- NAME: Cecil B. DeMille
- OCCUPATION: Actor, Filmmaker, Screenwriter
- BIRTH DATE: August 12, 1881
- DEATH DATE: January 21, 1959
- EDUCATION: Pennsylvania Military College, American Academy of Dramatic Arts
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Ashfield, Massachusetts
- PLACE OF DEATH: Hollywood, California
- Full Name: Cecil Blount DeMille
- AKA: Cecil B. DeMille
- AKA: Cecil DeMille
- AKA: Cecil De Mille
- AKA: Cecil B. De Mille
- AKA: Cecil Blount De Mille
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Cecil B. DeMille was an actor, director and producer who became a giant of the 20th century film industry, known for epics like The Ten Commandments.
Cecil B. DeMille - Full Episode (45:26)
A short biography of Cecil B. DeMille, whose name was synonymous with "biblical epic" and "director." Having directed over fifty films, he was called the "King of Hollywood," thanks to films like "Cleopatra" and "The Ten Commandments."
A full biography of Cecil B. DeMille, the Hollywood directing legend known for his lavish productions.
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Cecil B. DeMille was born on August 12, 1881 in Ashfield, Massachusetts, and went on to enter the world of theater as an actor, director and playwright. He helped to establish Paramount Pictures and co-directed his first film, The Squaw Man, in 1914. He built a reputation as a legendary filmmaker with lavish epics like Cleopatra,
"The greatest art in the world is the art of storytelling."
Samson and Delilah and two versions of The Ten Commandments. He died in California in 1959.
Cecil Blount DeMille was born on August 12, 1881, in Ashfield, Massachusetts, to a family involved in the theatrical arts. His father, Henry DeMille, was a playwright who passed away when DeMille was 11; his mother, Matilda, after the death of her husband, opened up an acting workshop space for girls in her home, and later worked with Broadway.
DeMille attended Pennsylvania Military College, graduating in 1898, and then entered the world of acting himself, attending New York's American Academy of Dramatic Arts. He began doing stage work as a teen, and made his debut in Hearts Are Trumps. He later starred in productions like Alice of Old Vincennes, Lord Chumley and The Prince Chap.
On August 16, 1902, DeMille wed his Hearts Are Trumps co-star, Constance Adams. The two would go on to have four children, three of whom were adopted.
Having cultivated directing, playwriting and management experience during the first decade of the 1900s, DeMille decided to become a force behind the camera for silent films. He partnered with Jesse Lasky and Samuel Goldwyn to form a movie company originally called The Jesse L. Lasky Feature Play Company, later renamed Paramount Pictures.
DeMille's first picture, The Squaw Man, filmed in a Hollywood barn and co-directed with Oscar Apfel, was released in 1914, and is billed as the first feature-length film. From 1914 to 1915, DeMille directed more than 20 movies, including The Only Son (1914) and The Girl of the Golden West (1915). The 1915 film The Cheat was particularly seen as a trailblazer in terms of its innovative editing, lighting and storytelling techniques, establishing a cinematic style that would become the norm.
In 1923, with The Ten Commandments, DeMille created the first movie to have a budget of more than $1 million, paving the way for his continued dalliance with lavish epics. He would be credited with other filmic innovations as well, including the concept of remakes.
Finding the Paramount studio system too rigid, DeMille went off to found his own studio in the mid-1920s, under which he released The King of Kings (1927), a film telling the story of Jesus Christ. His studio venture was ultimately unsuccessful, and DeMille did work for MGM before returning to Paramount in 1932. He also helped to found the Screen Directors Guild around this time.
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