Hedy Lamarr was a symbol for both beauty and intellect. Aside from her career as an actress in a number of chart topping films, Lamarr developed a radio guidance system for American torpedoes during World War II. The principles in her work are incorporated in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi technology. Because of this, she was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2014 and holds a legacy as not only an actress, but also as an impactful inventor known for her creativity and attention to detail.
Often called “The Most Beautiful Woman in Films,” Hedy Lamarr’s beauty and screen presence made her one of the most popular actresses of her day.
She was born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler on November 9, 1914 in Vienna, Austria. At 17 years old, Hedy starred in her first film, a German project called Geld auf der Strase. Hedy continued her film career by working on both German and Czechoslavakian productions. The 1932 German film Exstase brought her to the attention of Hollywood producers, and she soon signed a contract with MGM.
Once in Hollywood, she officially changed her name to Hedy Lamarr and starred in her first Hollywood film, Algiers (1938), opposite Charles Boyer. She continued to land parts opposite the most popular and talented actors of the day, including Spencer Tracy, Clark Gable, and Jimmy Stewart. Some of her films include an adaptation of John Steinbeck’s Tortilla Flat (1942), White Cargo (1942), Cecil B. DeMille’s Samson and Delilah (1949), and The Female Animal (1957).
As if being a beautiful, talented actress was not enough, Hedy was also extremely intelligent. In addition to her film accomplishments, Hedy patented an idea that later became the crutch of both secure military communications and mobile phone technology. In 1942, Hedy and composer George Antheil patented what they called the “Secret Communication System.” The original idea, meant to solve the problem of enemies blocking signals from radio-controlled missiles during World War II, involved changing radio frequencies simultaneously to prevent enemies from being able to detect the messages. While the technology of the time prevented the feasibility of the idea at first, the advent of the transistor and its later downsizing made Hedy’s idea very important to both the military and the cell phone industry.
This impressive technological achievement combined with her acting talent and star quality to make “the most beautiful woman in film” one of the most interesting and intelligent women in the movie industry.
- 1989 Entertaining the Troops – Herself
- 1977 That’s Action- Herself
- 1965The Love Goddesses – Herself
- 1957The Female Animal – Vanessa Windsor
- 1957The Story of Mankind – Joan of Arc
- 1954 Eterna femmina, L’
- 1954 L’Amante di Paride – Hedy Windsor
- 1951 My Favorite Spy – Lily Dalbray
- 1950Copper Canyon Lisa Roselle
- 1950 A Lady Without Passport – Marianne Lorress
- 1949 Samson and Delilah – Delilah
- 1948 Let’s Live a Little- Dr. J.O. Loring
- 1947 Dishonored Lady – Madeleine Damien
- 1946 The Strange Woman – Jenny Hager
- 1945 Her Highness and the Bellboy – Princess Veronica
- 1945 Experiment Perilous – Alida Bederaux
- 1944The Conspirators- Irene Von Mohr
- 1943The Heavenly Body – Vicky Whitley
- 1942 Show Business at WarHerself
- 1942 Tortilla Flat – Dolores Ramirez
- 1942 Crossroads – Lucienne Talbot
- 1941 White Cargo – Tondelayo
- 1941 Come Live with MeJohnny Jones
- 1941 Ziegfeld Girl – Sondra Kolter
- 1940 H.M. Pulham, Esq. – Marvin Myles Ransome
- 1940 Boom TownKaren Vanmeer
- 1940 Comrade X Golubka
- 1939 The Miracle of SoundHerself
- 1939I Take This Woman – Georgi Gragore
- 1939Lady of the Tropics – Manon deVargnes Carey
- 1938 Algiers Gaby
- 1932 EcstasyEva
- 1931 Die Koffer des Herrn – O.F.Helene
- 1931 Die Blumenfrau von Lindenau – Secretary
- 1931 Man braucht kein – GeldKäthe Brandt
- 1930 Geld auf der Straße- Young Girl at Night Club Tabl
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