Long before the American film had found its voice, comely, blonde, blue-eyed Pearl White had risen from circus bareback rider to typify the ultimate in cinematic thrills — without benefit of a double.
Perhaps the greatest of her many serials was "The Perils of Pauline," packed with hair-breadth escapes from death or a fate even worse.
White was twice married but each marriage ended in divorce. Her first husband was Victor Sutherland, an actor. They separated in 1914. Her second marriage, to Wallace McCutcheon, resulted in a divorce in 1921. Seven years later, McCutcheon was found dead in Hollywood of a self-inflicted bullet wound.
White was born in Green Ridge, Mo. At the age of 6, she made her debut as Little Eva in "Uncle Tom's Cabin." As Little Eva she earned $5 a week for her parents.
At 13, she became a circus bareback rider. For several years she was on the stage, and in 1913, she made her debut in the infant film industry.
Before she retired, she was earning $375,000 a year.