Cecil B. DeMille

August 12, 1881 – January 21, 1959

In the closing moments of Billy Wilder‘s 1950 masterpiece, Sunset Boulevard, a deranged Norma Desmond (played by Gloria Swanson,) believing she is making a triumphant return to film-making, utters one of the most memorable lines in all of moviedom: “Alright, Mr. DeMille. I’m ready for my close-up.” The iconic meta moment naturally featured director DeMille – THE name in filmmaking for decades – as himself aiding the charade from behind the camera. Cecil Blount de Mille was the first celebrity director in Hollywood. In fact, he was the first director AT ALL in Hollywood, choosing the previously-unremarkable neighborhood to shoot his films in when he migrated west from New York in 1913. DeMille parlayed his early career as a stage actor and relationships with his entrepreneurial friends (Jesse Lasky and Samuel Goldwyn) into a booming silent film production business. He made over 60 silent “moving pictures.” Each grander and more epic than the last. When the medium transitioned to “talkies,” he was there at the forefront. Known for his biblical epics like Samson and Delilah and The Ten Commandments as well as historical dramas like Cleopatra and The Greatest Show on Earth, DeMille inspired generations of film-makers with the sheer scale and spectacle of his films. He was the first recipient of the Hollywood Foreign Press’s honorary Golden Globe for outstanding contributions to the entertainment industry…the award which now bears his own name. On the set of his 70th feature film, The Ten Commandments (incidentally, a remake of his own silent era version) DeMille suffered his first of several heart attacks. Though he finished it, his health declined in the waning years and Commandments would be his final film. He died at the age of 77 a little more than 2 years after it was released.

Burial

Hollywood Forever Cemetery – Los Angeles, CA

Specific Location

At the north end of the lake section, the DeMille family plot is on the south side of Lakewood Ave.

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