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, Himself, Narrator
Top GenresDrama, Silent Films, Romance, Adventure, Comedy, Historical
Top TopicsBook-Based, Religious, Pre-Code Cinema
Top Collaborators , , ,
Shares birthday with Jane Wyatt, Ralph Nelson, 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:

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

[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.

[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."

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Special Award Oscar 1949

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Cecil B. DeMille Facts
He is perhaps the only director to film two remakes of one of his films: The Squaw Man (1914) (the first film he ever directed), The Squaw Man (1918) and The Squaw Man (1931).

His son, John Blount Demille, was born in 1913. He was of Spanish descent.

In another famous story, DeMille was on a movie set one day, about to film an important scene. He was giving a set of complicated instructions to a huge crowd of extras, when he suddenly noticed one female extra talking to another. Enraged, DeMille shouted at the extra, "Will you kindly tell everyone here what you are talking about that is so important?!" The extra replied, "I was just saying to my friend, 'I wonder when that bald-headed son of a bitch is going to call lunch.'" DeMille glared at the extra for a moment, then yelled, "Lunch!"

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