Lamarr (November 9, 1913 – January 19, 2000) was an Austrian-born
American actress. Though known primarily for her great beauty and her
successful film career, she also co-invented an early form of spread
spectrum encoding, a key to modern wireless communication.
Became a naturalized citizen of the United
States on 10 April 1953.
Hedy Lamarr Quotes
Early career in Europe
She was born as Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler in Vienna, Austrian Empire, to
Emil Kiesler, a bank director, and Gertrud née Lichtwitz, pianist.
Though part Jewish, she was raised as Catholic, and studied ballet and
piano. When working with Max Reinhardt in Berlin, he called her the
"most beautiful woman in Europe". Soon, the teenage girl played major
roles in German movies, alongside stars like Heinz Rühmann and Hans
In early 1933, she starred in Symphonie der Liebe or Ecstasy, a
Czechoslovak film made in Prague, in which she played a love-hungry
young wife of an indifferent old husband. Closeups of her face in
orgasm, and long shots of her running nude through the woods, gave the
On 10 August 1933 she married Friedrich Mandl, a Vienna-based arms
manufacturer, 13 years her senior. The Austrian fascist bought up as
many copies of the film as he could possibly find, as he objected to her
nudity and "the expression on her face" (the looks of passion were the
result of the director poking her in the bottom with a safety pin).
He prevented her from pursuing her acting career, and instead took her
to meetings with technicians and business partners. In these meetings,
the mathematically-talented Lamarr learned about military technology.
Otherwise, she had to stay at castle Schwarzenau. She ran away in 1937.
Movie career in Hollywood
First she went to Paris, then met Louis B. Mayer in London. After he
hired her, at his insistence she changed her name to Hedy Lamarr,
choosing the surname in homage to a famously beautiful film star of the
silent era, Barbara LaMarr, who had died of tuberculosis and nephritis
Hollywood, she was usually cast as glamorous and seductive. Her American
debut was in Algiers (1938). Her many films include Boom Town (1940),
White Cargo (1942), and Tortilla Flat (1942), based on the novel by
John Steinbeck. White Cargo, one of Lamarr's biggest hits at MGM,
contains arguably her most famous film quote, "I am Tondelayo".
In 1941, she was cast alongside two other Hollywood beauties, Lana
Turner and Judy Garland in the musical extravaganza Ziegfeld Girl.