Although Lionel Luthor claims to have hailed from a noble, Scottish family line – in truth, he was but one of many poor children growing up in the squalor of the Metropolis neighborhood known as Suicide Slum.[2] His father, Lachlan Luthor, was an abusive man who violently took his aggressions out on young Lionel. His mother Eliza, frequently inebriated with gin, rarely interfered with her husband's rampages and largely ignored Lionel.[3]

Lionel's only childhood friend was Morgan Edge – a man whose life would ultimately mirror Lionel's to great extent. Morgan knew Lionel well and was keenly aware of the cycle of abuse that his friend suffered. Edge would one day grow up to run the underworld empire known as Intergang.

When Lionel was a young man, he decided that his parents were of greater value to him dead than alive. He arranged for an arsonist to burn down his parents' apartment building, killing them while they slept. Lionel maintained the alibi that he was working late at a print shop on the night that his parents died.

Collecting the insurance money, Lionel enrolled in an Ivy League school where he greatly excelled in all of his courses. Reluctant to tell his peers the truth about his upbringing, he often played up the idea that the Luthors were of distinguished Scottish bearing.[2]

Shortly after graduation, Lionel returned to Metropolis and used the remainder of his parents' life insurance policy to establish Luthor Industries. L.I. prospered and eventually became a multinational empire known as LuthorCorp.

During this time, Lionel met and fell in love with a woman named Lillian. The two were wed and they sired two sons, Lex and Julian Luthor.

Sadly however Lillian would eventually smother Julian to death. This was due to the fact that Lionel had always put Lex through test and trials, and was also very abusive towards him. This had a very negative affect on Lex's mind and eventually shaped him into the man who would become. Lillian, not wanting another child of hers to suffer and become a "monster," smothered Julian to death. Ultimately, Lex took the blame for Julian's death in order to protect his mother from Lionel's wrath . This created a huge rift between Lex and Lionel, with Lionel being very uncaring and cold towards lex. However, because Lex was his only heir, Lionel would always look out for him.

Lionel had many affairs, one of which resulted in the birth of a child named Lucas. He also became a member of the Veritas society, a group who believed that an alien wielding great power known as the "Traveller" would one day arrive on Earth. From the beginning, Lionel wanted to take control of this alien, hoping to use the power for himself. It is strongly implied that he had other members of the society killed, including Oliver Queen's parents.

Eventually Lionel arrived in Smallville to find the traveller on the day of the meteor shower, during the incident his son Lex was injured by the meteorites. Lex's hair was completely blown off, and the meteorites mutated him giving him a metahuman immune system. Lionel's men searched for the traveller who arrived in the shower though the actual traveller was discovered by the Kents. Lionel's men discovered the Doomsday creature that had attached itself to Kal-El's space craft. Initially thinking this creature to be the traveller, Lionel took it into his house where it befriended a young Lex. Ultimately, he threw the beast onto the street when he discovered it was not the traveller.

Lionel was also able to get a position of power in Smallville thanks to blackmailing Jonathan kent into helping him. The Kents had helped save Lex's life during the meteor shower, and Lionel repaid them by helping them adopt their son, Clark. Lional later used this to blackmail Jonathan Kent.

Lionel would later send his son Lex to manage one of his Luthorcorp facilities in Smallville.



  • Business Management: Lionel Luthor was a cutthroat businessman and an expert strategist. He negotiated the boardroom the way a Roman general would lead a battlefield.
  • Multilingualism: After becoming linked to the Fortress of Solitude, Lionel became fluent in the Kryptonian language.


  • This version of the character is exclusive to the continuity of the television series Smallville and its tie-in and comic book series, Smallville and Smallville Season 11. It is an adaptation of Jules Luthor. The original character was created by Jerry Siegel and Kurt Schaffenberger and first appeared in Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane #23.
  • Linoel Luthor was portrayed by John Glover on Smallville
  • Lionel had three sons Julian, Lex and Lucas. While Lex is alive and Julian is deceased, it is not known what the current status of Lucas is.
  • In Season 10 it was revealed that Lionel also had a daughter who was given up for adoption at the age of 3 due to mother's diagnoses of cancer. The daughter was revealed to be Tess Mercer born "Lutessa Lena Luthor". It is unknown if Earth-1 Lionel of Smallville ever had any interaction with her after her adoption.



  1. Lionel Luthor's height is based upon the height of actor John Glover.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Relic"
  3. "Shattered"
  4. Smallville (TV Series) Episode: Vortex
  5. Smallville (TV Series) Episode: Prodigal

Smallville logo
This character is exclusive to the continuity of the Smallville television series. This template will categorize articles that include it into Category: Smallville Characters.
Superman Villain(s)
DC Rebirth Logo

This character is or was primarily an enemy of Superman in any of his various incarnations, or members of the Superman Family. This template will categorize articles that include it into the "Superman Villains category."

Superman Family 0001
DC Rebirth Logo

Superman Family member
This character is or was an incarnation of or an ally of Superman, and a member of the Superman Family. This template will categorize articles that include it into the "Superman Family members" category.