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Hedy Lamarr

Hedy Lamarr

Hedy Lamarr (November 9, 1913 - January 19, 2000) was an actress and communications innovator. She was known as The Most Beautiful Woman In Films and also as the inventor of the first form of spread spectrum.

She was born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler in Vienna, Austria and died in Altamonte Springs, Florida.

While married to her first husband, Fritz Mandal, an arms manufacturer, she socialized with Adolf Hitler and Mussolini. She also became educated technically in his trade, Mandal was obsessed with her and never let her out of his sight. She hated him and hated his Nazi friends and finally escaped to London by drugging him.

She met Louis B. Mayer of MGM in London. He hired her and changed her name to Hedy Lamarr'. She had already appeared in several European films, including Ecstacy in which she played a love-hungry young wife of an indifferent old husband. Closeups of her face in passion, and long shots of her running naked through the woods, gave the film notoriety.

In Hollywood, she appeared in many films, usually cast as glamorous and seductive, including White Cargo (1942), and Tortilla Flat (1942), based on the novel by John Steinbeck. Her biggest success came in Cecil B. DeMille's Samson and Deliliah (1949) with Victor Mature as the Bible strongman.

Hedy Lamarr and composer George Antheil received patent number 2,292,387 for their "Secret Communications System". This early version of frequency hopping used a piano-roll to change between 88 frequencies and was intended to make radio-guided torpedoes harder for enemies to detect or to jam. The patent was little-known until recently because Lamarr applied for it under her married name of Hedy Keisler Markey. Neither Lamarr nor Antheil made any money from the patent.

Lamarr wanted to join the National Inventors Council but was told she could better help the war effort by using her celebrity status to sell war bonds. She once raised $7,000,000 at one event.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2003.

Hedy Lamarr Facts

Birth NameHedwig Eva Maria Kiesler
BirthdaySeptember 11, 1913
BirthplaceVienna, Austria
Date of deathJanuary 19, 2000 (age 86)
Height5' 7" (1m70)  How tall is Hedy Lamarr compared to you?

Selected Filmography

Dishonored Lady
Strange Woman, The
Samson And Delilah
Let's Live a Little
Fabulous Forties
Dark Film Mysteries
The Conspirators
Ziegfeld Girl
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