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Hedy Lamarr

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Hedy Lamarr

Hedy Lamarr
Publicity photo, c. 1940
Born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler
(1914-11-09)9 November 1914[a]
Vienna, Austria-Hungary
Died 19 January 2000(2000-01-19) (aged 85)
Casselberry, Florida, U.S.
Citizenship Austria
United States (from 1953)
Occupation Actress, inventor
Years active 1930–1958
Spouse(s) Fritz Mandl
(m. 1933–1937; divorced)
Gene Markey
(m. 1939–1941; divorced; 1 child)
John Loder
(m. 1943–1947; divorced; 2 children)
Teddy Stauffer
(m. 1951–1952; divorced)
W. Howard Lee
(m. 1953–1960; divorced)
Lewis J. Boies
(m. 1963–1965; divorced)

Hedy Lamarr (; born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler, 9 November 1914 – 19 January 2000)[a] was an Austrian and American film actress and inventor.[1]

Lamarr appeared in numerous popular feature films, including Algiers (1938) with Charles Boyer, I Take This Woman (1940) with Spencer Tracy, Comrade X (1940) with Clark Gable, Come Live With Me (1941) with James Stewart, H.M. Pulham, Esq. (1941) with Robert Young, and Samson and Delilah (1949) with Victor Mature.[2] After an early and brief film career in Germany, which included a controversial love-making scene in the film Ecstasy (1933), she fled her husband and secretly moved to Paris. While there, she met MGM head Louis B. Mayer, who offered her a movie contract in Hollywood, where she became a film star from the late 1930s to the 1950s.[3]

During her first marriage, Lamarr developed a keen interest in spread spectrum and frequency hopping technology to defeat it.[4] Though the US Navy did not adopt the technology until the 1960s, the principles of her work are now incorporated into modern Wi-Fi, CDMA and Bluetooth technology,[5][6][7] and this work led to her being inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2014.[4][8]

Contents

  • Early life and European film career 1
    • First marriage 1.1
  • Move to the United States 2
    • Hollywood film career 2.1
    • Early inventions 2.2
    • Frequency-hopping spread-spectrum invention 2.3
    • Fundraising for the war effort 2.4
  • Later years 3
    • Later media appearances 3.1
  • Death 4
  • Marriages and relationships 5
  • Filmography 6
  • See also 7
  • Notes 8
  • References 9
  • Further reading 10
  • External links 11

Early life and European film career

Lamarr was born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler in 1914 in Vienna, Austria-Hungary, the only child of Gertrud "Trude" Kiesler (née Lichtwitz; 3 February 1894 – 27 February 1977) and Emil Kiesler (27 December 1880 – 14 February 1935). Her father was born in Lemberg (nowadays Lviv, Ukraine) and was a successful bank director.[9] He died before the Holocaust, and later Hedy, through her influence as an actress, was able to rescue her mother from this plight.[10]

Her mother was a pianist and Budapest native who came from the "Jewish haute bourgeoisie". Stephen Michael Shearer, a Lamarr biographer, asserts that Lamarr's mother had converted from Judaism to Catholicism and was a "practising Christian".

In the late 1920s, Lamarr was discovered as an actress and brought to Berlin by producer Max Reinhardt. Following her training in the theater, she returned to Vienna, where she began to work in the film industry, first as a script girl, and soon as an actress.

In early 1933, at age 18, she starred in

  • Official website of the Estate of Hedy Lamarr (CMG Worldwide).
  • Hedy Lamarr Foundation
  • Hedy Lamarr profile at the National Inventors Hall of Fame
  • Patent 2292387, owned by Hedy Kiesler Markey AKA Hedy Lamarr
  • "The unlikely life of inventor and Hollywood star Hedy Lamarr" (article and audio excerpts), Alex McClintock and Sharon Carleton, Radio National, Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 14 July 2014.
  • Hedy Lamarr at Famous Women Inventors
  • Hedy Lamarr at the Internet Movie Database
  • Hedy Lamarr at the TCM Movie Database
  • at Reel ClassicsHedy Lamarr
  • Happy 100th Birthday Hedy Lamarr, Movie Star who Paved the Way for Wifi at CNet
  • "Most Beautiful Woman" by Day, Inventor by Night at NPR
  • at InventionsHedy Lamarr
  • Hedy Lamarr: Q&A with Author Patrick Agan, Andre Soares, Alt Film Guide, circa 2013.
  • Hedy Lamarr profile at Virtual History (photographs and literature) (ignore inaccurate year of birth at this site)
  • Hedy at a Hundred – the centenary of Lamarr’s birth, in the Ames Tribune, Nov. 2014.

