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10 June 2021. Between 1914 and 1956, he made seventy feature films; all but seven were profitable. She later became the second female play broker on Broadway. Adams allowed DeMille to have several long term mistresses during their marriage as an outlet, while maintaining an outward appearance of a faithful marriage. Zukor became president with Lasky as the vice president. [195] DeMille was adept at directing "thousands of extras",[113] and many of his pictures include spectacular set pieces: the toppling of the pagan temple in Samson and Delilah;[196] train wrecks in The Road to Yesterday,[197] Union Pacific[198] and The Greatest Show on Earth;[199] the destruction of an airship in Madam Satan;[200] and the parting of the Red Sea in both versions of The Ten Commandments. He said he was rather against union leaders such as Walter Reuther and Harry Bridges whom he compared to dictators. [79][note 3], Cecil B. DeMille's second film credited exclusively to him was The Virginian. DeMille was born in Ashfield, Massachusetts, and grew up in New York City. He produced or directed about 80 movies - including The Ten Commandments (1956), a movie in the 'epic' genre for which he is probably best known today. Constance Adams DeMille (April 27, 1873 July 17, 1960) actress and wife of filmmaker Cecil Blount DeMille. Let's take a look back at 20 of his greatest movies, ranked worst to best. [10], Cecil B. DeMille's mother, Beatrice, a literary agent and scriptwriter, was the daughter of German Jews. DeMille's reputation had a renaissance in the 2010s and his work has influenced numerous other films and directors. [159] The Ten Commandments, released in 1956, was DeMille's final film. [264], DeMille was liked by some of his fellow directors and disliked by others, though his actual films were usually dismissed by his peers as vapid spectacle. Adopted son of Cecil B. DeMille and Constance DeMille. [337], Charles Frohman, Constance Adams, and David Belasco, Scandalous dramas, Biblical epics, and departure from Paramount, There are several variants of DeMille's surname. Many of these displays were thought to be staged, however, as an exercise in discipline. [60] In addition to directing, DeMille was the supervisor and consultant for the first year of films made by the Lasky Feature Play Company. [187] DeMille's films Male and Female, Why Change Your Wife?, and The Affairs of Anatol can be retrospectively described as high camp and are categorized as "early DeMille films" due to their particular style of production and costume and set design. The first 24 of his silent films were made in the first three years of his career (1913-1916). He directed and produced four films on his own, working with Producers Distributing Corporation because he found front office supervision too restricting. [293] Two schools have been named after him: Cecil B. DeMille Middle School, in Long Beach, California, which was closed and demolished in 2010 to make way for a new high school;[294] and Cecil B. DeMille Elementary School in Midway City, California. [204] As DeMille's career progressed, he increasingly relied on artist Dan Sayre Groesbeck's concept, costume, and storyboard art. DeMille". Belasco was known for adding realistic elements in his plays such as real flowers, food, and aromas that could transport his audiences into the scenes. To diseased proportions. His art was even shown at Paramount meetings when pitching new films. DeMille's early silent comedies influenced the comedies of Ernst Lubitsch and Charlie Chaplin's A Woman of Paris. [88] On July 19, 1916, the Jesse Lasky Feature Play Company merged with Adolph Zukor's Famous Players Film Company, becoming Famous Players-Lasky. [133] He began presenting speeches across the United States for the next few years. [134] William Keighley was his replacement. [234], DeMille was interested in art and his favorite artist was Gustave Dor; DeMille based some of his most well-known scenes on the work of Dor. Immediate Family: Biological son of Gus Gonzales and Ada Piper. [42] DeMille would later adapt Belasco's The Girl of the Golden West, Rose of the Rancho, and The Warrens of Virginia into films. Cecil B. DeMille didn't make the kind of movies that wind up in French film festivals. Additionally, during the war, DeMille volunteered for the Justice Department's Intelligence Office, investigating friends, neighbors, and others he came in contact with in connection with the Famous Players-Lasky. Discover the real story, facts, and details of Cecil B. DeMille. It opened on December 13, 1985, and features some of DeMille's personal artifacts. [256] Meanwhile, Sumiko