He helped to create Paramount Pictures and co-directed his first movie, The Squaw Man, in 1914. He developed a reputation as a renowned filmmaker with luxurious epics like Cleopatra, Samson and Delilah and two variants of The Ten Commandments. He died in California in 1959.
Cecil Blount DeMille was born on August 12, 1881, in Ashfield, Massachusetts, into a family active in the theatrical arts. His dad, Henry DeMille, was a playwright who passed away when DeMille was 11; his mother, Matilda, following the passing of her husband, opened up an acting workshop space for girls in her house, and afterwards worked with Broadway.
He started doing stage work as a teenager, and made his advent in Hearts Are Trumps.
On August 16, 1902, DeMille wed his Hearts Are Trumps costar, Constance Adams. The two would continue to have four kids, three of whom were adopted.
Having cultivated directing, playwriting and direction expertise throughout the initial decade of the 1900s, DeMille determined to be a power supporting the camera for silent films.
DeMille’s first picture, The Squaw Man, filmed in a Hollywood barn and co-directed with Oscar Apfel, premiered in 1914, and is billed as the primary feature-length movie. From 1914 to 1915, DeMille directed more than 20 films, including The Only Son (1914) and The Girl of the Golden West (1915). The 1915 movie The Cheat was especially viewed as a trailblazer with regard to its own advanced editing, light and storytelling techniques, creating a cinematic style that will end up being the standard.
In 1923, with The Ten Commandments, DeMille created the very first film to really have a funding of more than $1 million, paving the way for his continuing dalliance with luxurious epics. He’d be credited with other filmic initiations at the same time, such as the idea of remakes.
His studio enterprise was finally unsuccessful, and DeMille did work for MGM before returning to Paramount in 1932. He also helped to found the Screen Directors Guild around now.
Westerns and adventure films were to follow within the ensuing years, including The Buccaneer (1938) as well as the Gary Cooper vehicle Northwest Mounted Police (1940), noted as the primary movie DeMille directed in Technicolor.
DeMille directed several noteworthy features during the 1940s, including Reap the Wild Wind (1942) and Unconquered (1947). The movie was a success, and won an Oscar for art direction.
DeMille was infamous for his egotism and dictatorial inclinations on sets while his populist film vision resulted in excellent financial windfalls, helping set up Paramount as a reigning studio. The past decade of DeMille’s filmic end product would remain productive.
The next year, DeMille’s circus epic The Greatest Show on Earth premiered, starring Charlton Heston, Betty Hutton and James Stewart in a vibrant multi-storyline circus extravaganza. The movie was nominated in five Oscar categories, including best director, and won awards for writing and finest picture, with DeMille receiving his first non-honorary Oscar in his character as a producer.
DeMille’s last movie—his second embodiment of The Ten Commandments, starring Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner and Anne Baxter—would be regarded as a milestone accomplishment. The movie, released in 1956, took liberties with scripture to eventually become an iconic movie, with a large number of celebrities inhabiting a desert setting and grand visual minutes that contained the parting of the Red Sea. The film earned seven Oscar nods, winning because of its special effects.
In real world relationships, DeMille helped to propagate the Red Scare of the 1950s, where well known entertainers were blacklisted for alleged communist ties.
DeMille expired on January 21, 1959 in Hollywood, California, in the age of 77, from a heart ailment. DeMille produced and directed dozens upon dozens of films throughout his career, and his heritage has continued to be written about and scrutinized as picture evolves.