Classic Movie Hub (CMH)

Job Producer, director, editor, screenwriter, actor
Years active 1913-1959
Known for Flamboyance and showmanship of movies; trademark historical epics
Top Roles Narrator, Prologue Speaker, Narrator, Radio Newscaster, Photographer
Top GenresDrama, Silent Films, Romance, Adventure, Comedy, Historical
Top TopicsBook-Based, Religious, Based on Play
Top Collaborators , , ,
Shares birthday with Jane Wyatt, Frank Ross, John Derek  see more..

Cecil B. DeMille Overview:

Legendary director, Cecil B. DeMille, was born Cecil Blount DeMille on Aug 12, 1881 in Ashfield, MA. DeMille died at the age of 77 on Jan 21, 1959 in Hollywood, CA and was laid to rest in Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood, CA.


Cecil DeMille sold the public morality and religion under the wrappings of sex and sin. Although he made dozens of films, his most famous remain the Biblical and historical spectaculars, with their cast of thousands, and their magnificent costumes, sets and effects. DeMille spared no expense, expected 110 percent from cast and crew alike, and believed passionately in the films he made.

Although the butt of many jokes, DeMille's films made millions at the box offices worldwide. His judgment of what the public would pay to see hardly ever failed him, and those who reviled him were often those whose careers waned long before DeMille's was over. DeMille spent a fortune on films, but unlike some of today's free spenders, he knew exactly what he was doing. His last film, The Ten Commandments, cost $13,500,000 -- but made nearly $50,000,000.

An ex-actor, DeMille arrived in Hollywood in 1913, directed his first film in 18 days, and three years later formed the Famous Players-Lasky organization (with Adolph Zukor, Sam Goldwyn and Jesse Lasky) that shortly after became Paramount Pictures.

In addition to his trademark historical epics (such as The Ten Commandments 1923 and 1956; The Sign of the Cross), DeMille also produced pioneering adventures including The Plainsman, Union Pacific, Northwest Mounted Police and Unconquered.

(Source: available at Amazon Quinlan's Film Directors).


DeMille's autobiography The autobiography of Cecil B. DeMille was published in 1959.



Although DeMille was nominated for one Oscar, he never won a competitive Academy Award. However he won two Honorary Oscar Awards in 1949 and 1952 Cecil B. DeMille .

Academy Awards

YearAwardFilm nameRoleResult
1952Best DirectorThe Greatest Show on Earth (1952)N/ANominated

Academy Awards (Honorary Oscars)

1949Special Awardas distinguished motion picture pioneer, for 37 years of brilliant showmanship


He was honored with two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the categories of Motion Pictures and Radio. Cecil B. DeMille's handprints and footprints were 'set in stone' at Grauman's Chinese Theater during imprint ceremony #59 on Aug 7, 1941. In addition, DeMille was immortalized on a US postal stamp in 2003.

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Cecil B. DeMille Quotes:

[first lnes]
Narrator: We bring you the circus, pied piper whose magic tunes greet children of all ages, from six to 60, into a tinsel and spun-candy world of reckless beauty and mounting laughter and whirling thrills; of rhythm, excitement and grace; of blaring and daring and dance; of high-stepping horses and high-flying stars. But behind all this, the circus is a massive machine whose very life depends on discipline and motion and speed. A mechanized army on wheels, that rolls over any obstacle in its path, that meets calamity again and again, but always comes up smiling. A place where disaster and tragedy stalk the big top, haunt the backyard, and ride the circus train. Where death is constantly watching for one frayed rope, one weak link, or one trace of fear. A fierce, primitive fighting force that smashes relentlessly forward against impossible odds. That is the circus. And this is the story of the biggest of the big tops, and of the men and women who fight to make it "The Greatest Show on Earth."

[Opening line and sentences as movie started]
Narrator: And God said Let there be light, and there was light. And from this light, God created life upon earth. And man was given diminion over all things upon this earth and the power to choose betweem good and evil. But each sought to do his own will because he knew not the light of God's law. Man took dominion over man, the conquered were made to serve the conqueror, the weak were made to serve the strong, and freedom was gone from this world. So did the Egyptians cause the children of Israel to serve with rigor, and their lives were made bitter with hard bondage. And their cry came up unto God. And God heard them and cast into Egypt, into the lowly hut of Amram and Yochabel, the seed of a man upon whose mind and heart would be written God's law and God's commandments, one man alone against an empire.

Narrator: The steel has been tempered. The metal is ready - for the Maker's hand.

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Special Award Oscar 1949

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Grauman's Imprints

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Cecil B. DeMille on the
Hollywood Walk of Fame

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Cecil B. DeMille Facts
DeMille was buried alongside brother William C. de Mille at Hollywood Cemetary. Among the pallbearers were Adolph Zukor, Samuel Goldwyn and Henry Wilcoxon.

In another story, DeMille welcomed a new assistant to his private bungalow on the Paramount lot. "This is an old building," he told the young man. "You'll notice the floor slants down and to the left. I'm placing you in the left side office at the end of the hall, so you can watch the heads as they roll by."

DeMille is the subject of many Hollywood legends. According to one famous story, DeMille once directed a film that required a huge, expensive battle scene. Filming on location in a California valley, the director set up multiple cameras to capture the action from every angle. It was a sequence that could only be done once. When DeMille yelled "Action!," thousands of extras playing soldiers stormed across the field, firing their guns. Riders on horseback galloped over the hills. Cannons fired, pyrotechnic explosives were blown up, and battle towers loaded with soldiers came toppling down. The whole sequence went off perfectly. At the end of the scene, DeMille yelled "Cut!" He was then informed, to his horror, that three of the four cameras recording the battle sequence had failed. In Camera #1, the film had broken. Camera #2 had missed shooting the sequence when a dirt clod was kicked into the lens by a horse's hoof. Camera #3 had been destroyed when a battle tower had fallen on it. DeMille was at his wit's end when he suddenly remembered that he still had Camera #4, which he had had placed along with a cameraman on a nearby hill to get a long shot of the battle sequence. DeMille grabbed his megaphone and called up to the cameraman, "Did you get all that?" The cameraman on the hill waved and shouted back, "Ready when you are, C.B.!&#x

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