Higashi sees DeMille as "not only a figure who was shaped and influenced by the forces of his era but as a filmmaker who left his own signature on the culture industry. In addition to his use of volatile and abrupt film editing, his lighting and composition were innovative for the time period as filmmakers were primarily concerned with a clear, realistic image. [165] This film would be his last. The cuts were sometimes rough, but the movies were always interesting. Robin Williams won the Cecil B. DeMille Awards in 2005. [269] He often appeared in his coming-attraction trailers and narrated many of his later films,[270] even stepping on screen to introduce The Ten Commandments. "He was a thoroughly bad director," Huston said. I'm ready for my close-up." His other well known films include The Sign of the Cross (1932), Cleopatra (1934), Samson and Delilah [] [84] In 1916, exhausted from three years of nonstop filmmaking, DeMille purchased land in the Angeles National Forest for a ranch which would become his getaway. [39] In the summer of 1905 DeMille joined the stock cast at the Elitch Theatre in Denver, Colorado. [182] DeMille noted that his mother had a "high sense of the dramatic" and was determined to continue the artistic legacy of her husband after he died. [191] Plot and dialogue were not a strong point of DeMille's films. DeMille: The Master of the American Biblical Epic . Cecil B. DeMille was born on August 12th, in 1881. [136] During pre-production of Union Pacific, DeMille was dealing with his first serious health issue. [186] Generally, Belasco's influence of DeMille's career can be seen in DeMille's showmanship and narration. After Henry DeMille's death at age 40, Cecil's mother, Beatrice, ran a well-known boarding school for girls in Pompton Lakes, New Jersey. DeMille's mother sent him to Pennsylvania Military College (now Widener University) in Chester, Pennsylvania, at age 15. Full name. [188][189] DeMille recalled that one of the most influential plays he saw was Hamlet, directed by Sothern. However, the films of his silent era were often thematically different from the films of his sound era. Mini Bio (1) Julia Faye's career is inextricably linked to director Cecil B. DeMille. [239], DeMille's films contained many similar themes throughout his career. [130] He resigned from the Lux Radio Show because he refused to pay a dollar to the American Federation of Radio Artists (AFRA) because he did not believe that any organization had the right to "levy a compulsory assessment upon any member. Age at Death: 77. [307] In the same ceremony, DeMille received a nomination from Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures for The Greatest Show on Earth. A dark, exotic beauty, Katherine DeMille was a fascinating screen presence in the 1930s and 1940s. [138] Despite the criticism, it was Paramount's highest-grossing film of the year. [15], DeMille was a brave and confident child. His silent era films often included the "battle of the sexes" theme due to the era of women's suffrage and the enlarging role of women in society. DeMille studied famous paintings that captured the life of Christ and brought them to the screen. [250] Five of DeMille's film were the highest-grossing films at the year of their release, with only Spielberg topping him with six of his films as the highest-grossing films of the year. We should get down on our knees to Cecil and say "Thank you! The original story Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare is about two teenagers, Romeo and Juliet, who fall in love and their families' feud ends with death of Romeo and Juliet. He appeared in eleven of the fifteen plays presented that season, although all were minor roles. [63] The Lasky Company wanted to attract high-class audiences to their films so they began producing films from literary works. [184] While working in theatre, DeMille used real fruit trees in his play California as influenced by Belasco. [128] He supported Herbert Hoover and in 1928 made his largest campaign donation to Hoover. [203], DeMille often edited in a manner that favored psychological space rather than physical space through his cuts. "[35] DeMille had more violent sexual preferences and fetishes than his wife. They were even required to expand to RKO sound studios for filming. Produced in eight weeks without exceeding budget, the film was financially successful. [76][77] The film grossed over ten times its budget after its New York premiere in February 1914. [281] However, not everyone received DeMille's religious films favorably. [255] Andrew Sarris, a leading proponent of the auteur theory, ranked DeMille highly as an auteur in the "Far Side