- "Great Caesar's ghost!"
- — Perry's catchphrase, Hostage
Perry "The Pit Bull" White is the Editor-in-Chief for the Daily Planet. Prior to that, he was a disgraced reporter. But after witnessing and becoming inspired by Clark Kent's selflessness, Perry vowed to turn over a new leaf, sober up and get his career back on track. Years later, he is once again writing articles for the Daily Planet, dating Martha Kent and befriended and teamed up with Lois Lane.
Eventually, Perry finds his rightful place as the Editor-in-Chief of the Daily Planet with an impressive staff and a solid key reporting team: Lois, Clark and Jimmy Olsen.
When Perry first appeared in Season Three, he was drunk. He was unshaven, he had brownish blond hair, and frequently wore suits.
When he re-appeared in Season Nine, Perry was shaven, still wore suits, but was showing his age, now having gray hair. He also mistakenly wore Jonathan Kent's signature jacket for a moment, unknowing that it would upset Martha Kent.
Perry White is nicknamed "the Pitbull" for various reasons. The man has a very abrasive, some may say irritating attitude and can be damn annoying when trying to fish for a story (as he was to Lana, Red Queen, and Lois a few times in the future). Despite being divorced more than once and struggling to develop a more positive relationship with Clark, there is a surprisingly caring man underneath all that bravura, a person with genuine honor and compassion whom Clark Kent and Lois Lane wouldn't have any problem working for.
While a very flawed man, Perry could show his potential for aspiring to be better. When he finally gave up alcohol after a good kick in the rear by a teenage Clark, White had the decency to ask permission in proposing marriage to Martha and had the unending honor to repay his long-owed favor to Kent by restoring his and Lane's jobs at the Daily Planet. He also showed his bold determination for never giving up on a story when writing an article on Lionel's conviction once another source of his past indiscretions put him in prison, his pursuit for Checkmate's unofficial Red Queen took him overseas for several months, until finally he'd become the top contender for Franklin Stern's choice in replacing Randall Brady as the Daily Planet's Editor & Chief.
At the end of the day, while a very stern man who tries not to let his guard down too often around the next generation of his field, Perry is doing his best in helping along those he feels will best suit the world's most legendary newspaper. Giving a very young Chloe some valuable advice on journalism, repaying his favor to Clark, taking on Lois as a kinda protege following their initial Red Queen escapade, all on top of one day recruiting a very young James Olsen possibly before or just after finishing high school. He can be annoying on the surface, but he can also be quite the hero when least expected.
Perry White was born in Metropolis's Suicide Slums area and grew up without a father. He grew up with a love for journalism and got his dream job of becoming a reporter for the Daily Planet. His first job in print was as a proofreader in New York. He got a reputation as being a star reporter and began working on a story about Lionel Luthor's corruption and tried to get information from his son Lex Luthor while he was at school. Because of that, Lionel managed to get Perry fired and disgraced as a reporter. Since then, he descended into alcoholism, drinking excessively and worked for the Metropolis Inquisitor and then for the television program X-Styles.
- "I spent the morning combing through police records and newspaper stories. You're Johnny on the Spot, Clark. You're Smallville's own hero on deck."
- — Perry to Clark, Perry
Wanting to check out strange phenomena related to the meteor shower in Smallville, Perry met Clark Kent in Smallville after the former was saved from some fallen electrical lines. Perry was suspicious when Clark rescued him. When at the Torch, Perry is introduced to Chloe Sullivan who reveals to Clark just who Perry White is.
After pestering Lana Lang for an interview, Lex Luthor ran him out of town. When his interest shifted from the meteor shower to Clark, he offered to trade Lex the evidence he had on Lionel Luthor in return for whatever Lex has on Clark, to which Lex refused. Perry then orchestrated a plot to expose Clark by jumping into Saunders Gorge but Perry and Clark ended up dangling perilously from the viewpoint (unknown to Perry, recent solar flare activity had disrupted Clark's powers and rendered him temporarily powerless). Fortunately, Lana and Pete Ross managed to haul them up just before Clark's strength wore out.
