The woman many critics and fans alike regard as the most beautiful ever to appear in films was born Hedwig Eva Kiesler in Vienna, Austria, and was a student of theater director Max Reinhardt in Berlin. She began her career in 1930 in Czech and German films. It was the Czech production Ecstasy (1933), in which she caused an international sensation by appearing nude and simulating orgasm, that brought her worldwide attention. The resulting notoriety got her called to Hollywood, and she was signed by MGM. The studio changed her name to the more elegant "Hedy Lamarr" and put her in a series of exotic adventure epics such as Algiers (1938) and White Cargo (1942). Her biggest success was in Cecil B. DeMille's spectacular Samson and Delilah (1949) as the title temptress, but her career declined from that point as her looks began to fade and a new crop of beauties supplanted her. She left the screen in 1957.IMDb Mini Biography By: Volker Boehm
Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler was born in Vienna, Austria, to a banker and his wife. Hedwig, who obviously became Hedy, had a rather calm childhood, but it was cinema that fascinated her. By the time she was a teenager she decided to drop out of school and seek fame as an actress. Her first role was a bit part in the German film Geld auf der Straße (1930) (aka "Money on the Street") in 1930. She was attractive and talented enough to be in three more German productions in 1931, but it would be her fifth film that catapulted her to worldwide fame. In 1932 she appeared in a German film called Ecstasy (1933) (US title: "Ecstasy") and had made the gutsy move to be nude. It's the story of a young girl who is married to a gentleman much older than she, but she winds up falling in love with a young soldier. The film's nude scenes created a sensation all over the world. The scenes, very tame by today's standards, caused the film to be banned by the US government at the time. Hedy soon married Fritz Mandl, a munitions manufacturer and a prominent Austrofascist (not the same as Nazi). He attempted to buy up all the prints of "Ecstasy" he could lay his hands on (Italy's dictator, Benito Mussolini, had a copy but refused to sell it to Mandl), but to no avail (there are prints floating around the world today). The notoriety of the film brought Hollywood to her door. She was brought to the attention of MGM mogul Louis B. Mayer, who signed her to a contract (a notorious prude when it came to his studio's films, Mayer signed her against his better judgment, but the money he knew her notoriety would bring in to the studio overrode any "moral" concerns he may have had). However, he insisted she change her name and make good, wholesome films. Hedy made her American film debut as Gaby in Algiers (1938). This was followed a year later by Lady of the Tropics (1939). In 1942 she landed the plum role of Tondelayo in the classic White Cargo (1942). After World War II her career began to decline and MGM decided it would be in the interest of all concerned if her contract were not renewed. Unfortunately for Hedy, she turned down the leads in both Gaslight (1940) and Casablanca (1942), both of which would have cemented her standing in the minds of the American public. In 1949 she appeared as Delilah opposite Victor Mature's Samson in Cecil B. DeMille's epic Samson and Delilah (1949). This proved to be Paramount Pictures' most profitable movie to date, bringing in $12 million in rental from theaters. The film's success led to more parts, but it was not enough to ease her financial crunch. She was to make only six more films between 1949 and 1957, the last being The Female Animal (1958). Hedy then retired to Florida, where she died on January 19, 2000.IMDb Mini Biography By: BlueGreen (partly)
|Lewis J. Boies||(4 March 1963 - 21 June 1965) (divorced; separated 15 October 1964)|
|W. Howard Lee||(22 December 1953 - 1960) (divorced)|
|Teddy Stauffer||(12 June 1951 - 1952) (divorced)|
|John Loder||(27 May 1943 - 17 July 1947) (divorced) 2 children|
|Gene Markey||(5 March 1939 - 3 October 1941) (divorced) 1 child|
|Fritz Mandl||(10 August 1933 - 1937) (divorced)|
Hedy's credited invention came from watching a player piano paper go around with different holes in the paper. This gave her the idea of broadcasting radio on different frequencies. She gave the idea to the pentagon that led to a radio guiding system for torpedoes which was used in WWII. She supposedly gained the knowledge from her first husband, Fritz Mandl, a Viennese munitions dealer who sided with the Nazis. Hedy drugged her maid to escape her husband and homeland.
Children: Antony Loder (b. 01 March 1947), Denise Loder (b. 29 May 1945), James (b. 06 March 1939 - father John Loder; adopted 16 October 1939 as James Markey Lamarr).
Sued software company Corel Corporation for using her photo on the cover of software product CorelDRAW. [April 1998]
Arrested for shoplifting in January 1966. Found not guilty.
Arrested for shoplifting in 1991. One year probation.
Was co-inventor (with composer George Antheil) of the earliest known form of the telecommunications method known as "frequency hopping", which 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 method received U.S. patent number 2,292,387 on Aug. 11, 1942, under the name "Secret Communications System". Frequency hopping is now widely used in cellular phones and other modern technology. However neither she nor Antheil profited from this fact, because their patents were allowed to expire decades before the modern wireless boom. She received an award from the Electronic Frontier Foundation in 1997 for her pioneering work in spread-spectrum technology.
For her appearance in Ecstasy (1933), Hedy is credited as being the first nude woman as well as portraying the first sex-scene in film history. Scenes were cut and additional ones added in order to be able to release it in some countries. However, she was actually at least 18 years too late to be the first nude woman in film, as both Inspiration (1915) and Lois Weber's Hypocrites (1915) had beaten her to it.
Her profile was the most requested in the 1940s by women to their plastic surgeons.
Biography in: "American National Biography". Supplement 1, pp. 337-338. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.
The mansion used in The Sound of Music (1965) belonged to her at the time.
The first Inventor's Day in Germany was held in her honor on 9 November 2005, what would have been her 92nd birthday.
Became a naturalized citizen of the United States on 10 April 1953.
Dr. Kleiner's pet head-crab "Lamarr" in the computer game Half-Life 2 (2004) (VG) is named after her.
Took her, then new, stage name (Lamarr) in memory of Barbara La Marr, the silent screen star.
Was considered for the role of Ilsa Lund in Casablanca (1942), but Ingrid Bergman was cast instead. When Julius Epstein, one of the several screenwriters for Casablanca, was trying to "pitch" (explain the plot) to David Selznick (the producer from whom they wanted to borrow Ingrid Bergman) Epstein started a long, drawn-out summary but finally wrapped up with "Oh, what the hell! It's going to be a lot of shit like Algiers!" Algiers had starred Hedy Lamarr.
Was cast in the picture Picture Mommy Dead (1966), but fired on February 3, 1966, when she didn't show up for the first day of shooting.
She was the inspiration for the DC Comics Anti-hero and love interest of Batman, Catwoman.
I must quit marrying men who feel inferior to me. Somewhere there must be a man who could be my husband and not feel inferior. I need a superior inferior man.
My problem is, I'm a hell of a nice dame, The most horrible whores are famous. I did what I did for love. The others did it for money.
If you use your imagination, you can look at any actress and see her nude, I hope to make you use your imagination
Any girl can be glamorous. All you have to do is stand still and look stupid.
[speaking in the 1960s] "It would be wrong of me to say so, but in this country [USA] money is more important than love. Most people here betray you and that's why there is so much chaos. I want to get away from here. I am homesick for Vienna ... because my home is Vienna and Austria, not America...never!"
"It's about time", in reference to the EFF award for invention frequency hopping.
The ladder of success in Hollywood is usually agent, actor, director, producer, leading man. And you are a star if you sleep with them in that order. Crude but true.
|Her Highness and the Bellboy (1945)||$7,500/week|
|A Lady Without Passport (1950)||$90,000|
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