HEDY LAMARR Biography - Actors and Actresses


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Name: Hedy Lamarr                                                                             
Birth name: Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler                                                           
Born: 9 November 1913 Vienna, Austria                                                         
Died: 19 January 2000 Orlando, Florida                                                         
Hedy Lamarr (November 9, 1913 – January 19, 2000) was an Austrian-born American             
actress. Though known primarily for her great beauty and her successful film                   
career, she also co-invented an early form of spread spectrum, a key to modern                 
wireless communication.                                                                       
She was born as Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler in Vienna, Austrian Empire, to Emil                   
Kiesler, a bank director, and Gertrud née Lichtwitz, pianist. She was raised as               
Catholic, and studied ballet and piano. When working with Max Reinhardt in                     
Berlin, he called her the "most beautiful woman in Europe". Soon, the teenage                 
girl played major roles in German movies, alongside stars like Heinz Rühmann and             
Hans Moser.                                                                                   
In early 1933, she starred in Symphonie der Liebe or Ecstasy, a Czechoslovak                   
film made in Prague, in which she played a love-hungry young wife of an                       
indifferent old husband. Closeups of her face in orgasm, and long shots of her                 
running nude through the woods, gave the film notoriety.                                       
On 10 August 1933 she married Friedrich Mandl, a Vienna-based arms manufacturer,               
13 years her senior. The Austrian fascist bought up as many copies of the film                 
as he could possibly find, as he objected to her nudity and "the expression on                 
her face" (the looks of passion were the result of the director poking her in                 
the bottom with a safety pin). He prevented her from pursuing her acting                       
career, and instead took her to meetings with technicians and business partners.               
In these meetings, the mathematically-talented Lamarr learned about military                   
technology. Otherwise, she had to stay at castle Schwarzenau, from where she ran               
away in 1937.                                                                                 
First she went to Paris, then met Louis B. Mayer in London. After he hired her,               
at his insistence she changed her name to Hedy Lamarr, choosing the surname in                 
homage to a famously beautiful film star of the silent era, Barbara LaMarr,                   
who had died of tuberculosis and nephritis in 1926.                                           
In Hollywood, she was usually cast as glamorous and seductive. Her American                   
debut was in Algiers (1938). Her many films include White Cargo (1942), and                   
Tortilla Flat (1942), based on the novel by John Steinbeck. In 1941, she was                   
cast alongside two other Hollywood beauties, Lana Turner and Judy Garland in the               
musical extravaganza Ziegfeld Girl. As she or her agent also declined some roles,             
it is said that Ingrid Bergman was often cast instead of her.                                 
Her biggest success came as Delilah in Cecil B. DeMille's Samson and Delilah,                 
the highest-grossing film of 1949, with Victor Mature as the Biblical strongman.               
Lamarr became a naturalized citizen of the United States on April 10, 1953.                   
For her contribution to the motion picture industry, Hedy Lamarr has a star on                 
the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6247 Hollywood Blvd.                                             
The publication of her autobiography Ecstasy and Me (1967) took place about a                 
year after accusations of shoplifting, and a year after Andy Warhol's short film               
Hedy (1966), also known as The Shoplifter.                                                     
Avant garde composer George Antheil, a son of German immigrants and neighbor of               
Lamarr, had experimented with automated control of instruments. Together, they                 
submitted the idea of a Secret Communication System in June 1941. On 11 August                 
1942, U.S. Patent 2,292,387 was granted to Antheil and Hedy Kiesler Markey. 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 jam.                                                                             
The idea was impractical, ahead of its time, and not feasible due to the state                 
of mechanical technology in 1942. It was not implemented in the USA until 1962,               
when it was used by U.S. military ships during a blockade of Cuba, after the                   
patent had expired. Neither Lamarr nor Antheil (who died in 1959) made any money               
from the patent. Perhaps due to this lag in development, the patent was little-known           
until 1997, when the Electronic Frontier Foundation gave Lamarr an award for                   
this contribution.                                                                             
Lamarr's and Antheil's frequency-hopping idea serves as a basis for modern                     
spread-spectrum communication technology used in devices ranging from cordless                 
telephones to WiFi Internet connections, namely CDMA. Similar patents had                     
been granted to others earlier, like in Germany in 1935 to Telefunken engineers               
Paul Kotowski and Kurt Dannehl who also received U.S. Patent 2,158,662 and U.S.               
Patent 2,211,132 in 1939 and 1940.                                                             
Lamarr wanted to join the National Inventors Council, but she was told that she               
could better help the war effort by using her celebrity status to sell War Bonds.             
She once raised $7,000,000 at just one event.                                                 
Lamarr died in Altamonte Springs, Florida (near Orlando) on January 19, 2000.                 
Her son Anthony Loder took her ashes to Vienna and spread them in the Wienerwald,             
according to her wishes.