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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:||Cast ... actor songwriter script girl|
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.
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