Created in 1940 for the SUPERMAN radio series as a replacement for the comic book’s Daily Star/Planet editor George Taylor, the character was created to suit character actor Julian Noa’s blustery talents. Noa played Perry White until the various radio series’ versions (the syndicated SUPERMAN and Mutal/ABC network ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN daily and weekly shows) ended in 1951.
On screen, Perry White was played in the 1948 and 1950 Columbia Studios SUPERMAN serials by Pierre Watkins. John Hamilton played a memorable crusty but avuncular editor White in the 1950’s George Reeves-starring series THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN.
Jackie Cooper took on the role of Perry White in the Warner Brothers SUPERMAN: The Movie and the the rest of the Christopher Reeve-starring films. Lane Smith gave the role a southern flavor in the 1990’s ABC TV series LOIS AND CLARK: THE NEW ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN.
Michael McKean showed up as a younger, realtively immature Perry White in several episodes of WB/CW Network’s SMALLVILLE, and Frank Langella (DRACULA) took on the role in Brian Singer’s SUPERMAN RETURNS.