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Pierre Watkin

Pierre Watkin

Known For: Acting · Birthday: 1889-12-29 · Deathday: 1960-02-03 (70 years old) · Gender: Male · Place of Birth: Sioux City, Iowa, USA

205 Movies · 22 TV shows

Also Known As: Pierre Frank Watkin · Pierre F. Watkin · Pierre Watkins


Pierre Frank Watkin (December 29, 1887 – February 3, 1960) was an American character actor best known for playing distinguished authority figures throughout the Golden Age of Hollywood. He is best remembered for being the first actor to portray Perry White in both of the Superman serials of the late 1940s, starring with W.C. Fields as Mr. Skinner, the bank president in "The Bank Dick" and as the father of Eleanor Twitched, the lady who captures Lou Gehrig's heart in Pride of the Yankees (1942).


Watkin began performing in the late 1900s as a stage actor. He continued to tour the Midwest with various stock companies, before forming his own theatrical troupe, the Pierre Watkin Players. The group was first headquartered in Sioux City, before moving to Lincoln, Nebraska, in 1927. However, the troupe disassembled when Watkin went East to pursue a Broadway career. The next year, Watkin made his made his Broadway debut in the 1928 play Possession.Following a string of unsuccessful plays, and with many actors moving out West, Watkin moved to California in 1935 to pursue a film career. He made his debut that same year in the Bette Davis film Dangerous, which would be the beginning of a 25-year career. Watkin often appeared in bit roles — many uncredited — as distinguished authority figures. Many of Watkin's more prominent roles came from low-budget poverty row studios, and serials. His first serial came when he starred as the main antagonist in the Universal film serial The Green Hornet Strikes Again!, his first film serial. Watkin would come to appear in prominent roles in several serials; in 1947, Watkin portrayed the role of Uncle Jim Fairfield in the Columbia serial Jack Armstrong. Following this, Columbia cast him as Perry White in their Superman serial. The serial was the first adaption of the character, and was a success. Watkin would reprise his role in a follow-up, Atom Man vs. Superman, in 1950. He also appeared in several Western films for Republic Pictures. At the turn of the decade, Watkin began to segue into television as the medium began gaining popularity. Watkin appeared in several series, such as The Lone Ranger, Cheyenne, The Jack Benny Program, The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin, and The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show. He also made an appearance on I Love Lucy in 1954, portraying book editor Mr. Dorrance in the episode "Lucy Writes a Novel". Watkin appeared as several minor characters in different episodes of Adventures of Superman. When producers were looking to revive the series after its cancellation in 1958, Watkin was cast in the role of Perry White again, replacing the late John Hamilton. However, these plans never came to fruition after the death of series star George Reeves in June 1959.

Personal Life

Watkin first married Christie E. McLennan on August 21, 1909, in Ottawa, Kansas; the two had met while they were apart of a troupe together. They remained married until her death on April 4, 1930. Watkin remarried Mary Hart in Reading, Pennsylvania on September 25, 1932.Watkin died on February 3, 1960, at his home in Hollywood, California, from pneumonia and complications of diabetes.

Early Life

Watkin was born in Afton Township, Iowa, on December 29, 1887 to Charles H. and Elizabeth J. (née Scoles) Watkin. As a young child, his family moved to Sioux City, Iowa, where his parents ran a boarding house for actors. This environment influenced Watkin to go into acting after graduating high school.

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This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "Pierre_Watkin", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.