Monday, 21 September 2015

Hedy Lamarr: World's Most Beautiful Woman

About Hedy Lamarr:

"Any girl can be glamorous. All you have to do is stand still and look stupid."


Hedy Lamarr (born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler, 9 November 1914 – 19 January 2000) was an Austrian and American film actress and inventor.

Lamarr appeared in numerous popular feature films, including Algiers (1938) with Charles Boyer, I Take This Woman (1940) with Spencer Tracy, Comrade X (1940) with Clark Gable, Come Live With Me (1941) with James Stewart, H.M. Pulham, Esq. (1941) with Robert Young, and Samson and Delilah (1949) with Victor Mature. After an early and brief film career in Germany, which included a controversial love-making scene in the film Ecstasy (1933), she fled her husband and secretly moved to Paris. While there, she met MGM head Louis B. Mayer, who offered her a movie contract in Hollywood where she became a film star from the late 1930s to the 1950s.

Early Life:
Lamarr was born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler in 1914 in Vienna, Austria-Hungary, the only child of Gertrud "Trude" Kiesler (née Lichtwitz; 3 February 1894 – 27 February 1977) and Emil Kiesler (27 December 1880 – 14 February 1935). Her father was born in Lemberg (nowadays Lviv, Ukraine) and was a successful bank director. He died before the Holocaust, and later Hedy, through her influence as an actress, was able to rescue her mother from this plight.


Her mother was a pianist and Budapest native who came from the "Jewish haute bourgeoisie". Stephen Michael Shearer, a Lamarr biographer, asserts that Lamarr's mother had converted from Judaism to Catholicism and was a "practising Christian".


In the late 1920s, Lamarr was discovered as an actress and brought to Berlin by producer Max Reinhardt. Following her training in the theater, she returned to Vienna where she began to work in the film industry, first as a script girl, and soon as an actress.



In early 1933, at age 18, she starred in Gustav Machatý's film, Ecstasy (Extase in German and Czech), which was filmed in Prague, Czechoslovakia. Lamarr’s role was that of a neglected young wife married to an indifferent older man. The film became notorious for showing Lamarr's face in the throes of orgasm as well as close-up and brief nude scenes in which she is seen swimming and running through the woods.

Controversies:
1. First marriage:
In 1933 she married Friedrich Mandl, a wealthy Austrian military arms merchant. He objected to what he felt was exploitation of his wife and "the expression on her face" during the simulated orgasm. He purportedly bought up as many copies of Ecstasy as he could find in an attempt to restrict its public viewing. In her autobiography, she insists that all sexual activity in the film was simulated, and the orgasm was achieved using "method acting reality". The authenticity of passion was attained by the film director's off-screen manipulation of a safety pin strategically poking her bottom. Lamarr had married Mandl at the age of 19 on 10 August 1933.


Reputed to be the third richest man in Austria, Mandl was a munitions manufacturer. In her autobiography Ecstasy and Me, Lamarr described Mandl as extremely controlling, preventing her from pursuing her acting career and keeping her a virtual prisoner, confined to their castle home, Schloss Schwarzenau. Although half-Jewish himself, Mandl had close social and business ties to the fascist governments of Italy and Nazi Germany, selling munitions to Mussolini.

Lamarr wrote that Mussolini and Hitler had attended lavish parties hosted at the Mandl home. Mandl had her accompany him to business meetings, where he conferred with scientists and other professionals involved in military technology. These conferences were her introduction to the field of applied science and the ground that nurtured her latent talent in science.

Lamarr's marriage to Mandl eventually became unbearable, and she decided to separate herself from both him and her country. She wrote in her autobiography that she disguised herself as her maid and fled to Paris. However, rumors claimed that Lamarr persuaded Mandl to let her wear all of her jewelry for a dinner, then disappeared.

2. Shoplifting:
Lamarr became a naturalized citizen of the United States on 10 April 1953, at age 38. In 1966, she was arrested for shoplifting in Los Angeles. The charges were eventually dropped. In 1991, she was arrested on the same charge in Florida, this time for US$21.48 worth of laxatives and eye drops. She pleaded "no contest" to avoid a court appearance, and in return for a promise to refrain from breaking any laws for a year, the charges were once again dropped.


3. Legal actions:
Lamarr sued the publisher, saying that many of the anecdotes in the book, which was described by a judge as "filthy, nauseating, and revolting," were fabricated by its ghost writer, Leo Guild. She was also sued in Federal Court by Gene Ringgold, who asserted the actress's autobiography contained material from an article about her life which he wrote in 1965 for a magazine called Screen Facts.


4. Failed attempt to return to the screen:
The publication of her autobiography took place about a year after the accusations of shoplifting and a year after Andy Warhol's short film Hedy (1966). The shoplifting charges coincided with a failed attempt to return to the screen in Picture Mommy Dead (1966). The role was ultimately filled by Zsa Zsa Gabor. Ecstasy and Me begins in a despondent mood, with this reference:


On a recent evening, sitting home alone suffering and brooding about my treatment at the police station because of an incident in a department store, and being replaced by Zsa Zsa Gabor in a motion picture (imagine how that pleased the ego!) I figured out that I had made – and spent – some thirty million dollars. Yet earlier that day I had been unable to pay for a sandwich at Schwab's drug store.

