The Father of Hollywood

Aug. 12 marked Cecil B. DeMille’s birthday. Today, DeMille, known as “The Master of Spectacle,” is best known for his biblical epics, including The Ten Commandments (1956), Samson and Delilah (1949), and the King of Kings (1927), but his full career is the story of Hollywood.

Cecil B. DeMille started off as a stage actor in 1900 after attending the New York Academy of Dramatic Arts. He managed his mother’s theatrical company for 12 years before joining Jesse L. Lasky and Samuel Goldwin in 1913 to form the Jesse L. Lasky Feature Play Company, which later became Paramount Pictures. Their first movie, The Squaw Man (1914), was co-produced, written, and directed by DeMille and stands as the first feature film produced in Hollywood, so DeMille was there from the beginning. The barn at the corner of Vine and Selma Streets where they filmed The Squaw Man was dedicated as a California historical landmark on December 27, 1956 and is now recognized as the birthplace of the Hollywood motion picture industry. (The Lasky-DeMille Barn, as it is known, was relocated to the Hollywood Bowl in 1983, where it now serves as the Hollywood Heritage Museum.) In 1927, he was one of the 36 founding members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and is the namesake (and first recipient) of the Golden Globe’s Cecil B. DeMille award for lifetime achievement.

Over his 44-year motion picture career (per his IMDb filmography, including works not credited via the Cecil B. DeMille Foundation and its website,, DeMille produced 88 movies and directed 80, including several remakes of his own films (The Squaw Man in 1914, 1918, and 1931; The Ten Commandments in 1923 and 1956; and The Buccaneer in 1938 and 1952). He was an early adopter of the Technicolor color film process, starting with “two-strip” Technicolor, which only recorded red and green (full-color Technicolor followed 11 years later). On set, he was the stereotypical Hollywood director, wearing riding boots, jodhpurs, and an open-necked shirt while carrying a megaphone and riding crop.

Critics were not always kind, but audiences loved his movies. According to David O. Selznick, “[DeMille] is one of the most extraordinarily able showmen of modern times. However much I may dislike some of his pictures, it would be very silly of me, as a producer of commercial motion pictures, to demean for an instant his unparalleled skill as a maker of mass entertainment.” Other directors have cited DeMille as a key influence, including Alfred Hitchcock, Martin Scorsese, and Steven Spielberg (the latter, is the only director whose films have been more financially successful than DeMille’s). DeMille continues to cast a long shadow to this day. As Norma Desmond said in Sunset Blvd., “I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille.”

