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Hedy Lamarr

Hedy Lamarr

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Also Known As: Hedy Kiesler, Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler, Hedwig Kiesler Died: January 18, 2000
Born: November 9, 1913 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Austria Profession: actor, songwriter, script girl

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A major star under contract with MGM during the 1930s and 1940s, Hedy Lamarr gained international notoriety thanks to her taboo-breaking performance in the Austrian-made drama "Ecstasy" (1933), which featured the actress fully nude - practically unheard of at the time. Lamarr later made her way to Hollywood and began appearing in a number of pictures, most notably "Algiers" (1938), "I Take This Woman" (1940), "Ziegfeld Girl" (1941), "Boom Town" (1940) and "White Cargo" (1942). Despite her popularity and the success of her films, Lamarr was pegged as an actress of limited abilities and was therefore often cast as the desirable woman of mystery, which perfectly suited her strikingly dark exotic looks. In fact, she was hailed as the "world's most beautiful woman." Despite that moniker, Lamarr gave a strong performance in King Vidor's "H.M. Pulhan, Esq." (1941), proving that she could deliver the goods if offered a good script and steady direction. After appearing in "The Conspirators" (1944) and "Her Highness and the Bellboy" (1945), her contract with MGM lapsed and she entered a career decline. Her only major highlight was starring in Cecil B. DeMille's epic "Samson and Delilah" (1949), though she...

A major star under contract with MGM during the 1930s and 1940s, Hedy Lamarr gained international notoriety thanks to her taboo-breaking performance in the Austrian-made drama "Ecstasy" (1933), which featured the actress fully nude - practically unheard of at the time. Lamarr later made her way to Hollywood and began appearing in a number of pictures, most notably "Algiers" (1938), "I Take This Woman" (1940), "Ziegfeld Girl" (1941), "Boom Town" (1940) and "White Cargo" (1942). Despite her popularity and the success of her films, Lamarr was pegged as an actress of limited abilities and was therefore often cast as the desirable woman of mystery, which perfectly suited her strikingly dark exotic looks. In fact, she was hailed as the "world's most beautiful woman." Despite that moniker, Lamarr gave a strong performance in King Vidor's "H.M. Pulhan, Esq." (1941), proving that she could deliver the goods if offered a good script and steady direction. After appearing in "The Conspirators" (1944) and "Her Highness and the Bellboy" (1945), her contract with MGM lapsed and she entered a career decline. Her only major highlight was starring in Cecil B. DeMille's epic "Samson and Delilah" (1949), though she failed to capitalize on that movie's huge success. In the mid-1950s, Lamarr unceremoniously left the showbiz and the spotlight, only to garner headlines for shoplifting in 1965 and again in 1991. In between, she released a lurid autobiography, Ecstasy and Me (1966), only to sue her ghostwriter for alleged inaccuracies, while facing fines for failure to pay back taxes and filing a false rape claim. While Lamarr's inability to register emotion on camera may have ultimately doomed her career, her undeniable good looks allowed her to reasonably portray femme fatales and achieve a kind of glamorous screen mortality.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 That's Entertainment! III (1994) Song Performer
2.
 Instant Karma (1990) Movie Goddess
3.
 Entertaining the Troops (1989) Herself
4.
 Going Hollywood: The War Years (1983) Herself (Archival Footage)
5.
 The Female Animal (1958) Vanessa Windsor
6.
 The Story of Mankind (1957) Joan of Arc
7.
 Loves of Three Queens, The (1954) Empress Josephine; Genieve De Brabant; Hedy Windsor; Helen Of Troy
8.
 My Favorite Spy (1951) Lily Dalbrey
9.
 Samson and Delilah (1950) Delilah
10.
 A Lady Without Passport (1950) Marianne Lorress
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1930:
First film appearance in bit role, Georg Jacoby's "Geld auf der Strasse (Austrian)
1933:
Gained international attention when she appeared completely nude in a 10-minute sequence in Gustav Machaty's erotic romantic drama, "Extase/Ecstasy"
1937:
Moved to USA; signed by Louis B. Mayer who changed her name to Lamarr in honor of deceased actress Barbara LaMarr
1938:
Loaned out by Mayer to Walter Wanger (United Artists) and caused a sensation in her first Hollywood film, "Algiers"
1939:
First film with MGM, "Lady of the Tropics"
1942:
Received US patent for invention of a communications system that was a forerunner of spread spectrum communications
1945:
Left MGM; last film there for six years, "Her Highness and the Bellboy"
1946:
Helped form a production company, Mars Film Corporation, which made two films, "The Strange Woman" and "Dishonored Lady", starring Lamarr
1949:
Faltering career boosted by her appearance as the alluring temptress in her biggest box office success, Cecil B. DeMille's "Samson and Delilah"
1951:
Last Hollywood film for six years, "My Favorite Spy", co-starring Bob Hope
1954:
Reported she had been robbed of over $50,000 worth of jewelry; later found the missing jewelry in her home
1958:
Last film for many years, "The Female Animal"
1965:
Accused of shoplifting $86 pair of slippers from L.A. department store; acquitted
1966:
Published ghosted autobiography "Ecstasy and Me"
1971:
Fined for reporting a false rape charge
1990:
One-shot return to films, "Instant Karma", in the role of Movie Goddess
1991:
Arrested for shoplifting $21.48 worth of sundries from a drugstore in Casselberry, Florida (August 1)
1997:
Honored for her invention of spread spectrum radio technology
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Max Reinhardt School: -