External links

Further reading

  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b "Hedy Lamarr: Secrets of a Hollywood Star". Edition Filmmuseum 40. Edition Filmmuseum.com. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  4. ^ a b c
  5. ^ "Hollywood star whose invention paved the way for Wi-Fi", New Scientist, 8 December 2011. Retrieved 4 February 2014.
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ a b c d e
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ a b c
  14. ^ Donnelley, Paul. Fade to Black: 1500 Movie Obituaries, Omnibus Press (2010), p. 639.
  15. ^ Katz, Ephraim. The Film Encyclopedia, 3rd ed. HarperPerennial (1998), p. 780.
  16. ^ a b
  17. ^ video: "Hedy Lamarr Movie star, inventor of WiFi", CBS Sunday Morning, 9 min.
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^ Wayne, Robert L. "Moses" Speaks to His Grandchildren, Dog Ear Publishing (2014), ISBN 978-1-4575-3321-1, p. 19.
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^ Salamone, Debbie (24 October 1991). "Hedy Lamarr Won't Face Theft Charges If She Stays In Line". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 10 June 2010.
  30. ^ Hedy Lamarr, with Leo Guild and Cy Rice, Ecstasy and Me: My Life as a Woman, New York: Bartholomew House, 1966.
  31. ^
  32. ^ "Hedy Lamarr Loses Suit to Halt Book", The New York Times, 27 September 1966, p. 74.
  33. ^ "Lamarr Autobiography Prompts Plagiarism Suit", The New York Times, 7 February 1967, p. 18.
  34. ^ Ruth Barton, Hedy Lamarr: The Most Beautiful Woman in Film, University Press of Kentucky, 2010, p. 220.
  35. ^
  36. ^
  37. ^
  38. ^
  39. ^
  40. ^
  41. ^
  42. ^
  43. ^
  44. ^
  45. ^
  46. ^ a b
  47. ^
  48. ^
  49. ^
  50. ^ 1940 US Census via Ancestry.com
  51. ^

References

1 According to Lamarr biographer Stephen Michael Shearer (pp. 8, 339), she was born in 1914, not 1913.

Notes

See also

Year Title Role Leading actor Notes
1930 Gold on the Street Young Girl Georg Alexander Original title: Geld auf der Straße
1931 Storm in a Water Glass Secretary Paul Otto Original title: Sturm im Wasserglas
1931 The Trunks of Mr. O.F. Helene Alfred Abel Original title: Die Koffer des Herrn O.F.
1932 No Money Needed Käthe Brandt Heinz Rühmann Original title: Man braucht kein Geld
1933 Ecstasy Eva Hermann Gustav Machatý Original title: Ekstase
1938 Algiers Gaby Charles Boyer
1939 Lady of the Tropics Manon deVargnes Carey Robert Taylor
1940 I Take This Woman Georgi Gragore Decker Spencer Tracy
1940 Boom Town Karen Vanmeer Clark Gable
1940 Comrade X Theodore Clark Gable
1941 Come Live With Me Johnny Jones James Stewart
1941 Ziegfeld Girl Sandra Kolter James Stewart
1941 H.M. Pulham, Esq. Marvin Myles Ransome Robert Young
1942 Tortilla Flat Dolores Ramirez Spencer Tracy
1942 Crossroads Lucienne Talbot William Powell
1942 White Cargo Tondelayo Walter Pidgeon
1944 The Heavenly Body Vicky Whitley William Powell
1944 The Conspirators Irene Von Mohr Paul Henreid
1944 Experiment Perilous Allida Bederaux George Brent
1945 Her Highness and the Bellboy Princess Veronica Robert Walker
1946 The Strange Woman Jenny Hager George Sanders
1947 Dishonored Lady Madeleine Damien Dennis O'Keefe
1948 Let's Live a Little Dr. J.O. Loring Robert Cummings
1949 Samson and Delilah Delilah Victor Mature Her first film in Technicolor
1950 A Lady Without Passport Marianne Lorress John Hodiak
1950 Copper Canyon Lisa Roselle Ray Milland
1951 My Favorite Spy Lily Dalbray Bob Hope
1954 Loves of Three Queens Helen of Troy,
Joséphine de Beauharnais,
Genevieve of Brabant
Massimo Serato,
Cesare Danova
Original title: L'amante di Paride
1957 The Story of Mankind Joan of Arc Ronald Colman
1958 The Female Animal Vanessa Windsor George Nader

