Hedy Lamarr Poster


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Overview (5)

Date of Birth 9 November 1914Vienna, Austria-Hungary, now Austria
Date of Death 19 January 2000Orlando, Florida, USA  (natural causes)
Birth NameHedwig Eva Maria Kiesler
Nickname The Most Beautiful Woman In Films
Height 5' 7" (1.7 m)

Mini Bio (2)

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. She was the daughter of Gertrud (Lichtwitz) and Emil Kiesler, who were both from Jewish families. Hedy 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)

Spouse (6)

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)

Trade Mark (3)

Dark hair and blue eyes
Pale skin
Deep sultry voice

Trivia (26)

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 Mel Brooks for mocking her name in his film Blazing Saddles (1974) (they settled out of court)
Sued software company Corel Corporation for using her photo on the cover of software product CorelDRAW. [April 1998]
After a screen test, it was Louis B. Mayer who changed her last name to Lamarr in honor of silent film star Barbara La Marr.
Arrested for shoplifting in January 1966. Found not guilty.
Arrested for shoplifting in 1991. One year probation.
During her marriage to screenwriter Gene Markey, the two adopted a son, James. She soon after gave birth to two children, Denise Hedy and Antony, while married to actor John Loder.
One of the few stars with whom costume designer Edith Head admitted she didn't like working. The others were Claudette Colbert and Paulette Goddard.
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) 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.
Was the inspiration for Anne Hathaway's performance of Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises (2012).
She was the inspiration for the DC Comics Anti-hero and love interest of Batman, Catwoman.
Considered Delilah to be the best performance of her career and Cecil B. DeMille's Samson and Delilah (1949) her best film.
According to Hollywood sound man Wallace Bearden, Hedy could speak nine languages fluently. Besides German, the languages she learned in order were Hebrew, Yiddish, Latin, Italian, Hungarian(tutored by Eva Gabor), French(tutored by Charles Boyer), Dutch and English. Hebrew and Yiddish come from Hedy being Orthodox Jewish. According to Wallace Bearden, when asked about Latin, Hedy said: "I wanted to find a way to give back to my Roman Catholic-dominated country, and the way to do it was learn Latin for them. (After Vatican City, Italy and Ireland, per-capita, Austria is the largest Roman Catholic-dominated country.
While Hedy's body was not buried with her parents, a headstone was erected by them, paid by a Hollywood character actor, with her birth name, birth and death dates, an entwined Star of David and Crucifix etched in it (to represent even though she was Orthodox Jewish, she grew up in a Roman Catholic-dominated country) and the very last thing Hedy ever said.
After years of people wondering, Mel Brooks said that Hedy was paid $200,000, about (AUS 250,000) for their settlement out-of-court.

Personal Quotes (9)

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.
[very last thing Hedy said] Für immer, meine liebe, Österreich." ("Forever, my love, Austria.")
[on her feelings about Anti-War] I could never be Anti-War. I *never* could be. I lived through two world wars and a civil war. (referring to the 1930s' Austrian Civil War.) I grew up in a country, that even today, takes Mandatory Male Military Conscription *very* seriously. I lived under one of the most recognizable flags in world history, the Nazi Swastika. Yet, I never questioned if Adolf Hitler was doing the wrong thing, because I remembered November of 1918. My father, an Austrian Army War veteran, who had fought in the Trenches, in that War, with Adolf Hitler, came back a different man. I was a scared seven year-old girl, who did not understand why her father was yelling out his dead commanders in his sleep. But later on, when I realized why my father went off to fight in that War, I knew one thing. That is why I have spent most of my adult life to give my native men rights in the Armed Forces that my father, uncles, or even cousins, in the second war, could never imagine having. To me, war is no different then if a man has his house broken in. He is going to fight to protect his wife and children. That is what the Armed Forces is, but a man is fighting to protect *all* the women and children of his country, to keep somebody from telling his native Government what to do. Having lived through two world wars, a civil war, and having spent my entire life fighting for my native men in the Armed Forces, there is one thing I can die saying: "I will *never* be Anti-War.

Salary (3)

Her Highness and the Bellboy (1945) $7,500 /week
Samson and Delilah (1949) $100,000
A Lady Without Passport (1950) $90,000

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