Cecil B. de Mille


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De Mille, Cecil B. (Blount)

(1881–1959) film director; born in Ashfield, Mass. He made his Broadway acting debut in 1900. As a director, he made the first Hollywood picture, The Squaw Man (1914) becoming the creative force behind Paramount and a major contributor to Hollywood's rise to eminence. He became the master of the film spectacle, with moral themes enlivened by violence and sex. Two of his greatest triumphs were The Ten Commandments (1923 and remade in 1956) and The Greatest Show on Earth (1952). In addition to producing and directing at least 70 films (and being involved in many others), he directed and hosted "Lux Radio Theatre" (1936–45), which featured adaptations of movies and plays.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.