Inspired by Clark's selfless and heroic example, Perry vowed to turn over a new leaf and returned to Metropolis to find his friends at the Daily Planet and rebuild his career. He also began the journey of going sober, while encouraging Clark to stick with his interest in journalism and promised to help him out if he ever came to Metropolis.
Later, it is revealed that Perry has gotten a job at the Daily Planet and wrote an article about Lionel's conviction.
Two years later, Perry wrote another article about Lionel's conviction.
- "This is your lucky day, kid. The big break most people dream about. You get to write a story with Perry White."
- — Perry to Lois, Hostage
Perry began dating Martha Kent and was soon following up on a story about the Red Queen (who is in truth Martha herself unknown to Perry) and about aliens invading earth and a mysterious object called the Book of Rao.
After Perry and Martha visited the Kent Farm, he revealed to Lois Lane about his story involving Checkmate's castle burning down and the Red Queen. Then Lois showed the drawing of the Book of Rao and they realized that both their stories were the same and team-up. Later, Clark and Perry had a talk in which Perry told Clark that he's going to ask Martha to marry him. At dinner that night, Lois left and Perry soon followed, primarily so as to investigate the Red Queen case.
When Lois and Perry got to the Talon, they found that it had been broken into. Lois got her Checkmate cellphone and called a Checkmate operative. The operative told them that it was just a fast-food place and hung up. A few minutes later, the man called back and gave Perry the address to meet the Red Queen. When Perry and Lois were waiting, they saw the Red Queen on a rooftop.
When Lois got up, Perry struggled to get on the roof and hit a sign on the building and it fell toward crowds of people. Lois pulled Perry up as the Blur saved the people. When Perry finally got up, it was too late, the Red Queen was gone.
After writing their story Perry finally repaid his debt to Clark and got Lois and Clark's jobs back. He revealed that he was going to Africa so as to follow a false lead regarding the Red Queen and asked Lois to come along to which she declined.
Lois arrives in arrives in Egypt leaving a voicemail on Perry's cell requesting information on her assignment. Meanwhile back in Metropolis, Clark reads the latest edition of the Daily Planet that features an article about Lois and Perry's exploits in Africa. While working in Egypt, Lois calls Perry about her assignment being less than ideal as she's assigned to an archeology dig where she interviews Carter Hall.
Lois mentions to Clark that she has a conference call with Perry.
When Lois tries to get rally support from the citizens of Metropolis to stand up and vote to repeal the VRA, Martha mentions that when Perry had a similar problem when he first started out as a reporter during one of America's darkest time he found a solution. Lois then went to the archive room in the Daily Planet and searches through his files until she finds the inspiration she needed and with the help of Chloe and they used the internet as a way for supporters to leave encouraging messages to the Blur.
Currently the Editor-in-Chief of the International bureau of The Daily Planet located in London, England. Perry White receives a call from Lois Lane who has been detained for committing assault and battery against a Flight attendant and Air Marshal while on route aboard an airline to Cameroon to find out all she can uncover about the reports regarding a vigilante known as the Angel of the Plateau.
When Martha is attacked by a mysterious cult in Washington DC, Perry get wind of the story and immediately gets exclusive rights for The Daily Planet to write the story by having Lois and Clark fly to Washington DC to cover the story.
Three weeks after the battle with the Monitors, LexCorp holds a major press confrence and Lex introduces the public to a new monument built on the former Watchtower site. In a massive turnout Lex publicly admits that if it weren't for the heroes of earth the universe would be lost. Then Superman makes a speech that is broadcast all over the world. Perry confronts a tearful Martha worried that something has upset her but has she listens to the speech and staring a photo of Jonathan and Clark she feels tremendous pride.
- "Stories don't write themselves, Lane!"
- — Perry to Lois, Finale, Part 2
At some point after 2011 but before 2013, Perry White became Editor-in-Chief of the Daily Planet.
In the year 2013, Perry White assigned Lois to a story on a scandal at the Pentagon.
In the year 2017, after Lois berates Clark (who accidentally time traveled from 2010 thanks to Brainiac 5's Legion ring) for not wearing his glasses, she calls Perry on her cellphone and began arguing with him about her assignment.