Filmography

  1. Friedrich Mandl (married 1933–1937), chairman of the Hirtenberger Patronen-Fabrik.[49]
  2. Gene Markey (married 1939–1941), screenwriter and producer. Child: James Lamarr Markey (born 9 January 1939), adopted 12 June 1939, and re-adopted by John Loder; the child was thereafter known as James Lamarr Loder. The couple lived at 2727 Benedict St in Los Angeles, California during their marriage.[50]
  3. John Loder (married 1943–1947), actor. Children: Denise Loder (born 19 January 1945), married Larry Colton, a writer and former baseball player, and Anthony Loder (born 1 February 1947), married Roxanne who worked for illustrator James McMullan.[51] Anthony Loder was featured in the 2004 documentary film Calling Hedy Lamarr[46]
  4. Ernest "Ted" Stauffer (married 1951–1952), nightclub owner, restaurateur, and former bandleader.
  5. W. Howard Lee (married 1953–1960); a Texas oilman (who later married film actress Gene Tierney).
  6. Lewis J. Boies (married 1963–1965); Lamarr's own divorce lawyer.

Lamarr was married six times. She adopted a son, James, in 1939 during her second marriage to Gene Markey. She went on to have two biological children, Denise (b. 1945) and Anthony (b. 1947), with her third husband, actor John Loder, who also adopted James.[48] The following is a list of her marriages:

Marriages and relationships

Lamarr was given an honorary grave in Vienna's Central Cemetery in 2014.[47]

Lamarr died in Casselberry, Florida, on 19 January 2000, aged 85. Her death certificate cited three causes: heart failure, chronic valvular heart disease, and arteriosclerotic heart disease.[9] Her death coincided with her daughter Denise's 55th birthday. Her son Anthony Loder took her ashes to Austria and spread them in the Vienna Woods, in accordance with her last wishes.[46]

Grave of Hedy Lamarr at Vienna's Central Cemetery, Group 33 D No. 80 (Dec. 2014)

Death

On 20 May 2010, Hedy Lamarr was chosen from 150 IT people to be featured in a short film launched by the British Computer Society (BCS).[45]

According to actress Anne Hathaway, her portrayal of Catwoman in the 2012 film The Dark Knight Rises was based on Lamarr.[44]

The story of Lamarr's frequency-hopping spread-spectrum invention was explored in an episode of the Science Channel show Dark Matters: Twisted But True, a series which explores the darker side of scientific discovery and experimentation, which premiered on 7 September 2011.[43] Her story was also featured in the premiere episode of the Discovery Channel show How We Invented the World.

The 2010 New York Public Library exhibit, Thirty Years of Photography at the New York Public Library included a photo of a topless Lamarr (ca. 1930) by Austrian-born American photographer Trude Fleischmann.

An Off-Broadway play, Frequency Hopping, features the lives of Lamarr and Antheil. The play was written and staged by Elyse Singer in 2008, and the script won a prize for best new play about science and technology from STAGE.[9][42]

In the last decades of her life the telephone became her only means of communication with the outside world, even with her children and close friends. She often talked up to six or seven hours a day on the phone, but she hardly spent any time with anyone in person in her final years. A documentary, Calling Hedy Lamarr, was released in 2004. Lamarr's children, Anthony Loder and Denise Loder-DeLuca, were featured in the documentary.[41]

Later media appearances

Lamarr became estranged from her adopted son, James Lamarr Loder, when he was 12 years old. Their relationship ended abruptly and he moved in with another family. They did not speak again for almost 50 years. Lamarr left James Loder out of her will and he sued for control of the US$3.3 million estate left by Lamarr in 2000.[40]

In her later years, Lamarr turned to plastic surgery to preserve the looks she was terrified of losing. Lamarr had to endure disastrous results. "She had her breasts enlarged, her cheeks raised, her lips made bigger, and much, much more" said Anthony. "She had plastic surgery thinking it could revive her looks and her career, but it backfired and distorted her beauty". Anthony Loder also claimed that Lamarr was addicted to pills.[39]

For her contribution to the motion picture industry, Hedy Lamarr has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6247 Hollywood Blvd.[37][38]

For several years beginning in 1997, the boxes of CorelDRAW’s software suites were graced by a large Corel-drawn image of Lamarr. The picture won CorelDRAW’s yearly software suite cover design contest in 1996. Lamarr sued Corel for using the image without her permission. Corel countered that she did not own rights to the image. The parties reached an undisclosed settlement in 1998.[35][36]