The Filmography of Cecil B. DeMille

Title Year EIDR ID
A Romance of the Redwoods 1917 10.5240/09D4-A0CF-CDF9-5E4F-D409-J
Adam’s Rib 1923 10.5240/211D-B223-9D9F-4680-1AFE-C
After Five 1915 10.5240/2365-258B-9723-2ABC-1F7E-1
Brewster’s Millions 1914 10.5240/400A-E58B-AA81-5BC5-0A0C-Q
California’s Golden Beginning 1948 10.5240/4AB0-9033-E891-4FBF-60AE-Z
Carmen 1915 10.5240/5345-F5F0-2AC2-02BF-C298-D
Chimmie Fadden 1915 10.5240/5633-D043-AB03-9882-634E-U
Chimmie Fadden Out West 1915 10.5240/56B4-A941-BFAF-F329-3693-C
Cleopatra 1934 10.5240/57ED-AE7F-C0A4-2EDE-62A6-W
Don’t Change Your Husband 1919 10.5240/5BA3-0E23-A0E8-64B0-2F49-J
Dynamite 1929 10.5240/6D5F-1623-2C89-02F5-5F7F-M
Feet of Clay 1924 10.5240/6ED1-E2A6-84D3-1A80-B3EF-C
Fool’s Paradise 1921 10.5240/703B-D49D-B4B4-39AA-D68B-3
For Better, for Worse 1919 10.5240/7A92-0806-A72F-617C-A939-E
Forbidden Fruit 1921 10.5240/7D94-5C82-A88D-9685-38F3-M
Four Frightened People 1934 10.5240/87B2-ADF5-7447-EF55-D509-W
Her Man o’ War 1926 10.5240/9729-7CD1-9873-CD6A-94C6-I
Hold ‘Em Yale 1928 10.5240/AE2B-8BD8-C04F-5C64-6F02-G
Hollywood 1923 10.5240/C1A1-7798-CFE4-EA47-852B-S
Hollywood Extra Girl 1935 10.5240/E503-FC4E-AB7D-AC5A-DB16-T
Joan the Woman 1916 10.5240/EB70-C4FD-9F92-A662-C0E7-8
Kindling 1915 10.5240/FC1D-6B00-9962-5F20-FA0A-Z
Let ‘Er Go Gallegher 1928 10.5240/041D-7A70-326A-8A16-A185-1
Lost and Won 1917 10.5240/88DF-0426-79C8-63EE-71A3-P
Madam Satan 1930 10.5240/5463-86BA-63A1-DF2A-3DA2-C
Male and Female 1919 10.5240/B7AE-281C-3491-74D8-F17A-A
Manslaughter 1922 10.5240/DB41-A1BC-D18F-D848-8697-W
Maria Rosa 1916 10.5240/DE18-6F87-0D41-66CD-BF00-1
Nan of Music Mountain 1917 10.5240/1515-A07B-598D-2C70-9CF9-N
North West Mounted Police 1940 10.5240/E0CC-3876-E4D8-617A-0F21-A
Old Wives for New 1918 10.5240/264D-688F-BECA-6555-24C0-J
Reap the Wild Wind 1942 10.5240/898D-643B-748B-CE58-362D-J
Rose of the Rancho 1914 10.5240/7FBD-2691-7D30-796D-6744-Z
Samson and Delilah 1949 10.5240/70E9-B20F-4041-9B84-FB5C-V
Saturday Night 1922 10.5240/C3C1-0160-B159-723F-D7F0-6
Something to Think About 1920 10.5240/13FA-2606-2C3B-09C5-A840-U
Son of Paleface 1952 10.5240/E373-EA51-6D83-EC2D-E247-L
Star Spangled Rhythm 1942 10.5240/AE2B-8BD8-C04F-5C64-6F02-G
Sunset Blvd. 1950 10.5240/138B-A26F-0D3D-D182-28E3-7
Temptation 1915 10.5240/E07A-B1F9-C99A-588F-565F-8
The Affairs of Anatol 1921 10.5240/989D-A2EB-6F3D-D7E4-4D05-C
The Angel of Broadway 1927 10.5240/0B19-6A18-B667-5E7A-3D9C-S
The Arab 1915 10.5240/1EF0-4D34-3472-73EA-38B9-I
The Buccaneer 1938 10.5240/70E9-B20F-4041-9B84-FB5C-V
The Buccaneer 1958 10.5240/C13A-39B2-48A3-68B0-88D2-8
The Buster Keaton Story 1957 10.5240/F8D8-B18A-3F6A-7A9B-9D82-O
The Call of the North 1914 10.5240/2AC3-7438-13C7-9796-C5D9-B
The Captive 1915 10.5240/0711-04B5-F0F8-4079-2EC0-S
The Cheat 1915 10.5240/DA83-8E2E-EC80-4377-52E5-Q
The Coming of Amos 1925 10.5240/B445-E5F2-2187-46A7-8BE0-4
The Cruise of the Jasper B 1926 10.5240/2069-9EB2-873B-9D06-E5F0-S
