Jack White (born Jacob Weiss, March 2, 1897 — April 10, 1984) was an American film producer, director and writer. His career with film began in the late 1910s and continued until the early 1960s. White produced over 300 films; directed more than 60 of these, and wrote more than 50. He directed some of his sound comedies under the pseudonym "Preston Black."

Early lifeEdit

During Jack's childhood his family lived in Hollywood, California. A nearby stable was used to engage in the new business of motion pictures. Jack and his three brothers, Jules, Sam, and Ben rode horses as extras in outdoor westerns. This started the movie careers for the three White brothers; they became directors and/or producers. A fourth brother, Ben White, became a cameraman.


While still a teenager, Jack White became the leading producer for Educational Pictures, making very popular comedy shorts with Lloyd Hamilton, Lupino Lane, Lige Conley, and Al St. John. In 1926 Jack White hired one of his younger brothers, Jules White, as a film editor. By the 1930s Jules had eclipsed Jack as a leading producer of comedy short subjects, notably with the Three Stooges. In 1935 Jules hired Jack as a writer and director. Jack's first Stooges film was Ants in the Pantry; he worked in Columbia's shorts department through 1937. He rejoined the unit briefly in the early 1940s before serving in the military, then returned to Columbia for good in 1951.

During the 1950s, rising production costs forced Columbia to economize, and reuse sequences from older pictures. Jules White called upon Jack White to write new scripts that plausibly incorporated scenes from some other movie. Jack's biggest challenge was probably the Stooge short Scheming Schemers (released 1956), for which he not only had to insert old scenes from three older Stooge shorts, but he had to write around the absence of co-star Shemp Howard, who had died in 1955. Jack's creative ideas cleverly hid the patchwork; according to Columbia director Edward Bernds, neither audiences nor exhibitors ever noticed the old footage in the new comedies. White worked at Columbia until the comedy shorts unit closed on December 20, 1957.

Personal lifeEdit

Jack White was married to silent-film actress Pauline Starke; the marriage was unhappy and they divorced in the mid-1930s. Starke's lawyers pressured White, prompting White to adopt the "Preston Black" pseudonym to avoid further harassment.

White died on April 10, 1984.

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