The 1970s was a decade of increasing seclusion for Lamarr. She was offered several scripts, television commercials, and stage projects, but none piqued her interest. In 1974, she filed an invasion of privacy lawsuit for US$10 million for an unauthorized use of her name (i.e. "Hedley Lamarr" in Mel Brooks' comedy film Blazing Saddles); the case was settled out of court.[34] With failing eyesight, she retreated from public life and settled in Miami Beach, Florida, in 1981.[9]

On a recent evening, sitting home alone suffering and brooding about my treatment at the police station because of an incident in a department store, and being replaced by Zsa Zsa Gabor in a motion picture (imagine how that pleased the ego!) I figured out that I had made – and spent – some thirty million dollars. Yet earlier that day I had been unable to pay for a sandwich at Schwab's drug store.
begins in a despondent mood, with this reference: Ecstasy and Me. Zsa Zsa Gabor (1966). The role was ultimately filled by Picture Mommy Dead (1966). The shoplifting charges coincided with a failed attempt to return to the screen in Hedy's short film Andy Warhol and a year after shopliftingThe publication of her autobiography took place about a year after the accusations of

Lamarr later sued the publisher, saying that many of the anecdotes in the book, which was described by a judge as "filthy, nauseating, and revolting," were fabricated by its ghost writer, Leo Guild.[31][32] She was also sued in Federal Court by Gene Ringgold, who asserted the actress's autobiography contained material from an article about her life which he wrote in 1965 for a magazine called Screen Facts.[33]

According to her autobiography Ecstasy and Me (1966), while attempting to flee her husband, Fritz Mandl, she reputedly slipped into a brothel and hid in an empty room. While her husband searched the brothel, a man entered the room and she had sex with him so she could remain unrecognized. She was finally successful in escaping when she hired a new maid who resembled her; she drugged the maid and used her uniform as a disguise to escape.[30]

Lamarr became a naturalized citizen of the United States on 10 April 1953, at age 38. In 1966, she was arrested for shoplifting in Los Angeles. The charges were eventually dropped. In 1991, she was arrested on the same charge in Florida, this time for US$21.48 worth of laxatives and eye drops. She pleaded "no contest" to avoid a court appearance, and in return for a promise to refrain from breaking any laws for a year, the charges were once again dropped.[29]

John Hodiak and Lamarr in A Lady Without Passport (1950)

Later years

Lamarr and Antheil were inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2014.[28]

In addition, her technological contributions have been featured on the Science Channel and the Discovery Channel.[27]

In the 1990s, Lamarr and Antheil got the recognition they deserved for their invention. They received such awards as the Electronic Frontier Foundation Pioneer Award and the BULBIEª Gnass Spirit of Achievement Bronze Award, given to individuals whose creative lifetime achievements in the arts, sciences, business, or invention fields have significantly contributed to society.[26]

Lamarr wanted to join the National Inventors Council, but was reportedly told by NIC member Charles F. Kettering and others that she could better help the war effort by using her celebrity status to sell War Bonds.[23][24] Lamarr participated in a war bond selling campaign with a sailor named Eddie Rhodes. Rhodes would be in the crowd at each Lamarr appearance, and she would call him up on stage. She would briefly flirt with him before asking the audience if she should give him a kiss. The crowd would of course say yes, to which Hedy would reply that she would if enough people bought war bonds. After enough bonds were purchased, she would give Rhodes his kiss, and he would head back into the audience. Then they would head off to the next war bond rally.[25]

Fundraising for the war effort

Lamarr's and Antheil's frequency-hopping idea served as a basis for modern spread-spectrum communication technology, such as GPS, Bluetooth, COFDM (used in Wi-Fi network connections), and CDMA (used in some cordless and wireless cell phones).[21] Blackwell, Martin, and Vernam's 1920 patent[22] seems to lay the communications groundwork for Lamarr and Antheil's patent, which employed the techniques in the autonomous control of torpedoes.

