Cecil B. DeMille makes a surprise appearance in Seattle on August 25, 1949.

  • By Eric L. Flom
  • Posted 1/15/2005
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 7210

On the morning of August 25, 1949, railway travelers are taken aback at the sight of famed Hollywood director Cecil B. DeMille (1881-1959) milling about King Street Station. The director arrived in the city at 8:30 in the morning, enduring a three-and-a-half-hour train layover in Seattle before departing for Los Angeles at noon.

Passing Through

DeMille was passing through Seattle after having spent two weeks in the upper Midwest with the Ringling Brothers circus troupe researching a film project about circus life. That film, eventually released as The Greatest Show on Earth, would win an Academy Award as Best Picture of 1952.  DeMille was also honored with a nomination as Best Director that year, but lost to John Ford (1894-1973) for Ford's work on The Quiet Man.

DeMille tried to remain inconspicuous during his layover at the King Street Station, although anyone with an entourage of three, not to mention 17 pieces of luggage, tended to attract attention. The fact that he was one of Hollywood's most recognizable directors didn't help either. 

DeMille spent much of his time strolling about, talking with passersby and signing autographs, much to the delight of rail travelers, who were all to happy offer the director a pen and paper.


"De Mille Visits City Quietly," Seattle Daily Times, August 25, 1949, p. 11.

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