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Hedy Lamarr

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Hedy Lamarr Biography and Filmography
Hedy Lamarr
Birthday: November 9, 1913
Birth Place: Vienna, Austria-Hungary [now Austria]
Height: 5' 7"
Below is a complete filmography (list of movies he's appeared in)
for Hedy Lamarr.
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The daughter of a Vienesse banker, Hedy Lamarr began her acting career at 16 under the tutelage of German impresario Max Reinhardt. She began appearing in German films in 1930, but garnered little attention until her star turn in Czech director Gustav Machaty's Extase (Ecstasy) in 1933. It wasn't just because Lamarr appeared briefly in the nude; Extase was filled to overflowing with orgasmic imagery, including tight close-ups of Lamarr in the throes of delighted passion. Though her first husband, Austrian businessman Fritz Mandl, tried to buy up and destroy all prints of Extase, the film enjoyed worldwide distribution, the result being that Lamarr was famous in America before ever setting foot in Hollywood. She was signed by producer Walter Wanger to co-star with Charles Boyer in the American remake of the French Pepe Le Moko, titled Algiers (1938). That Lamarr wasn't much of an actress was compensated with several scenes in which she was required to merely stand around silently and look beautiful (she would later downgrade these performances, equating sex appeal with "looking stupid"). The prudish Louis B. Mayer was willing to forgive Lamarr the "indiscretion" of Extase by signing her to a long MGM contract in 1939. Most of her subsequent roles were merely decorative (never more so than as Tondelayo in White Cargo [1940]), though she was first rate in the complex role of the career woman who "liberates" stuffy Bostonian Robert Young in H.M. Pulham, Esq. (1942). In 1949, Lamarr, tastefully under-dressed, appeared opposite the equally attractive Victor Mature in Cecil B. DeMille's Samson and Delilah (1949). Lamarr's limited acting skills became more pronounced in her 1950s films, especially when she gamely tried to play Joan of Arc in the all-star disaster The Story of Mankind (1957). She disappeared from films in 1958. An autobiography, Ecstasy and Me, enabled her to pay many of her debts, though she'd later sue her collaborators for distorting the facts. In another legal action, Lamarr took on director Mel Brooks for using the character name "Hedley Lamarr" in his 1974 Western spoof Blazing Saddles. In 1990, Lamarr made an unexpected return before the cameras in the obscure low-budget Hollywood satire Instant Karma, in which she was typecast in the role of Movie Goddess.
Hedy Lamarr (1962)
The Female Animal (1958)
[ Lorraine Burnett ][ Jan Sterling ]
The Story of Mankind (1957)
[ Agnes Moorehead ][ Ziva Rodann ]
Amante di Paride, L' (1954)
Eterna femmina, L' (1954)
My Favorite Spy (1951)
[ Leslie Hope ]
Copper Canyon (1950)
A Lady Without Passport (1950)
Samson and Delilah (1949)
[ Angela Lansbury ][ Wendy Wilcoxon ]
Let's Live a Little (1948)
Dishonored Lady (1947)
[ Margaret Hamilton ]
The Strange Woman (1946)
Her Highness and the Bellboy (1945)
[ Agnes Moorehead ][ June Allyson ]
The Heavenly Body (1944)
Experiment Perilous (1944)
The Conspirators (1944)
White Cargo (1942)
Crossroads (1942)
Tortilla Flat (1942)
H.M. Pulham, Esq. (1941)
[ Ava Gardener ]
Ziegfeld Girl (1941)
[ Judy Garland ][ Lana Turner ][ Eve Arden ]
Come Live with Me (1941)
[ Elaine Reynolds ]
Comrade X (1940)
[ Eve Arden ]
Boom Town (1940)
[ Claudette Colbert ]
I Take This Woman (1940)
Lady of the Tropics (1939)
Algiers (1938)
Ekstase (1933)
Man braucht kein Geld (1932)
Koffer des Herrn O.F., Die (1931)
Blumenfrau von Lindenau, Die (1931)
Geld auf der Straße (1930)
  • Hedy's credited invention was for 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: Anthony (b. 1947), Denise (b. 1945), and James (b. 1939)
  • 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 Anthony, 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 work pioneering work in spread-spectrum technology.
  • Measurements: 33-22-34 (1933 in Ekstase (1933) ), 33B-23-35 (1940s starlet), 34B-26-37 (later career), (Source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine)
  • Ekstase (1933) was banned in Germany because Hedy was Jewish and Adolf Hitler was chancellor at the time.
  • Her profile was the most requested in the 1940s by women to their plastic surgeons.
  • Having died in January of 2000, she has the distinction (of sorts) of being one of the first major entertainers to die in the 21st century.
  • 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.

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