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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 a co-inventor of the first form of spread spectrum, a key to modern wireless communication.
While married to her first husband, Friedrich Mandl, aka 'Fritz Mandl', an arms manufacturer, she socialized with Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini.
Lamarr was born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler to a Jewish family in Vienna, Austria in 1913, and died in 2000 in Altamonte Springs, Florida.
She also became educated technically in his trade. Mandl was obsessed with his wife and never let her out of his sight.
She hated him and his Nazi friends and finally escaped to London by drugging him and the French maid he had hired to spy on her.
Ironically, Mandl was Jewish. Whether the Nazis ever knew about Mandl and Lamarr's Jewish origins has been debated by historians; Friedrich Mandl came from an extremely assimilated family and it appears that he overtly hid his Jewish origins and converted to Christianity under evident pressure.
Many also say that Lamarr's co-invention of spread spectrum as a potential World War II military application was fueled by her desire to do anything in her power to help see Nazi Germany defeated.
She met Louis B. Mayer of MGM in London. He hired her and changed her name to Hedy Lamarr, the surname in homage to a famously beautiful film star of the silent era, Barbara LaMarr, who had died of a drug overdose in 1926.
She had already appeared in several European films, including Ecstasy, 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.
She also gained notoriety as one of the first actresses to bare her breasts, and in a major film. Mandl bought up as many copies of the film as he could possibly find, as he objected to her nudity, as well as "the expression on her face."
She was also known as the "Laurence Olivier of Orgasm".
In Hollywood, she appeared in many films, usually cast as glamorous and seductive, including White Cargo and Tortilla Flat (both 1942), based on the novel by John Steinbeck.
Her biggest success came in Cecil B. DeMille's Samson and Delilah (1949) with Victor Mature as the Biblical strongman.
Lamarr became a naturalized citizen of the United States on April 10, 1953.
Frequency-hopped spread spectrum invention
Hedy Lamarr and composer George Antheil received patent number 2,292,387 for their "Secret Communication 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 then-married name of Hedy Kiesler Markey. Neither Lamarr nor Antheil made any money from the patent. The U.S. military did not adopt this technology until 1962.
Lamarr's frequency hopping technology served as the basis for modern spread-spectrum communication technology used in devices ranging from cordless phones to WiFi internet connections. In 1997, the two of them received an EFF Pioneer Award for the invention.
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.
In 2003 Boeing ran a series of recruitment ads featuring Hedy Lamarr as a woman of science. No reference to her film career was made in the ads.
The actress was married to:
Friedrich (Fritz) Mandl (1900-1977), married 1933-37; chairman of Hirtenberger Patronen-Fabrik, a leading armaments firm founded by his father, Alexander Mandl. In 1938, when his property was seized by the Austrian government, Mandl, although also of Jewish descent, was a Nazi factotum who had become close to Prince Ernst Ruediger von Stahremberg, the deposed Fascist Austrian Vice-Chancellor, fled to Brazil and later Argentina, where he became a citizen and remarried.
He also became an advisor to Juan Perуn and a film producer whose leading ladies included the future Eva Perуn. He also founded a new company, an airplane factory called "Industria Metalъrgica y Plбstica Argentina", and served a prison sentence.
Gene Markey (died 1980), screenwriter and producer, married 1939-41; son (adopted), James Lamarr Markey (1939-). When Lamarr and Markey divorced -- she claimed they had only spent four evenings alone together in their marriage -- the judge advised her to get to know any future husband more than the four weeks she had known Markey.
Previously married to the actress Joan Bennett (whose daughter, Diane Bennett Fox, he adopted and gave his surname) and father of their daughter Melinda, Markey later married Lucille Wright (nйe Parker), the owner of Calumet Farm, the thoroughbred horse farm in Kentucky.
John Loder (nй John Muir Lowe, 1899-1989), actor, married 1943-47; two children: Anthony Loder (1947-) and Denise Loder (1945-).
In 1949, Loder married Evelyn Auffmordt (nйe Carolan), and in 1958, he married Alba Julia Lagomarsino.
He also had a son and a daughter by his first two marriages to Sophie Kabel and Micheline Cheirel.
NOTE 1: Loder adopted James Lamarr Markey and gave him his surname.
Now a riverboat casino guard, James Lamarr Loder later challenged Hedy Lamarr's will in 2000, which did not mention him.
He later dropped his suit against the estate in exchange for a lump-sum payment of $50,000. Loder is married to the former Ona Minor and has four children, all of whom carry Lamarr as their middle name: Timothy, Ronald, Nadine, and Susan.
NOTE 2: A former Nordstrom employee, Denise Loder, now known as Denise Loder DeLuca, lives in Seattle.
NOTE 3: Anthony Loder is the owner of Phone USA, a cellular-phone store in Los Angeles.
Ernest "Ted" Stauffer, nightclub owner, restaurateur, and former bandleader, married 1951-52. He was married in 1955 to Anne Nekel Brown.
W. Howard Lee (1909-1981), a Texas oilman, married 1953-60. In 1960, he married film star Gene Tierney.
Lewis J. Boies (1920-), a lawyer, married 1963-65. They were divorced after Lamarr claimed he had threatened her with a baseball bat.
In one story presented in her autobiography, Ecstasy and Me, once while running from Friedrich Mandl she slipped into a brothel and hid in an empty room.
While her husband searched the brothel, a customer entered the room and she had sex with the man so she could remain hidden.
She was finally successful in escaping when she hired a new maid that looked like herself, drugged her and used the maid's uniform as a disguise to escape.
Lamarr later sued the publisher claiming that many of the anecdotes were fabricated by the ghost writer.
According to accounts in film histories, Cecil B. DeMille is said to have gathered the 1900 peacock feathers that Lamarr wore on her 18-foot-train dress in the 1949 movie Samson and Delilah himself, having chased molting peacocks on his ranch for the previous 10 years until he had collected enough feathers to have the garment made.
For her contribution to the motion picture industry, Hedy Lamarr has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6247 Hollywood Blvd.
In an interview appended to the DVD release of Blazing Saddles, Mel Brooks claims that Hedy Lamarr threatened to sue the producers.
He says she believed the film's running "Hedley Lamarr" joke infringed her right to publicity. Mel says they settled out of court for a small sum.
Hedy Lamarr was also the namesake for Hedy Lamarr, the headcrab pet of Dr. Isaac Kleiner, in the 2004 computer first-person shooter, Half-Life 2.
"Any girl can be glamorous. All you have to do is stand still and look stupid." — Hedy Lamarr
Money on the Street (1930)
We Need No Money (1931)
Storm in a Water Glass (1931)
The Trunks of Mr. O.F. (1931)
Ecstasy (1933) (French version)
Algiers (film) (1938)
Hollywood Goes to Town (1938) (short subject)
Lady of the Tropics (1939)
I Take This Woman (1940)
Boom Town (film) (1940)
Comrade X (1940)
Come Live with Me (1941)
Ziegfeld Girl (1941)
H.M. Pulham, Esq. (1941)
Tortilla Flat (1942)
White Cargo (1942)
Show Business at War (1943) (short subject)
The Heavenly Body (1943)
The Conspirators (1944)
Experiment Perilous (1944)
Her Highness and the Bellboy (1945)
The Strange Woman (1946)
Dishonored Lady (1947)
Let's Live a Little (1948)
Samson and Delilah (1949)
A Lady Without Passport (1950)
Copper Canyon (1950)
My Favorite Spy (1951)
The Eternal Female (1954) (unfinished)
Loves of Three Queens (1954)
The Story of Mankind (film) (1957)
The Female Animal (1958)
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