John Hamilton (actor)

For other people named John Hamilton, see John Hamilton (disambiguation).
John Hamilton
Born John Rummel Hamilton
(1887-01-16)January 16, 1887
Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Died October 15, 1958(1958-10-15) (aged 71)
Glendale, California, U.S.
Years active 1930–1958
Known for Fictional character Perry White in Adventures of Superman (1952–1958)
Spouse(s) Elizabeth J. Greenhow (?-?) (divorced) (1 child)

John Hamilton (January 16, 1887 – October 15, 1958) was an American actor, who played in many movies and television programs. He is probably remembered best for his role as the blustery newspaper editor Perry White for the 1950s television program Adventures of Superman.


John Hamilton was born John Rummel Hamilton in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania to John M. Hamilton and his wife Cornelia J. (Hollar) Hamilton. Hamilton was the youngest of four children, and his mother died eight days after his birth. His father remarried and Rosa, his stepmother, was the only mother the young Hamilton knew.[1] Hamilton grew up in neighboring Southampton Township Pennsylvania, where his father worked as a store clerk.

Hamilton's father was also appointed Shippensburg's trustee for the State Superintendent of Public Education, so it was a foregone conclusion that Hamilton would receive extensive schooling. Unlike most others of his generation and background (Southampton being a farming community), Hamilton attended college-- Dickinson College and Shippensburg State Teacher's College. However, he opted to forego teaching for a stage career.

After becoming an actor, he worked for Broadway plays and in touring theatrical companies for many years prior to his 1930 movie debut. He was in the original Broadway company of the 1922 play Seventh Heaven and would appear in the movie remake (Seventh Heaven) during 1937. He featured with Donald Meek in a series of short mysteries based on S.S. Van Dine stories for Warner Bros. He was often typecast in the role of an authority figure; to wit, prison warden, judge, politician or police chief, but played various types of characters, appearing in more than three hundred movies, movie serials or television programs from the 1930s through the 1950s. Hamilton appeared as a police inspector in the John Huston film In This Our Life in 1942. Modern-day serial fans can see Hamilton's iconic persona already developing as Professor Gordon, the outwardly no-nonsense but secretly compassionate father of young, man-of-action Flash Gordon in Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe (1940). He became much more widely known when he was cast as the irascible Daily Planet newspaper editor Perry White for the 1950s TV classic Adventures of Superman (1951). After that, he appeared in television commercials for a brand of bifocals termed "Inviso No-Line Glasses". (The idea was to render invisible the seam between the lenses "that tells the world you're over forty".)

Hamilton is often confused with John F. Hamilton, a British actor who made a few movies in the United States during the same period, and with several other actors of the same name.


John Hamilton died on October 15, 1958 in Glendale, California of heart failure at the age of 71. He was survived by a son. He was interred in Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

Selected filmography


  1. United States Census records for 1900, Franklin County, Pennsylvania
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