of Paradise", just below the "Pantheon". Consequently, his mother hired him for her agency The DeMille Play Company and taught him how to be an agent and a playwright. MGM distributed the film in 1941 and donated profits to World War II relief charities. [242] Another common theme in DeMille's films is the reversal of fortune and the portrayal of the rich and the poor, including the war of the classes and man versus society conflicts such as in The Golden Chance and The Cheat. This prohibited denying anyone the right to work if they refuse to pay a political assessment, however, the law did not apply retroactively. [44], DeMille performed on stage with actors whom he would later direct in films: Charlotte Walker, Mary Pickford, and Pedro de Cordoba. DeMille had adopted him to avoid revealing the affairs to William's wife. He went before the Paramount board of directors, which was mostly Jewish-American. [187] E.H. Sothern's early influence on DeMille's work can be seen in DeMille's perfectionism. that DeMille found his greatest inspiration. Cleopatra (1934) was his first film to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. . 1. [132] [note 7], In 1939, DeMille's Union Pacific was successful through DeMille's collaboration with the Union Pacific Railroad. If you have diabetes and take insulin or other oral medications aimed to reduce blood sugar, taking chromium may increase the risk of . DeMille's return was approved by Zukor under the condition that DeMille not exceed his production budget of $650,000 for The Sign of the Cross. date of death. [168] DeMille was unable to attend the Los Angeles premiere of The Buccaneer. DeMille himself directed twenty films by 1915. [202] Another important aspect of DeMille's editing technique was to put the film away for a week or two after an initial edit in order to re-edit the picture with a fresh mind. However, he did take a few months to set up a movie theater for the French front. [132] DeMille would never again work on radio. [36] One of DeMille's affairs was with his screenwriter Jeanie MacPherson. [174] DeMille left his multi-million dollar estate in Los Feliz, Los Angeles in Laughlin Park to his daughter Cecilia because his wife had dementia and was unable to care for an estate. (He would later cast her in The Ten Commandments.) But they have inspired cutting edge directors including Stephen Spielberg and Martin Scorcese. The film was produced on a large budget of $600,000, the most expensive production at Paramount. [316] DeMille's Union Pacific received a Palme d'Or in retrospect at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival. [57] Having become disinterested in working in theatre, DeMille's passion for film was ignited when he watched the 1912 French film Les Amours de la reine lisabeth. Furthermore, DeMille argued with Zukor over his extravagant and over-budget production costs. Cecil B. DeMille's final film, another version of The Ten Commandments , is his most widely seen work, thanks to Easter-time television programming, but it is not one of his most respected. [272] DeMille's reputation had a renaissance in the 2010s. Heart Ailment. [32] From 1904 to 1905, DeMille attempted to make a living as a stock theatre actor with his wife Constance. However, Sam Goldwyn realized that if they called it "Rembrandt" lighting, the audience would pay double the price. He was an active Freemason and member of Prince of Orange Lodge #16 in New York City.[1]. View the most popular Cecil B. DeMille pix. Self - Actor, The F.B.I. Find out about Cecil B DeMille's family tree, family history, ancestry, ancestors, genealogy, relationships and affairs! A documentary titled. Early life [ edit ] Born in Orange, New Jersey , [1] DeMille was the daughter of Judge Fredrick Adams, [2] New Jersey Court of Errors and Appeals, [1] and Ella Adams, his first wife. The first, for radio contributions, is located at 6240 Hollywood Blvd. [243] In relation to his own interests and sexual preferences, sadomasochism was a minor theme present in some of his films. [168] In the months before his death, DeMille was researching a film biography of Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the Scout Movement. He then appealed to the California Supreme Court and lost again. [177] Cecilia lived in the house for many years until her death in 1984,[178] but the house was auctioned by his granddaughter Cecilia DeMille Presley who also lived there in the late 1980s. DeMille developed a plan with his doctor to allow him to continue directing while reducing his physical stress. But he put on pictures that made a fortune. DeMille's trademark scenes included bathtubs, lion attacks, and Roman