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The Café and Courtyard will be closed Sunday, Nov. 17 in preparation for a special event. The museums will close at 5:00 pm, at which point visitors will be directed to exit through the building’s F street lobby. The G street exit and ramp will remain accessible to those who need it. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Cecil B. De Mille

Wide World Photos
Cecil Blount DeMille, 12 Aug 1881 - 21 Jan 1959
Gelatin silver print on paper
Sheet: 25.4 × 20.3cm (10 × 8")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Time magazine. Conserved with funds from The Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation
Restrictions & Rights
© AP Images/Wide World
Object number
Exhibition Label
Cecil B. DeMille was one of the great pioneers of the American motion picture industry. Time reported in a cover story of August 27, 1934, that he was "the only director who managed to walk the tightrope from silent to sound films without losing his megaphone or mannerisms." In fact, he was the last director in Hollywood to still use a megaphone! Time was critiquing DeMille’s sixty-seventh film, Cleopatra, starring Claudette Colbert in the title role, with Warren William as Julius Caesar. It was a typical DeMille production in that it was lavishly produced at an exorbitant cost and included a favorite DeMille prop—a bathing facility. Cleopatra’s bathtub covered an entire acre. The magazine noted that "the fabulous DeMille bathtub is a symbol not of cleanliness but of luxury."
Cecil B. DeMille fue uno de los grandes pioneros de la industria cinematográfica estadounidense. Time comentó en un artículo del 27 de agosto de 1934 que era "el único director que logró caminar la cuerda floja desde el cine silente hasta el sonoro sin perder su megáfono ni sus peculiaridades". De hecho, fue el último director de Hollywood que usó megáfono. En aquel momento, Time reseñaba la película número sesenta y siete de DeMille, Cleopatra, protagonizada por Claudette Colbert con Warren William como Julio César. Se trataba de un filme típico de DeMille, con una producción espléndida de costo exorbitante, y además un elemento favorito del director: un baño. La bañera de Cleopatra ocupaba un acre completo. Según comentó la revista: "La fabulosa bañera de DeMille es un símbolo, no de higiene, sino de lujo".
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
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National Portrait Gallery Collection