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8. IN the forty-six years he spent behind the cameras, he created a wide and impressive assortment of images of him- self, some as vivid as the heroes who thundered out of his scripts. In his multiple forms, this last of the great pioneer directors left behind much for his critics and followers to chew on—DeMille the Sound Stage Tyrant, DeMille the Thirteenth Apostle, De- Mille the Bathtub King. These and other bouncy titles were not always spoken in jest, yet they glanced harmlessly off his armor. He learned to live without the acclaim of colleagues, always aware that Hollywood disapproved of his firebrand tactics, his Barnumesque settings, his preoccupation with display, and par- ticularly his irritating habit of deriving enormous profit from subjects that were supposed to spell financial ruin. He had to be the boldest of competitors in order to survive nearly a half century of Hollywood's chancy climate. No one cared to contest the fact that he had proved himself the most durable and tireless of them all. Associates were wont to pon- der whether he was mortal and fallible, perhaps even inexpli- cably immune to the laws of natural tenancy. Not aware of this special dispensation, Hollywood periodically set about writing Ids epitaph. More than twenty years ago Louella Parsons an- nounced his retirement, speculating on how he was going to spend the 40 million dollars which she estimated he possessed at that time. DeMille emerged from these premature wakes with twice the energy of his would-be mourners and, like a prophet of old, continued to strike miracles from the rocks of Hollywood. He accepted challenge joyfully and knew the uses of adversity, once remarking to his old railroading friend Bill Jeffers, with devilish intonation, "I am the arch ogre of Holly- 316