orgies. [54] DeMille found success in the spring of 1913 producing Reckless Age by Lee Wilson, a play about a high society girl wrongly accused of manslaughter starring Frederick Burton and Sydney Shields. Cecil B. Demille papers (English) type of reference. Peters claimed that he encouraged the cast to attend the funeral with him anyway since DeMille would not be able to shoot the film without him. [note 4], While filming The Captive in 1915, an extra, Bob Fleming, died on set when another extra failed to heed to DeMille's orders to unload all guns for rehearsal. Hollywood, California: Paramount Pictures.2011, Last edited on 25 February 2023, at 18:28, Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture Drama, eighth-highest-grossing film of all time, adjusted for inflation, "Back in the Day - Sept. 18, 1991: De Mille's Pompton Lakes roots recalled", "Anthony Quinn: Colourful Hollywood star who built a career playing ethnic heroes and villains", "Guide to the Richard DeMille Collection", "Cecil DeMille, 77, Pioneer of Movies, Dead in Hollywood", "How a Hollywood Director Almost Launched L.A.'s First Commercial Airline", "Register of the Cecil B. DeMille Archives, 1863-1983", "Financing Hollywood through the Great Depression", "Angelina Jolie Buys Historic Cecil B. DeMille Estate for $24.5 Million", "Sixty years later, The Ten Commandments remains one of the most popular biblical films ever made", "Angelina Jolie Buys Cecil B. DeMille's Estate at Record-Shattering Price", "Christie's East to Auction DeMille Possessions", "New Testament to Genius: Turner's "Cecil B. DeMille", "Cecil B. DeMille's "Samson and Delilah" Brings the World's Greatest Love Story to the Screen", "Hollywood Legend Claudette Colbert Dies", "Charlton Heston: as you won't remember him", "The Deep Focus Typecasting of Joseph Schildkraut as Judas Figure in Four DeMille Films", "A Brief History of Movie Special Effects", "All-Time Box-Office Hits By Decade and Year", "Ridley Scott: from Alien to Exodus, a Cecil B. DeMille for the digital age", "Samson as a Moses-Figure in Cecil B. DeMille's "Samson and Delilah" (1949)", "BFI Sight & Sound Top Ten Poll 2002 How the directors and critics voted", "Hollywood Flashback: Cecil B. DeMille Accepted the Golden Globe Named for Him in 1952", "Reel dictators: why despots love directors", "Disp L.A. Case #45: Cecil B. DeMille's Riding Crop", "DeMille's Re-Released 'Commandments'Better Than Ever", "Cecil B. DeMille the greatest filmmaking showman rediscovered! However, his earlier films The Captive, Kindling, Carmen, and The Whispering Chorus are more serious films. It was the longest (3 hours, 39 minutes) and most expensive ($13million) film in Paramount history. [16] He gained his love of theater while watching his father and Belasco rehearse their plays. DeMille would stick to his large-budget spectaculars for the rest of his career. Learning of the Eagles' work and keen to promote his film with their cause the director encouraged the group to donate carved stone tablets . However, he would never again vote for a Democratic candidate in a presidential election. Cecil Blount DeMille (/ssl dml/; August 12, 1881 January 21, 1959) was an American film director, producer and actor. [156] Fifty-two of his features are silent films. [249] Similarly, scholar David Blanke, argued that DeMille had lost the respect of his colleagues and film critics by his late film career. (TV Special) Self - Cecil B. DeMille Award Recipient 1963-1964 Password (TV Series) Self - Celebrity Contestant / Self - James Stewart vs . She would die one year later. [248], According to Sam Goldwyn, critics did not like DeMille's films, but the audiences did and "they have the final word". They struggled to adapt the play from the stage to the set. William deMille would later convert from theater to Hollywood and would spend the rest of his career as a film director. [89] DeMille was maintained as director-general and Goldwyn became chairman of the board. Between 1913 and 1956, he made a total of 70 features, both silent and sound films.He is acknowledged as a founding father of the cinema of the United States and the most commercially successful producer-director in film history. Barbara Stanwyck. [241] Religion was a theme that DeMille returned to throughout his career. [71] Apfel filmed most of The Squaw Man due to DeMille's inexperience; however, DeMille learned quickly and was particularly adept at impromptu screenwriting as necessary. [17] As a child, DeMille created an alter-ego, Champion Driver, a Robin Hood-like character, evidence of his creativity and imagination. 