Hedy Lamarr Inventor
Hedy Lamarr, hauntingly beautiful actress, and mother of modern mobile phone technology.
Hedy Lamarr (November 9, 1913 – January 19, 2000), born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler, was an Austrian-born American actress and communications technology innovator. Though known primarily for her great beauty and her successful film career, she also co-invented the first form of spread spectrum, a key to modern wireless communication.
Early life and education
Lamarr was born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler in Vienna, Austria in 1913. While married to her first husband, Friedrich Mandl, aka Fritz Mandl Budde, an arms manufacturer, she became educated technically in her husband's business. Mandl was 13 years older than Lamarr, and extremely possessive of her. To escape him, one night she drugged her maid and took a train to London.
After her flight from Mandl, she 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 a drug overdose in 1926.
Lamarr had already appeared in several European films, including Ecstasy (1933), A Czech film, 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 nude through the woods, gave the film notoriety, as the first actress to appear nude in a regular film. She also gained notoriety as one of the first actresses to bare her breasts in a major film and for faking an orgasm on 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."
In Hollywood, she was usually cast as glamorous and seductive. Her many films include Algiers (1938), 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.
Her biggest success came as Delilah in Cecil B. DeMille's Samson and Delilah (1949) with Victor Mature as the Biblical strongman. Lamarr was cast more for her stunning exotic beauty—which the 1 October 1938 issue of Vogue described as a "fatal Sunday supplement beauty, somnambulistic and aloof"—than her ability as an actress.
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.
"Pantomime Quiz" .... Guest
Panelist (1 episode, 1962)
... aka Mike Stokey's Pantomime Quiz (USA)
... aka Stump the Stars (USA: new title)
- Hedy Lamarr (1962) TV Episode .... Guest Panelist
- The Female Animal (1958) .... Vanessa Windsor
- The Story of Mankind (1957) .... Joan of Arc
"Zane Grey Theater" .... Consuela Bowers
(1 episode, 1957)
... aka Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater (USA: complete title)
... aka The Westerners (USA: rerun title)
- Proud Woman (1957) TV Episode .... Consuela Bowers
"The George Gobel Show" .... Guest Star
(1 episode, 1957)
- Episode dated 22 October 1957 (1957) TV Episode .... Guest Star
- Slaughter on Tenth Avenue (1957) (scenes deleted)
"Shower of Stars" (1 episode, 1957)
... aka Chrysler Shower of Stars
- Cloak and Dagger (1957) TV Episode
- Eterna femmina, L' (1954)
Amante di Paride, L' (1954) .... Hedy
Windsor/Helen of Troy/Empress
Josephine/Geneviève de Brabant
... aka Loves of Three Queens (USA)
... aka The Face That Launched a Thousand Ships (UK)
"Four Star Revue" .... Guest star
(1 episode, 1952)
... aka All Star Revue (USA: new title)
- Episode dated 14 June 1952 (1952) TV Episode .... Guest star
- My Favorite Spy (1951) .... Lily Dalbray
- Copper Canyon (1950) .... Lisa Roselle
A Lady Without Passport (1950) .... Marianne
Samson and Delilah (1949) ....
... aka Cecil B. DeMille's Samson and Delilah (USA: complete title)
- Let's Live a Little (1948) .... Dr. J.O. Loring
Dishonored Lady (1947) .... Madeleine
... aka Sins of Madeleine (USA: reissue title)
- The Strange Woman (1946) .... Jenny Hager
- Her Highness and the Bellboy (1945) .... Princess Veronica
- Experiment Perilous (1944) .... Allida Bederaux
- The Conspirators (1944) .... Irene Von Mohr
- The Heavenly Body (1944) .... Vicky Whitley
- White Cargo (1942) .... Tondelayo
- Crossroads (1942) .... Lucienne Talbot
- Tortilla Flat (1942) .... Dolores Ramirez
- H.M. Pulham, Esq. (1941) .... Marvin Myles Ransome
- Ziegfeld Girl (1941) .... Mrs. Sandra Kolter
- Come Live with Me (1941) .... Johnny Jones
- Comrade X (1940) .... Golubka, aka Theodore Yahupitz and Lizvanetchka 'Lizzie'
- Boom Town (1940) .... Karen Vanmeer
I Take This Woman (1940) .... Georgi Gragore
- Lady of the Tropics (1939) .... Manon deVargnes Carey, aka Kira Kim
- Algiers (1938) .... Gaby
Ekstase (1933) (as Hedy Kiesler) .... Eva
... aka Ecstasy (USA)
... aka Ekstase (Austria)
... aka My Ecstasy (USA: reissue title)
... aka Rhapsody of Love (USA: reissue title)
... aka Symphony of Love
Man braucht kein Geld (1932) (as Hedy Kiesler)
.... Käthe Brandt
... aka His Majesty King Ballyhoo (informal English title)
... aka No Money Is Needed (USA: informal English title)
... aka Onkel aus Amerika, Der (Germany)
... aka We Need No Money (UK: literal English title)
Koffer des Herrn O.F., Die (1931) (as Hedy
Kiesler) .... Helene, the Mayor's Daughter
... aka Build and Marry
... aka The Thirteen Trunks of Mr. O.F.
... aka The Trunks of Mr. O.F.
Blumenfrau von Lindenau, Die (1931) ....
