Birthday: November 9, 1914
Died At Age: 85
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Also Known As: Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler
Born Country: Austria
Born in: Vienna
Famous as: Actress, Co-inventor of technology for spread spectrum
Quotes By Hedy Lamarr
Spouse/Ex-: Friedrich Mandl, Gene Markey, John Loder, Lewis J. Boies, Teddy Stauffer, W. Howard Lee
father: Emil Kiesler
mother: Gertrud Kiesler
children: Anthony Loder, Denise Loder, James Lamarr Markey
Died on: January 19, 2000
place of death: Casselberry
City: Vienna, Austria
Who was Hedy Lamarr?
Hedy Lamarr was an Austrian-American actress and inventor who co-invented the technology for spread spectrum. A very famous actress of her time, she is credited to be one of the most beautiful women to have ever graced the silver screen. Fascinated by cinema from childhood, she decided early on to become an actress and began her acting career as a teenager after being discovered by a film producer. An Austrian by birth, she eventually moved to America after meeting MGM head Louis B. Mayer, who offered her a movie contract in Hollywood. A very glamorous and talented lady, she soon established herself as one of the most sought after actresses in Hollywood. Because of her sex appeal she was invariably typecast as the glamorous seductress and appeared opposite the era's most popular leading men such as Spencer Tracy, Clark Gable, and James Stewart. But Hedy Lamarr was no dumb beauty—she was a highly intelligent and smart woman with a keen interest in scientific pursuits. Along with the composer George Antheil, she co-invented the technology for spread spectrum and frequency hopping communications but did not receive immediate recognition for this invention. The significance of the invention was realized decades later and she was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2014
Childhood & Early Life
She was born as Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler on 9 November 1914, in Vienna, Austria-Hungary. She was the only child of Emil Kiesler, a successful bank director, and Gertrud "Trude" Kiesler, a pianist.
She was interested in acting from a young age and was discovered by the producer Max Reinhardt who brought her to Berlin. She received training in theater and returned to Vienna where she began to work in the film industry, starting out as a script girl before becoming an actress.
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She appeared in Gustav Machatý's film, ‘Ecstasy’ in 1933 as a young married woman who becomes involved in a passionate extra-marital affair with a soldier. She stirred considerable controversy with this role and became notorious for appearing in the nude in some of the scenes.
At that time she was married to a controlling man from whom she escaped and fled to Paris. There she met MGM head Louis B. Mayer who offered her a movie contract in Hollywood. She adopted the screen name ‘Hedy Lamarr’ at his suggestion.
In 1938, she appeared in her first Hollywood movie, ‘Algiers’ opposite Charles Boyer. The movie became a sensation as the American audiences were captivated by Lamarr’s stunning beauty and striking onscreen persona.
She became one of the most successful actresses in Hollywood over the next few years and appeared alongside several of the leading men of that era. She acted in 18 films during the 1940s which include ‘Boom Town’ (1940) with Clark Gable and Spencer Tracy, ‘Tortilla Flat’ (1942), co-starring Tracy, and ‘Samson and Delilah’ (1949), opposite Victor Mature.
During the 1940s, Hedy Lamarr also became involved in scientific research and in collaboration with George Antheil, an avant garde composer, she co-created a frequency-hopping system for which the duo also received a patent.
Throughout her acting career more emphasis had been laid on her glamorous looks rather than on her talent, and she had been typecast as a sexy seductress. As she began to age and her beauty started waning, her film career started declining.
In spite of being one of the most successful leading ladies in the 1940s, she could not find much success in the 1950s. She acted in only a few films and made one of her last appearances in ‘The Story of Mankind’ (1957).
As an actress, her most memorable role was in the movie ‘White Cargo’ (1942), which was based on a Broadway hit play by Leon Gordon. The film, in which she plays a beautiful seductress, was one of her biggest commercial hits.
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Hedy Lamarr in collaboration with George Anthiel co-created a frequency-hopping system to help combat the Nazis in World War II. The duo’s invention, though not much recognized during their lifetimes, served as a basis for modern spread-spectrum communication technology, such as Bluetooth, COFDM, and CDMA.
Awards & Achievements
She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6247 Hollywood Blvd in recognition of her contribution to the motion picture industry.
She, along with George Antheil, was honored with awards from the Electronic Frontier Foundation in the 1990s in recognition of their contribution to technology.
Hedy Lamarr and Antheil were inducted into the Inventor's Hall of Fame in 2014.
Personal Life & Legacy
She married Friedrich Mandl, a wealthy merchant, in 1933 while she was still a teenager. Her husband was too controlling and thus she ended this marriage in 1937.
She was briefly married to screenwriter and producer, Gene Markey, from 1939 to 1941. She adopted a son during this marriage.
Her third marriage to actor John Loder, in 1943, produced two biological children. This marriage too ended in divorce in 1947.
She married three more times but none of these marriages too lasted for long. Her last three husbands were Ernest "Ted" Stauffer (married 1951–1952), W. Howard Lee (married 1953–1960), and Lewis J. Boies (married 1963–1965).
Hedy Lamarr suffered from several heart diseases during her later years and died in Casselberry, Florida on 19 January 2000, at the age of 85.