The Crusades 1935 10.5240/635C-0C63-6D42-AE84-AB5D-7
The Devil-Stone 1917 10.5240/7CDA-B7ED-F257-B8CF-64E0-6
The Dream Girl 1916 10.5240/CB31-C8AA-8CC6-ECFF-F4D8-B
The Dressmaker from Paris 1925 10.5240/A1CE-04B9-074B-D0F9-691B-W
The Fighting Eagle 1927 10.5240/49FA-99D8-D9C3-C702-B96A-8
The Ghost Breaker 1914 10.5240/73A8-D1CF-E880-E98D-EEFD-N
The Girl of the Golden West 1915 10.5240/6A35-D9C5-4C72-C90E-D803-V
The Godless Girl 1928 10.5240/A781-1C74-E68D-2211-D5E8-4
The Golden Bed 1925 10.5240/7ABD-1302-D64B-26A5-9C4C-7
The Golden Chance 1915 10.5240/524F-0715-F782-8D39-B81B-U
The Greatest Show on Earth 1952 10.5240/2DF4-74AE-FF6C-8260-5930-T
The Heart of Nora Flynn 1916 10.5240/BD6B-BE08-921D-A8D4-F7A9-9
The King of Kings 1927 10.5240/8336-E9CE-110A-5644-4CE0-1
The Little American 1917 10.5240/6576-9D35-4B8D-00FF-D56E-6
The Man from Home 1914 10.5240/7528-3F2D-0BA6-E904-E6B7-Y
The Man on the Box 1914 10.5240/EE46-12E1-34FB-5328-FCEB-X
The Master Mind 1914 10.5240/6C33-19B7-EA39-7BFD-79D1-G
The Only Son 1914 10.5240/B20D-474D-1E12-94F6-DC0C-F
The Plainsman 1936 10.5240/0F71-FC10-FEB3-3383-0010-W
The Road to Yesterday 1925 10.5240/BBF5-9ABE-1A33-7C56-AB19-1
The Sign of the Cross 1932 10.5240/91A0-F314-7701-5BDE-CBF3-E
The Squaw Man 1914 10.5240/C4E0-5AD6-BBCB-5C75-25C2-E
The Squaw Man 1918 10.5240/5930-EDE6-7240-216C-60ED-T
The Squaw Man 1931 10.5240/270A-DA3C-4B73-F5ED-67E8-3
The Story of Dr. Wassell 1944 10.5240/8678-357F-A60D-1832-E492-K
The Ten Commandments 1923 10.5240/0F86-56C0-45DC-866A-7ED0-8
The Ten Commandments 1956 10.5240/7663-45C9-68CB-63ED-6320-K
The Trail of the Lonesome Pine 1916 10.5240/75CD-D5CC-663E-BED6-4C3F-M
The Unafraid 1915 10.5240/30EC-93EC-144B-1AC5-5C10-Z
The Virginian 1914 10.5240/B431-61F6-FBB0-679C-7E7A-M
The Volga Boatman 1926 10.5240/184A-8163-A9EF-6EAC-5B9A-J
The War of the Worlds 1953 10.5240/11FB-2150-E3B6-1109-3520-3
The Warrens of Virginia 1915 10.5240/7858-1994-A9E9-DF9F-ABD4-W
The Whispering Chorus 1918 10.5240/8B55-9B3D-7D4A-7433-AF0E-X
The Wild Goose Chase 1915 10.5240/33AF-F166-5870-BE13-3DFB-A
The Woman God Forgot 1917 10.5240/2633-D361-7E07-74AB-A066-D
The Yankee Clipper 1927 10.5240/6F3C-D79B-736D-37F8-647A-2
This Day and Age 1933 10.5240/B71D-B5A8-E28F-9BEC-1964-D
Till I Come Back to You 1918 10.5240/B880-706D-5A6F-4A9A-91AF-F
Triumph 1924 10.5240/4443-708F-103A-45ED-DBEC-F
Unconquered 1947 10.5240/27A1-8799-1DE7-9E21-DE6E-F
Union Pacific 1939 10.5240/614E-913D-84E0-F46C-3033-6
Vanity 1927 10.5240/E16E-990F-B5E5-AAD8-F7C5-7
Walking Back 1928 10.5240/902D-89A9-F4C1-7471-D247-V
We Can’t Have Everything 1918 10.5240/9C7A-94B4-E006-0D95-3C75-V
What’s His Name 1914 10.5240/2E24-DA06-DA36-2D1D-1ACD-S
When Worlds Collide 1951 10.5240/C3F0-2E8B-1327-6B30-7F35-4
Whispering Smith 1926 10.5240/A98D-2935-8878-B202-AB01-T
White Gold 1927 10.5240/47F8-92AC-BC92-BB39-13B9-5
Why Change Your Wife? 1920 10.5240/AA8D-94CA-9244-754B-1F84-6