Katherine DeMille

Katherine DeMille

Born Katherine Paula Lester
(1911-06-29)June 29, 1911
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Died April 27, 1995(1995-04-27) (aged 83)
Tucson, Arizona, U.S.
Occupation Actress
Years active 1930-56
Spouse(s) Anthony Quinn (m. October 3, 1937 - 1965; divorced); 5 children

Katherine DeMille (born Katherine Paula Lester; June 29, 1911 April 27, 1995) was a Canadian-born American film actress.

Early years

DeMille was born Katherine Paula Lester in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. She was orphaned as a child by the death of her father, an officer in the Canadian Army who died in World War I combat in the Battle of Vimy Ridge and the loss of her mother to tuberculosis in 1920. When she was nine years old, she was found in an orphanage and legally adopted by film director Cecil B. DeMille and his wife Constance when she was 11.[1]


DeMille gained experience on stage in 1930 "by acting as understudy for the feminine 'heavy' of the play Rebound" in San Francisco.[2] DeMille first appeared on screen as an uncredited "Zeppelin Reveler" in Madame Satan (1930), and made thirty film appearances until retiring in 1956.

Personal life

DeMille married actor Anthony Quinn on October 3, 1937. They had five children: Christopher (1939-1941), Christina (born December 1, 1941), Catalina (born November 21, 1942), Duncan (born August 4, 1945), and Valentina (born December 26, 1952).[3] Their first child, Christopher, was found drowned in the lily pond of W.C. Fields at age two.[4]

DeMille accepted the 1953 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor on behalf of her husband, who was not present at the ceremony. They divorced in 1965 due to his extramarital relationships. (A December 8, 1964, newspaper article says that Quinn sued DeMille for divorce in Juarez, Mexico, and "listed incompatibility in the suit as grounds for divorce.")[5]


Katherine DeMille died of Alzheimer's disease in Tucson, Arizona in 1995, at age 83. The disposition of her remains is unknown.


Year Title Role
1930 Madame Satan Zeppelin Reveler (uncredited)
1931 Son of India Amah - Karim's Servant (uncredited)
Girls About Town Girl (uncredited)
1934 Viva Villa! Rosita Morales
The Trumpet Blows Lupe the Maid
Belle of the Nineties Molly Brant
1935 All the King's Horses Fraulein Mimi
The Black Room Mashka
The Call of the Wild Marie
The Crusades Alice, Princess of France
1936 Drift Fence Molly Dunn
The Sky Parade Geraldine Croft
Romeo and Juliet Rosaline (uncredited)
Ramona Margarita
Banjo on My Knee Leota Long
1937 Charlie Chan at the Olympics Yvonne Roland
The Californian Chata
Love Under Fire Rosa
Under Suspicion Mary Brookhart
1938 Blockade Cabaret Girl
1939 Trapped in the Sky Carol Rayder
In Old Caliente Rita Vargas
1940 Isle of Destiny Inda
Ellery Queen, Master Detective Valerie Norris
Dark Streets of Cairo Shari Abbadi
1941 Aloma of the South Seas Kari
1947 Black Gold Sarah Eagle
Unconquered Hannah
1949 The Judge Lucille Strang
1956 Man from Del Rio Woman (uncredited)


  1. "Mary Alden "Mother" Again". The Evening News. Pennsylvania, Harrisburg. May 8, 1922. p. 14. Retrieved June 16, 2016 via Newspapers.com.
  2. "The Talkie Ticker". Southtown Economist. Illinois, Chicago. August 5, 1930. p. 2. Retrieved June 17, 2016 via Newspapers.com.
  3. Quinn Chronology (PDF)
  4. Robert Lewis Taylor (1967). W. C. Fields: His Follies and Fortunes. New York: New American Library. p. 235. ISBN 0-451-50653-7.
  5. "Anthony Quinn Sues for Divorce". Albuquerque Journal. New Mexico, Albuquerque. Associated Press. December 8, 1964. p. 21. Retrieved June 16, 2016 via Newspapers.com.
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