On 11 August 1942, U.S. Patent 2,292,387 was granted to Hedy Kiesler Markey, Lamarr's married name at the time, and George Antheil. This early version of frequency hopping, although novel, soon was met with opposition from the U.S. Navy and was not adopted.[19] The idea was not implemented in the U.S. until 1962, when it was used by U.S. military ships during a blockade of Cuba after the patent had expired. Lamarr's work was honored in 1997, when the Electronic Frontier Foundation gave her a belated award for her contributions.[4] In 1998, an Ottawa wireless technology developer, Wi-LAN Inc., acquired a 49% claim to the patent from Lamarr for an undisclosed amount of stock.[20]

The specific code for the sequence of frequencies would be held identically by the controlling ship and in the torpedo. It would be practically impossible for the enemy to scan and jam all 88 frequencies, as computation this complex would require too much power. The frequency-hopping sequence was controlled by a player-piano mechanism, which Antheil had earlier used to score his Ballet Mécanique.

Lamarr and Antheil discussed the fact that radio-controlled torpedoes, while important in the naval war, could easily be jammed by broadcasting interference at the frequency of the control signal, causing the torpedo to go off course.[18] Lamarr had learned something about torpedoes during her marriage to Mandl. Lamarr and Antheil developed the idea of using frequency hopping to avoid jamming. This was achieved by using a piano roll to unpredictably change the signal sent between a control center and the torpedo at short bursts within a range of 88 frequencies in the radio-frequency spectrum (there are 88 black and white keys on a piano keyboard).

Lamarr's reputation as an inventor is based on her co-creation of a frequency-hopping system with avant garde composer and neighbor of Lamarr in California. During World War II, Lamarr was inspired to contribute to the war effort, and focused her efforts on countering torpedoes. In her home, explains author Richard Rhodes during an interview on CBS, she devoted a room to drafting her designs for frequency-hopping.[17]

Frequency-hopping spread-spectrum invention

Lamarr's earliest inventions include an improved traffic stoplight and a tablet that would dissolve in water to create a [16]

At the beginning of the war, she was told that she could better help the war effort by using her celebrity status to sell war bonds, which she did with great success. But she wanted to do more, particularly by using her interest in science to aid in the defeat of Nazism. This desire only intensified as Hitler continued his relentless attacks on Europe. When German submarines began torpedoing passenger liners, she said at one point, "I've got to invent something that will put a stop to that". This desire would give rise to the invention for which she would become famous many years later.

Early inventions

Lamarr made 18 films from 1940 to 1949 even though she had two children during that time (in 1945 and 1947). After leaving MGM in 1945, she enjoyed her biggest success as [16]

She received good reviews for her American film debut in Algiers (1938) with Charles Boyer, who asked that Lamarr be cast after meeting her at a party.[13] In Hollywood, she was invariably cast as the archetypal glamorous seductress of exotic origins. Lamarr played opposite the era's most popular leading men. Her many films include Boom Town (1940) with Clark Gable and Spencer Tracy, Comrade X with Gable, White Cargo (1942), Tortilla Flat (1942) with Tracy and John Garfield, H. M. Pulham, Esq. (1941) with Robert Young, and Dishonored Lady (1947). In 1941, Lamarr was cast alongside Lana Turner and Judy Garland in Ziegfeld Girl.

After escaping her husband, she fled to Paris in 1937, where she met Louis B. Mayer, who was scouting for talent in Europe.[14] Mayer hired her but insisted that she change her name to Hedy Lamarr—she had been known as "the Ecstasy lady"[13]—choosing the surname in homage to the beautiful silent film star, Barbara La Marr, who had died in 1926 from tuberculosis. Upon arriving in Hollywood in 1938, Mayer promoted her as the "world's most beautiful woman."[15]

Hollywood film career

Move to the United States

Lamarr's marriage to Mandl eventually became unbearable, and she decided to separate herself from both him and her country. She wrote in her autobiography that she disguised herself as her maid and fled to Paris. However, rumors claimed that Lamarr persuaded Mandl to let her wear all of her jewelry for a dinner, then disappeared.[13]

Lamarr wrote that Mussolini and Hitler had attended lavish parties hosted at the Mandl home. Mandl had her accompany him to business meetings, where he conferred with scientists and other professionals involved in military technology. These conferences were her introduction to the field of applied science and the ground that nurtured her latent talent in science.[12]

Reputed to be the third richest man in Austria, Mandl was a munitions manufacturer. In her autobiography Ecstasy and Me, Lamarr described Mandl as extremely controlling, preventing her from pursuing her acting career and keeping her a virtual prisoner, confined to their castle home, Schloss Schwarzenau. Although half-Jewish himself, Mandl had close social and business ties to the fascist governments of Italy and Nazi Germany, selling munitions to Mussolini.[9]

In 1933 she married

First marriage

[11][3]

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