Open main menu

Katherine Orrison (born November 18, 1948) is an American set decorator, art director, producer, costumer, author and film historian specializing in the films of Cecil B. DeMille, the life and career of actor Henry Wilcoxon, and the epic film The Ten Commandments.[1]

Katherine Orrison
Born (1948-11-18) November 18, 1948 (age 70)
Anniston, Alabama,
United States
OccupationAuthor, film scholar, screenwriter
GenreFilm criticism, screenwriting
SubjectCecil B. De Mille
The Ten Commandments
(1923 and 1956)
Henry Wilcoxon
Gary Cooper

Early life and educationEdit

Orrison was born in Anniston, Alabama to John M. Orrison and Mary H. Orrison. She spent time visiting her grandparents in Pompano Beach, Florida when she was young.[2] She was inspired to pursue film after seeing The Ten Commandments film when she was 9 years old. She even started putting lamb's blood on her doorposts after seeing the film.[1]

Orrison graduated from the Sacred Heart Convent in Cullman, AL in 1966. She later attended the Pasadena Playhouse College of Theater Arts in Pasadena, CA. She married Peter Coe, but their marriage was annulled in 1969. After the annulment, Orrison worked for various companies like Filmation and Disney on animated films and commercials from 1969 to 1980. She then attended the American Film Institute in Beverly Hills, CA from 1980 through 1982.[2]


After leaving the American Film Institute, Orrison worked in the Hollywood film industry for over twenty years as an animation checker, associate producer, production manager, art director, set decorator and costumer. Her body of work included Miracle Mile (1988) and The Doors (1991).She also restored and decorated the Mayan Theater in downtown Los Angeles.[2]

Orrison wrote for Cult Movies magazine writing on topics like Lawrence of Arabia, actresses Yvonne De Carlo and Joan Woodbury, the re-modeling of Cecil B. De Mille's home in Los Feliz, and Blade Runner. In addition, she wrote in their book review column. She worked for Cult Movies for over ten years.[2]

Orrison was a film historian in various television documentaries. Orrison is also an author: she wrote a biography of Henry Wilcoxon called Lionheart in Hollywood[2] which she worked on for two and a half years.[1] Another one of her books was titled Written in Stone: Making Cecil B. DeMille's Epic "The Ten Commandments". She has also collaborated on screenplays like Rave-On Macbeth (2002) a European screenplay.[2]

On September 7, 1971, Orrison married Sherman Labby.[citation needed] He is also involved in the film industry as a production illustrator and storyboard artist. He died in 1998 from the effects of muscular dystrophy.[2]

Selected filmographyEdit

Film Contribution
Ritzville (1981) Associate producer
Dark Sanity (1982) Costumer
Stacy's Knights (1983) Second assistant, art department
Running Hot(1984) Set decorator
The Lost Empire (1984) Costumer
Shadows in the Storm (1988) Set decorator
Miracle Mile (1988) Additional set dresser; second unit art director
Settle the Score (1989) Set decorator; second unit TV movie art director
Street Asylum (1990) Craft service
Far Out Man (1990) Stand-by painter[citation needed]
Peacemaker (1990–1991) Set decorator[3]
The Nutt House (1992) Set decorator
I Don't Buy Kisses Anymore (1992) Set decorator
Affairs of the Heart (1994) Video associate producer
The Tie That Binds (1995) Associate producer
Hollywood History (2002) Actor (herself)[citation needed]


  • Orrison, Katherine (1999). Written in Stone: Making Cecil B. DeMille's Epic The Ten Commandments. Vestal, NY: Vestal Press. ISBN 1-879511-24-X.


  1. ^ a b c Chattaway, Peter T. "Katherine Orrison — the interview's up!". Patheos. Retrieved 13 June 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Katherine Orrison, Cecil B. De Mille Scholar, retrieved September 12, 2010
  3. ^ "Katherine Orrison". Retrieved 13 June 2016.

Further readingEdit

  • Wilcoxon, Henry; Orrison, Katherine (1991). Lionheart in Hollywood: the autobiography of Henry Wilcoxon. Metuchen, NJ and London: The Scarecrow Press, Inc. ISBN 0-8108-2476-0.

External linksEdit