Cecil B. DeMille

Cecil B. DeMille

Cecil B. DeMille was an American filmmaker. Between 1913 and 1956, he made seventy features, both silent and sound films. He is acknowledged as a founding father of the Hollywood film industry, the most commercially successful producer-director in cinema history.

DeMille's first film, The Squaw Man (1914), was also the first feature film shot in Hollywood. Its interracial love story made it a phenomenal hit and it "put Hollywood on the map." The continued success of his productions led to the founding of Paramount Pictures with Lasky and Adolph Zukor. His first biblical epic, The Ten Commandments (1923), was both a critical and financial success; it held the Paramount revenue record for twenty-five years.

DeMille's films were distinguished by their epic scale, and by his cinematic showmanship. He made silent films of every genre: social dramas, comedies, Westerns, farces, morality plays, and historical pageants. The King of Kings (1927), his biography of Jesus Christ, was acclaimed for its sensitivity. Although it was a silent film, it circulated in 16mm prints for more than a half century after its release, reaching more than 800 million viewers. The Sign of the Cross (1932) was the first sound film to integrate all aspects of cinematic technique. Cleopatra (1934) was his first film to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture.

After more than thirty years in Hollywood, DeMille reached the pinnacle of his career with Samson and Delilah (1949), a biblical epic which did "an all-time record business." He went on to receive his first nomination for the Academy Award for Best Director for his circus drama The Greatest Show on Earth (1952), which won the Academy Award for Best Picture. His last and most famous film, The Ten Commandments (1956), is currently the seventh highest-grossing film of all-time adjusted for inflation.

In addition to his Best Picture Award, he received an Academy Honorary Award for his film contributions, the Palme d'Or (posthumously) for Union Pacific (film), a DGA Award for Lifetime Achievement, and the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award. He was also the first recipient of the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award, which was later named in his honor.

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