Nelson Richard DeMille was born in New York City on August 23, 1943 to Huron and Antonia (Panzera) DeMille, then moved with his parents to Long Island. He graduated from Elmont Memorial High School, where he played football and ran track.
DeMille spent three years at Hofstra University, then joined the Army where he attended Officer Candidate School and was commissioned a Lieutenant in the United States Army (1966-69). He saw action in Vietnam as an infantry platoon leader with the First Cavalry Division and was decorated with the Air Medal, Bronze Star, and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry.
After his discharge, DeMille returned to Hofstra University where he received his bachelor’s degree in Political Science and History. He has three children, Lauren, Alexander, and James, and resides on Long Island.