21 January 1959. Cemetery Name: Hollywood Forever Cemetery. According to Simon Louvish, these films reflected DeMille's inner thoughts and opinions about marriage and human sexuality. DeMille claimed that MacPherson was not a good writer, but she received credit in his films because she gave him many ideas for the screenplays. [45] His 1905 performance in The Prince Chap as the Earl of Huntington was well received by audiences. [106] His first film in the new production company, DeMille Pictures Corporation, was The Road to Yesterday in 1925. The members rejected his proposal, even though his last two films, Samson and Delilah and The Greatest Show on Earth, had been record-breaking hits. It was produced with a large budget and contained many special effects including an electronically operated giant squid. [64] The Lasky Company bought the rights to the play The Squaw Man by Edwin Milton Royle and cast Dustin Farnum in the lead role. Pictorials. Studio: A Cecil B. DeMille Production Paramount Pictures Premiered: February 4, 1938 Featured Cast: Fredric March, Franciska Gaal, Akim Tamiroff Producer-director: Cecil B. DeMille Screenwriter: Harold Lamb, Edwin Justus Mayer, C. Gardner Sullivan Source: Lyle Saxon's book Lafitte the Pirate Additional writers: Emily Barrye, Grover Jones, Jesse Lasky Jr., Jeanie Macpherson, Preston . DeMille toured with the circus while helping write the script. [9] DeMille's father was also an English teacher at Columbia College (now Columbia University). The sets and effects were so realistic that 30 extras needed to be hospitalized due to a scene with fireballs and flaming arrows. Born in 1881, DeMille made his directorial debut with "The Squaw Man" (1914), a story he remade in 1918 and 1931 . [207], DeMille made stars of unknown actors: Gloria Swanson, Bebe Daniels, Rod La Rocque, William Boyd, Claudette Colbert, and Charlton Heston. [145] After working on Reap the Wild Wind, in 1944, he was the master of ceremonies at the massive rally organized by David O. Selznick in the Los Angeles Coliseum in support of the DeweyBricker ticket as well as Governor Earl Warren of California. Recommended For You. DeMille served as executive producer, overseeing producer Henry Wilcoxon. However, his final films maintained that DeMille was still respected by his audiences. While visually appealing, this made the films appear more old-fashioned. He is acknowledged as a founding father of the American cinema and the most commercially successful producer-director in film history. [160] A unique practice at the time, DeMille offered ten percent of his profit to the crew. A lasting memory for DeMille was a lunch with his father and actor Edwin Booth. [290][note 16] Donated by the Cecil B. DeMille Foundation in 2004, the moving image collection of Cecil B. DeMille is held at the Academy Film Archive and includes home movies, outtakes, and never-before-seen test footage. The Tikah still made a few trade canoes into the early 20th Century. 22. After more than thirty years in film production, DeMille reached a pinnacle in his career with Samson and Delilah (1949), a biblical epic which became the highest-grossing film of 1950. [318], Cecil B. DeMille made 70 features. [201], DeMille experimented in his early films with photographic light and shade which created dramatic shadows instead of glare. [72] DeMille's next project was to aid Oscar Apfel and directing Brewster's Millions, which was wildly successful. 27 October 2022. [147], DeMille's next film, Samson and Delilah in 1949, became Paramount's highest-grossing film up to that time. [160] Production of The Ten Commandments began in October 1954. Occupations. [166] [note 11], Due to his frequent heart attacks, DeMille asked his son-in-law, actor Anthony Quinn, to direct a remake of his 1938 film The Buccaneer. Radford, Bill. In his address, he compares the exodus of the Israelites under Moses's direction to that of the Mormon . . The Ten Commandments, filmed here at the Guadeloupe sand dunes, 150 miles from Hollywood. DeMille had considered making the film himself. Cecil B. DeMille passed away January 21, 1959, from a heart condition. vigilantes and fulminating fanatics suffering flock shock and who wanted to shut down 1920s Hollywood because of the cause clbre scandals . 