Notes

Lamarr and composer George Anthiel received a patent for an idea they had to aid the war effort. It was a "secret communications technique" that would allow for control of armed torpedoes over long distances without detection by an enemy or without jamming. The technology was a precursor of spread-spectrum communications that is utilized in such items as cellular phones and microprocessors. Lamarr and Antheil received a 1997 EFF Pioneer Award for their efforts.

Cecil B. Demille reportedly had trouble filming Lamarr because of her limited knowledge of English and inability to emote on screen: "The only consolation . . . was she was convincingly alluring and that she could be relied on to remember her lines." --Charles Higham in his book "Cecil B. DeMille" (from FILM DOPE, Volume 32)

Lamarr's revenge came years later in a FILMS IN REVIEW interview when she implied that DeMille lusted after her feet. --from FILM DOPE, Volume 32

"When I die," Lamarr once told a friend, summing up her devil-may-care life, "I want on my gravestone: 'Thank you very much for a colorful life.'" --From her obituary in LOS ANGELES TIMES, January 20, 2000

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Fritz Mandl. Ammunitions tycoon. Austrian; married in 1933; divorced in 1937 after he decided to buy all the footage from the film "Ecstacy" because it featured Lamarr in the nude; also was a Nazi sympathizer.
companion:
Spencer Tracy. Actor. Reportedly began relationship in October 1938 during filming of "I Take This Woman"; ended in February 1939.
husband:
Gene Markey. Writer. Second husband; married in March 1939; divorced in 1940.
companion:
Edward Norris. Actor. He was simultaneously involved with both Lamarr and Joan Crawford.
husband:
John Loder. Actor. Third husband; married in 1943; divorced in 1947.
husband:
Ted Stauffer. Band leader. Married in 1951; divorced in 1952.
husband:
W Howard Lee. Married in 1953; divorced in 1960.
husband:
Lewis J Boles. Married on March 4, 1963; separated on October 15, 1964; divorced; allegedly was abusive toward Lamarr.
VIEW COMPLETE COMPANION LISTING

Family close complete family listing

son:
James Lamarr. Adopted by Lamarr and Gene Markey; later adopted by John Loder; claims to be Lamarr's natural child via a birth certificate filed in 1939 16 days after his birth that lists Lamarr as his mother; contested her will.
daughter:
Denise Deluca. Father John Loder.
son:
Anthony Loder.

Bibliography close complete biography

"Ecstasy and Me"

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