue of the tie-in comic book series, in which T.J. was kidnapped by an organized crime family on which Perry did an exposé.
  • Perry White appears in the 1990s television series Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, portrayed by Lane Smith. Perry was a Baby Boomer with an abiding fondness for rock and roll, particularly Elvis Presley. Instead of "Great Caesar's ghost!", he sometimes said "Great shades of Elvis!", and the comics briefly followed suit. In a subplot that carried over many episodes, Perry is portrayed as having marital difficulties with his wife Alice due to his dedication to the paper. The couple later reunites just before the series finale.
  • Perry White appears in Smallville, portrayed by Michael McKean. In this show, he is a multiple Pulitzer-nominated reporter formerly working for the Daily Planet, who gets reduced to tabloid television after attempting to expose Lionel Luthor's corrupt dealings. He attempts to regain some of his old reputation by exposing Clark's powers, but the plan backfires when a solar flare temporarily nullifies Clark's abilities, although Clark's subsequent heroism despite his currently-powerless status prompts Perry to both abandon the idea that Clark has powers and cause him to consider turning over a new leaf. The season 4 episode "Gone" that Perry is working his way back up with an article on Lionel's conviction. He reprised his role in the season 9 episode "Hostage" as the new boyfriend of Senator Martha Kent, who returns from Washington to visit her son Clark. In the series finale, it is shown that Perry White became the editor-in-chief of the Daily Planet.
  • Perry White appears in the pilot episode of Superman & Lois portrayed by Paul Jarrett. He is seen in the earlier part of the episode giving Clark a tour of the Daily Planet and partnering him with Lois Lane. In the present, Perry is no longer the editor-in-chief due to the Daily Planet being bought out by Morgan Edge who had his minion Samuel Foswell be the new editor-in-chief.


  • Pierre Watkin played Perry White, in the serials Superman (1948) and Atom Man vs. Superman (1950).
  • In the 1978 film Superman: The Movie (and its three sequels from the 1980s), Jackie Cooper played Perry as a tough character, who never let his reporters forget he had worked for the Planet nearly all his life. The "don't call me 'chief'" line was worked into a gag about ordering coffee, and became "don't call me 'sugar'!" (when he orders a coffee with sugar, and Jimmy Olsen calls him "chief" and he tells him not to call him "sugar"). Cooper's Perry was also fond of aphorisms such as "A good reporter doesn't get great stories — a good reporter makes them great." In the commentary track for Superman, director Richard Donner reveals that Cooper got the role because he had a passport, and thus was able to be on set in a few hours, after Keenan Wynn, who was originally cast, suffered a heart attack.
  • In Bryan Singer's Superman Returns, Perry White was originally going to be portrayed by Hugh Laurie, but when it was determined that there would be a schedule conflict involving Laurie's TV series House (which was, incidentally, executive produced by Singer), Laurie was forced to drop out and Frank Langella stepped in to play Perry White. In this film, Perry has a nephew, Richard White, who is engaged to Lois and serves as a father figure to her son Jason, although it is implied over the course of the film that Jason's biological father is Superman himself.
  • Laurence Fishburne portrays Perry White in the DC Extended Universe:
    • In Man of Steel, while his position does not deviate from the comics, his view of Superman is somewhat different. Rather than seeing his existence as a major scoop, he believes such a discovery will warrant a negative reaction from the people of Earth. When a blogger that Lois Lane met with about Superman appears on TV and mentions Lois' encounter with him, Perry White calls up Lois stating that the FBI have visited the Daily Planet and advises her to turn herself over to them. At the film's climax, he and Steve Lombard aid a reporter named Jenny Jurwich when she is trapped under debris. At the end of the film, White introduces Lois and Lombard to Clark.
    • In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, he tries to convince Clark to focus on publishing a sports article rather than investigate the actions of Batman in Gotham. When Superman is killed, Perry is shown holding a paper which has both Superman and Clark Kent's deaths published (with a cover-up story by Lois claiming that Clark was a bystander killed in the fight against Doomsday) and silently mourned for their deaths. In the Ultimate Edition, Perry and fellow reporter Jenny Jurwich attend Clark Kent's funeral in Smallville.
  • Wendell Pierce will portray Perry White in the DC Universe (DCU), starting with the 2025 film Superman.

Video games[edit]


  1. ^ Fleisher, Michael L. (2007). The Original Encyclopedia of Comic Book Heroes, Volume Three: Superman. DC Comics. pp. 491–499. ISBN 978-1-4012-1389-3.
  2. ^ Cowsill, Alan; Irvine, Alex; Korte, Steve; Manning, Matt; Wiacek, Win; Wilson, Sven (2016). The DC Comics Encyclopedia: The Definitive Guide to the Characters of the DC Universe. DK Publishing. pp. 471–473. ISBN 978-1-4654-5357-0.
  3. ^ Superman #7 (November–December 1940)
  4. ^ Superman #142 (January 1961)
  5. ^ World's Finest Comics #80 (January–February 1956)
  6. ^ Bellum, Robert Leslie. The Adventures of Superman, Episode 4/09, "Dagger Island." First aired May 19, 1956.
  7. ^ The New Adventures of Superboy #12 (December 1980)
  8. ^ Superman #366 (December 1981)
  9. ^ Superman: The Secret Years #4 (May 1985)
  10. ^ Superman #233 (January 1971)
  11. ^ Doomsday Clock #5. DC Comics.
  12. ^ Action Comics #1050
  13. ^ DC Universe Online Legends #2 (April 2011)
  14. ^ DC Universe Online Legends #9 (August 2011)
  15. ^ DC Universe Online Legends #10 (August 2011)
  16. ^ DC Universe Online Legends #20 (February 2012)
  17. ^ Mitovich, Matt Webb (April 6, 2023). "My Adventures With Superman Eyes Summer Release Date — Watch Teaser Trailer for Animated Series". TVLine. Retrieved April 6, 2023.
  18. ^ Mitovich, Matt Webb (June 5, 2023). "My Adventures With Superman Gets Adult Swim and Max Release Dates". TVLine. Retrieved June 5, 2023.
  19. ^ Good, Owen S. (2023-06-05). "My Adventures With Superman looks like the best summer of your life". Polygon. Retrieved 2023-06-07.
  20. ^ Nelson, Samantha (2023-06-26). "My Adventures With Superman Review". IGN. Retrieved 2023-06-27.
  21. ^ "Scooby-Doo! and Krypto, Too! | Trailer | Warner Bros. Entertainment". YouTube. July 27, 2023. Retrieved July 27, 2023.
  22. ^ Lovell, Kevin (July 27, 2023). "'Scooby-Doo! And Krypto, Too!' Trailer, Artwork & Release Details; Arrives On Digital & DVD September 26, 2023 From Warner Bros". Screen-Connections. Retrieved July 27, 2023.

External links[edit]