... aka Storm in a Water Glass (USA)
... aka Sturm im Wasserglas
... aka The Flower Woman of Lindenau
Geld auf der Straße (1930) (as Hedwig
Kiesler) .... Young Girl at Night Club Table
... aka Money on the Street
"American Masters" .... Sandra
Kolter (1 episode, 2004)
- Judy Garland: By Myself (2004
"The Merv Griffin Show" ....
Guest / ... (2 episodes, 1969-1970)
- Episode dated 2 June 1970 (1970) TV Episode .... Herself
- Episode dated 18 August 1969
"Personality" .... On film
(1 episode, 1969)
- Episode dated 15 August 1969 (1969) TV Episode .... On film
"The David Frost Show" .... Guest
(1 episode, 1969)
- Episode dated 14 August 1969 (1969) TV Episode .... Guest
"The Mike Douglas Show" .... Guest
(1 episode, 1969)
- Episode dated 12 August 1969 (1969) TV Episode .... Guest
"The Dick Cavett Show" .... Guest
(1 episode, 1969)
- Episode dated 2 June 1969 (1969) TV Episode .... Guest
"Shindig!" .... Guest (1 episode,
- Episode #1.61 (1965) TV Episode .... Guest
"The Celebrity Game" .... Celebrity Panelist
(1 episode, 1964)
- Episode dated 3 May 1964 (1964) TV Episode .... Celebrity Panelist
"The Tonight Show" (1 episode, 1962)
- Episode dated 23 April 1962
"What's My Line?" .... Guest
Panelist / ... (2 episodes,
- Episode dated 5 January 1958 (1958) TV Episode .... Guest Panelist
- Episode dated 31 March 1957 (1957) TV Episode .... Mystery Guest
"The Steve Allen Show" .... uth Show (USA: new
- Episode #2.45 (1957) TV Episode .... Herself - Match Game Wife
"I've Got a Secret" .... Guest Star
(1 episode, 1957)
- Episode dated 10 April 1957 (1957) TV Episode .... Guest Star
"The Perry Como Show" ..lub
- Episode dated 30 March 1957 (1957) TV Episode .... Guest Star
"The Colgate Comedy Hour" ..ubtitle)
- Episode #3.25 (1953) TV Episode .... Herself - Actress
- Episode #3.15 (1952) TV Episode .... Herself - Actress
- Episode #2.37 (1952) TV Episode .... Herself - Actress
"Toast of the Town" .how (USA: new title)
- Episode #4.1 (
- Show Business at War (lume IX, Issue 10
- The Miracle of Sound
- Screen Snapshots Series 18, No. 10 (1939) .... Herself
Hollywood Goes to Town (1938) (uncredited) ....
- Hedy Lamarr: Secrets of a Hollywood Star (2006) .... Herself
- Edgar G. Ulmer - The Man Off-screen (2004)
- Calling Hedy Lamarr (2004) .... Herself
- Celebrity Naked Ambition (2003) (TV)
- The Casting Couch (1995) (V)
- Entertaining the Troops (1994) .... Herself
- That's Entertainment! III (1994) (uncredited) .... Herself (clip from "Ziegfeld Girl")
- Espectador que o Cinema Esqueceu, O (1991)
- Instant Karma (1990) .... Movie Goddess
- Going Hollywood: The War Years (1988) .... Herself
- Life Goes to War: Hollywood and the Home Front (1977) .... Herself
- That's Action (1977) .... Herself
- That's Entertainment, Part II (1976) (uncredited) .... Clip from 'White Cargo'
- Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? (1975)
- "The World at War" (1974) (uncredited) .... Herself
- The Love Goddesses (1965) .... Herself
- Some of the Best (1949) .... Herself
Frequency-hopped spread spectrum invention
Hedy Lamarr (under her then-married name of Hedy Kiesler Markey) and composer George Antheil received U.S. Patent 2,292,387 for their Secret Communication System on August 11, 1942. 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. This idea was controversial and ahead of its time and technology. The technology was not implemented 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 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 frequency-hopping idea served as the basis for modern spread-spectrum communication technology used in devices ranging from cordless telephones to WiFi Internet connections. The technology in particular that is often attributed to her and George Antheil is CDMA. 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.
In 2003, the Boeing corporation 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. In 2005, the first Inventor's Day in German-speaking countries was held in her honor on November 9, on what would have been her 92nd birthday.
Briefly engaged to the actor George Montgomery in 1942, Lamarr was married to:
- Friedrich Mandl (1900–1977), married 1933–37; chairman of Hirtenberger Patronen-Fabrik, a leading armaments firm founded by his father, Alexander Mandl. Mandl, although partially of Jewish descent, was a Nazi sympathizer.
- Gene Markey (1895-1980), screenwriter and producer, married 1939–41; son (adopted in 1941, after their divorce), James Lamarr Markey (b. 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 longer than the four weeks she had known Markey. Previously, he was married to actresses Joan Bennett and Myrna Loy.
- John Loder (born John Muir Lowe, 1898–1988), actor, married 1943–47; two children: Anthony Loder (b. 1947) and Denise Loder (b. 1945). Loder adopted Hedy's son, James Lamarr Markey, and gave him his surname. 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.
- Ernest "Ted" Stauffer (1909-1991), nightclub owner, restaurateur, and former bandleader, married 1951–52.
- W. Howard Lee (1909–1981), a Texas oilman, married 1953–60. In 1960, he remarried film star Gene Tierney.
- Lewis J. Boies (b. 1920), a lawyer, married 1963–65. They were divorced after Lamarr claimed he had threatened her with a baseball bat.