Cecil B. DeMille

Birth Name: Cecil Blount DeMille

Date of Birth: August 12, 1881

Place of Birth: Ashfield, Franklin, Massachusetts, United States

Date of Death: January 21, 1959

Place of Death: Los Angeles, California, U.S.

*father – English, small amounts of Scottish and Dutch, distant Belgian Flemish, remote Welsh
*mother – Ashkenazi Jewish

Cecil B. DeMille was an American film director, producer, and actor. He directed 70 feature films, beginning in the silent era, including The Squaw Man, The Ten Commandments, Ben-Hur, The King of Kings, Union Pacific, Samson and Delilah, and The Greatest Show on Earth.

Cecil was the son of Beatrice deMille (born Matilda Beatrice Samuel), a play broker, screenwriter, playwright, theatre actress, and entrepreneur, and Henry Churchill deMille, a businessperson, Georgist, dramatist, and actor. His father was born in Washington, Beaufort, North Carolina, and had deep roots in the state, as well as in Massachusetts and Connecticut. His ancestry included English, small amounts of Scottish, and Dutch, the origin of his surname, distant Belgian Flemish, and remote Welsh. He was Episcopalian, and a lay reader in the church. Cecil’s mother was born in Liverpool, Lancashire, England, to a Jewish family, of English Jewish, German Jewish, and Dutch Jewish descent. They moved to New York in 1871. Cecil’s parents worked as teachers at a preparatory school.

He was raised in Washington, North Carolina, and then in Pompton Lakes, New Jersey. His family practiced Episcopalianism.

His brother was screenwriter and film director William C. deMille. Cecil was married to actress Constance Adams DeMille, until his death. They had four children, three of whom were adopted, including actress Katherine DeMille and author Richard de Mille. Cecil’s brother William was married to screenwriter Clara Beranger. Cecil’s nieces, William’s daughters with his first wife, feminist and activist Anna George de Mille, were dancer and choreographer Agnes de Mille and silent film actress Peggy George. Cecil’s adopted son Richard was the biological son of William deMille and Scottish author and screenwriter Lorna Moon.

Cecil’s paternal grandfather was William Edward deMille (the son of Thomas Arnold deMille and Caroline Elizabeth Price). William was born in Washington, Beaufort, North Carolina, and was a businessperson and politician. Thomas was the son of Peter deMille and Sophia Mead, whose father fought in the Revolutionary War. Caroline was the daughter of Matthew Endicott Price, whose father also fought in the Revolutionary War, and of Elizabeth Nairne.

Cecil’s paternal grandmother was Margaret Mutter Blount Hoyt (the daughter of Henry Churchill Hoyt and Margaret Mutter Blount). Cecil’s grandmother Margaret was born in North Carolina. Henry was the son of Eli Hoyt and Mary Ann Cambreleng. Mary Ann’s brother, Cecil’s great-great-great-uncle, was politician and businessperson Churchill C. Cambreleng, who was a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New York, from December 3, 1821 to March 3, 1839. Cecil’s great-grandmother Margaret was the daughter of John Bonner Blount, whose father fought in the Revolutionary War, and of Margaret Mutter.

Cecil’s maternal grandfather was Sylvester Lewis Samuel (the son of Lewis Judah Samuel and Catherine Yates). Sylvester was born in Liverpool, to a Jewish family. Cecil’s great-grandfather Lewis was the son of Ralph Samuel, who was born in Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Mecklenburg-West Pommerania, Germany, and of Polly Levy. Catherine was the daughter of Samuel Yates/Goetz, who was born in Neustrelitz, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany, and of Martha Abrahams.

Cecil’s maternal grandmother was Cecelia/Cecilia Wolff/Wolfe (the daughter of Mark/Mordecai Wolff and Mathilda Joseph). Cecelia was born in England, to a Jewish family. Mark was the son of Abraham Ze’ev Wolff, who was born in Bad Soden Salmünster, Main-Kinzig-Kreis, Hessen, Germany, and of Zipporah Edmondson.

Sources: Genealogies of Cecil B. DeMille – https://www.geni.com

Genealogy of Cecil B. DeMille (focusing on his father’s side) – https://famouskin.com

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