By the year 2018, Perry is heard arguing on the phone loudly to Lex Luthor's representative for trying to strong arm the Daily Planet to print or kill stories of his choosing. Outside his office, Lois and Jimmy Olsen hear him and decide not to interrupt him, although Perry apparently hears them and shouts, acknowledging his awareness of their presence as well as uttering his famous catchphrase "Great Caesar's ghost!".
- Season Nine: Salvation (Mentioned only)
- Season Ten: Homecoming (Mentioned only), Collateral (Mentioned only), Beacon (Mentioned only) Finale, Part 2 (flashback and voice)
- Season Eleven: Valkyrie, Olympus (Mentioned only)
- Smallville Miniseries: Continuity
In the Comics
In the comics, Perry White is the editor-in-chief of the Daily Planet who hires Clark Kent when he arrives in Metropolis. His star reporter is Lois Lane, who idealized Perry's mythic reporting reputation from a young age. White was impressed with Clark's ability to scoop Lois on the paper's first story introducing Superman to the city.
Perry temporarily was forced to step down from the Planet after suffering from Cancer caused by years of smoking. During this time, Clark Kent was asked to step into the role of Editor of the Planet. When Perry recovered, he retook his job. Despite this, Perry continues to smoke, although his past history of cancer may have been retconned out of the history.
Bruce Wayne/Batman, who in recent years became owner of the Daily Planet (after buying it from Lex Luthor) believes that White is "too good a reporter" to not have figured out that Clark Kent is Superman. White is known for his hard-lined editing style and appreciation for aggressive confidence. While he feels that Kent lacks these things, Clark makes up for it with his asking difficult questions and his attention to even the smallest detail.
He can usually be found in his office reading proofs and smoking a cigar, often yelling at "LANE! KENT! OLSEN!" to get into his office.
In the New 52, Perry White is the editor-in-chief at The Daily Planet before it is bought out by Morgan Edge under Galaxy Communications. He renames his news media the Planet Global Network and demolishes the old Daily Planet building. Though Perry is still left in charge of the Planet's print journalism division continuing as the editor-in-chief with Clark Kent and Ron Troupe as his top reporters. But he is now working under his publisher Ms. Izquierdo.
- Perry White mentions that he is a reporter for the TV show X Styles, a parody of the popular television show The X-Files. Michael McKean, who portrayed White, appeared on an episode of The X-Files as a Men in Black operative who switched bodies with the show's main character, Fox Mulder.
- Perry White's first appearance was in Superman #7 (1940).
- Curiously, Clark Kent seems to get a job at the Daily Planet in Season Eight without asking Perry White for help. But the fact that he bypassed the mail room, where Lois assumed he would start, could show that perhaps Perry used his own influence to get Clark a position as a reporter, but it was later revealed that when Perry got Lois and Clark's jobs back that he considered it the favor he has owed Clark.
- While in the comics Clark and Perry have a close friendship, in which Clark often looks up to Perry as a mentor, in Smallville, Clark is always shown to be cold and distant to Perry due to the fact that Perry was an alcoholic and once tried to expose his secret. In his second appearance, Clark continues to behave cool towards Perry, particularly due to the fact that Perry is Martha's new boyfriend.
- In the comics Perry and Lois have a father/daughter relationship, in which Perry treats Lois like she would have like to have been treated by her own father growing up.
- In the comics, Perry and Martha have never had a romantic relationship.
- According to Perry, he has two ex-wives.
- In his second appearance, there were references to Perry's famous catch phrase from the comics, as "Great Caesar's Ghost!" is said by Perry.
- Lois refers to him as "Chief" which is his nickname in the comics.
- Michael McKean (the actor who plays Perry White) is married to Annette O'Toole (the actress who plays Martha Kent).
- Michael McKean played a guest role on Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.
- Although Michael McKean did not appear in the series finale, he did record dialogue for the episode which involved Perry White screaming for Lois Lane from his office as Editor of the Daily Planet in the year 2018.
- In the film Superman Returns, Perry has a nephew named Richard White, who is the fiancé of Lois Lane and the foster father of her son with Superman, Jason White. Perry also had a son named T.J. (Trevor Jenkins) White, who appeared in the TV series Superboy and was Clark Kent's roommate.
Other faces of Perry White