1 reference. [67], On December 12, 1913, DeMille, his cast, and crew boarded a Southern Pacific train bound for Flagstaff via New Orleans. [50], DeMille was poor and struggled to find work. Occupations. Although less critically revered than D.W. Griffith, DeMille actually played a more important role in . He would speak to the entire set, sometimes enormous with countless numbers of crew members and extras, via a microphone to maintain control of the set. Few words can describe the monumental Cecil B. DeMille. [163], On November 7, 1954, while in Egypt filming the Exodus sequence for The Ten Commandments, DeMille (who was seventy-three) climbed a 107-foot (33m) ladder to the top of the massive Per Rameses set and suffered a serious heart attack. [92] DeMille and Adams adopted Katherine Lester in 1920 whom Adams had found in the orphanage over which she was the director. DeMille's film The Affairs of Anatol came under fire. [59] Lasky and DeMille were said to have sketched out the organization of the company on the back of a restaurant menu. Birthday: August 12, 1881. is the 10th plague, in which the Angel of Death is imagined as a thick . Covers. The Union Pacific gave DeMille access to historical data, early period trains, and expert crews, adding to the authenticity of the film. He attempted to create a guild of a half a dozen directors with the same creative desires called the Director's Guild. finding aid. Additionally, he often starred in prologues and special trailers that he created for his films, having an opportunity to personally address the audience. He was renowned for the flamboyance and showmanship of his movies. [228] In order to attract a high-class audience, DeMille based many of his early films on stage melodramas, novels, and short stories. The Ten Commandments (Documentary: Making Miracles) (Six-Disc Limited Edition Blu-ray/DVD Combo) Cecil B. DeMille / Paramount. The 1956 film was a partial remake of an earlier silent . Eventually, he became manager of the agency and later, a junior partner with his mother. [240] Moreover, before his religious-themed films, many of his silent era films revolved around "husband-and-wife-divorce-and-remarry satires", considerably more adult-themed. List of the best Cecil B. DeMille movies: The Ten Commandments(1956), The Godless Girl(1929), The Golden Bed(1925), Union Pacific(1939), Unconquered(1947), Male and Female(1919), The Plainsman(1936), The Whispering Chorus(1918), The Ten Commandments(1923), Samson and Delilah(1949), The Story of Dr. Wassell(1944), Reap the Wild Wind(1942 . [30] DeMille attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts (tuition-free due to his father's service to the Academy). [129] DeMille also liked Franklin D. Roosevelt, however, finding him charismatic, tenacious, and intelligent and agreeing with Roosevelt's abhorrence of Prohibition. Sarris added that despite the influence of styles of contemporary directors throughout his career, DeMille's style remained unchanged. Cecil B. DeMille photo shoot. cause of death. [276] Famed director Steven Spielberg stated that DeMille's The Greatest Show on Earth was one of the films that influenced him to become a filmmaker. Alternative names DeMille, Cecil Blount Short description Film director: Date of birth August 12, 1881 Place of birth 1. [173] After his death, notable news outlets such as The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and The Guardian honored DeMille as "pioneer of movies", "the greatest creator and showman of our industry", and "the founder of Hollywood". Read More Having emerged as a potent force during the birth of Hollywood, director Cecil B. DeMille was a crucial figure in the early development of the classic Hollywood narrative filmmaking style. Host Scott . He suffered from a post-surgery infection from which he nearly did not recover, citing streptomycin as his saving grace. [80] The first few years of the Lasky Company were spent in making films nonstop, literally writing the language of film. Noisy and bright, it was not well-liked by critics, but was a favorite among audiences. Moreover, DeMille's epics inspired directors such as Howard Hawks, Nicholas Ray, Joseph L. Mankiewicz, and George Stevens to try producing epics. [81] The most successful films during the beginning of the Lasky Company were Brewster's Millions (co-directed by DeMille), Rose of the Rancho, and The Ghost Breaker. He graduated in 1900, and for graduation, his performance was the play The Arcady Trail. [38], In 1902, he played a small part in Hamlet. - Death and the Maiden (1973) . DeMille's Ten Commandments premiered in 1956. Cecil B. DeMille was born on August 12, 1881 in Ashfield, Massachusetts, U.S., United States, is Film Director, Producer. [180] His playwright father introduced him to the theater at a young age. Age. [40], His brother William was establishing himself as a playwright and sometimes invited him to collaborate. DeMille liked to sail and dive; he had several boats throughout his lifetime. [126] DeMille was a conservative Republican activist, becoming more conservative as he aged.

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