Hedy Lamarr

Happy birthday to actress HedyLamarrHedy Lamarr, born Nov. 9, 1914 in Vienna, Austria. Lamarr started working in the theater in Berlin in the late 1920s, and by 1930, was appearing in German-Austrian films. In 1933, she gained notoriety for her role in Ecstasy, in which she briefly appeared nude and had a scene where her character experienced an orgasm. Her first husband, Friedrich Mandl, didn’t approve of Lamarr’s acting career and severely restricted her activities, putting an end to her acting pursuits. She eventually left him and fled to Paris in 1937, where she was discovered by Louis B. Mayer. Her first Hollywood film was Algiers (1938) with Charles Boyer. She continued to appear in many popular films throughout the 1940s, but by the 1950s, only had a handful of roles. Her final film was The Female Animal (1958). At the height of her popularity, Lamarr appeared in five classic noir films: Crossroads (1942), Experiment Perilous (1944), The Strange Woman (1946), Dishonored Lady (1947), and A Lady Without Passport (1950). Lamarr had a keen interest in science and technology, and spent her free time working on inventions. In an effort to make a tangible contribution to the war effort, she collaborated with composer George Antheil in 1942 to invent “frequency hopping”, a communications technology that prevents radio-controlled torpedoes from being jammed by an enemy. Although initially rejected, Lamarr’s invention was eventually adopted by the U.S. Navy in the early 1960s, and today, it serves as the basis for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS communications. After retiring from film in the late 1950s, Lamarr led an increasingly reclusive life, turning down film and television roles, and eventually communicating with the outside world only by telephone. Lamarr died of heart failure in 2000 at age 85.

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