5. Invasion of privacy:
The 1970s was a decade of increasing seclusion for Lamarr. She was offered several scripts, television commercials, and stage projects, but none piqued her interest. In 1974, she filed an invasion of privacy lawsuit for US$10 million for an unauthorized use of her name (i.e. "Hedley Lamarr" in Mel Brooks' comedy film Blazing Saddles); the case was settled out of court. With failing eyesight, she retreated from public life and settled in Miami Beach, Florida, in 1981.


6. CorelDRAW:
For several years beginning in 1997, the boxes of Corel DRAW’s software suites were graced by a large Corel-drawn image of Lamarr. The picture won Corel DRAW’s yearly software suite cover design contest in 1996. Lamarr sued Corel for using the image without her permission. Corel countered that she did not own rights to the image. The parties reached an undisclosed settlement in 1998.


7. Addiction to pills:
In her later years, Lamarr turned to plastic surgery to preserve the looks she was terrified of losing. Lamarr had to endure disastrous results. "She had her breasts enlarged, her cheeks raised, her lips made bigger, and much, much more" said Anthony. "She had plastic surgery thinking it could revive her looks and her career, but it backfired and distorted her beauty". Anthony Loder also claimed that Lamarr was addicted to pills.


8. Mother-Son relation:
Lamarr became estranged from her adopted son, James Lamarr Loder, when he was 12 years old. Their relationship ended abruptly and he moved in with another family. They did not speak again for almost 50 years. Lamarr left James Loder out of her will and he sued for control of the US$3.3 million estate left by Lamarr in 2000.


9. Marriages and relationships:
Lamarr was married six times. She adopted a son, James, in 1939 during her second marriage to Gene Markey. She went on to have two biological children, Denise (b. 1945) and Anthony (b. 1947), with her third husband, actor John Loder, who also adopted James. The following is a list of her marriages:

  • Friedrich Mandl (married 1933–1937), chairman of the Hirtenberger Patronen-Fabrik.
  • Gene Markey (married 1939–1941), screenwriter and producer. Child: James Lamarr Markey (born 9 January 1939), adopted 12 June 1939, and re-adopted by John Loder; the child was thereafter known as James Lamarr Loder. The couple lived at 2727 Benedict St in Los Angeles, California during their marriage.
  • John Loder (married 1943–1947), actor. Children: Denise Loder (born 19 January 1945), married Larry Colton, a writer and former baseball player, and Anthony Loder (born 1 February 1947), married Roxanne who worked for illustrator James McMullan. Anthony Loder was featured in the 2004 documentary film Calling Hedy Lamarr.
  • Ernest "Ted" Stauffer (married 1951–1952), nightclub owner, restaurateur, and former bandleader.
  • W. Howard Lee (married 1953–1960); a Texas oilman (who later married film actress Gene Tierney).
  • Lewis J. Boies (married 1963–1965); Lamarr's own divorce lawyer.


"I am not ashamed to say that no man I ever met was my father's equal, and I never loved any other man as much."

Death:

Grave of Hedy Lamarr at Vienna's Central Cemetery, Group 33 D No. 80 (Dec. 2014)
Lamarr died in Casselberry, Florida, on 19 January 2000, aged 85. Her death certificate cited three causes: heart failure, chronic valvular heart disease, and arteriosclerotic heart disease. Her death coincided with her daughter Denise's 55th birthday. Her son Anthony Loder took her ashes to Austria and spread them in the Vienna Woods, in accordance with her last wishes.


Lamarr was given an honorary grave in Vienna's Central Cemetery in 2014.


The Story:
According to her autobiography Ecstasy and Me (1966), while attempting to flee her husband, Fritz Mandl, she reputedly slipped into a brothel and hid in an empty room. While her husband searched the brothel, a man entered the room and she had sex with him so she could remain unrecognized. She was finally successful in escaping when she hired a new maid who resembled her; she drugged the maid and used her uniform as a disguise to escape.

At the beginning of the war, she was told that she could better help the war effort by using her celebrity status to sell war bonds, which she did with great success. But she wanted to do more, particularly by using her interest in science to aid in the defeat of Nazism. This desire only intensified as Hitler continued his relentless attacks on Europe. When German submarines began torpedoing passenger liners, she said at one point, "I've got to invent something that will put a stop to that". This desire would give rise to the invention for which she would become famous many years later.


Lamarr's earliest inventions include an improved traffic stoplight and a tablet that would dissolve in water to create a carbonated drink. The beverage was unsuccessful; Lamarr herself claimed it tasted like Alka-Seltzer.


Fundraising for the war effort:
Lamarr wanted to join the National Inventors Council, but was reportedly told by NIC member Charles F. Kettering and others that she could better help the war effort by using her celebrity status to sell War Bonds. Lamarr participated in a war bond selling campaign with a sailor named Eddie Rhodes. Rhodes would be in the crowd at each Lamarr appearance, and she would call him up on stage. She would briefly flirt with him before asking the audience if she should give him a kiss. The crowd would of course say yes, to which Hedy would reply that she would if enough people bought war bonds. After enough bonds were purchased, she would give Rhodes his kiss, and he would head back into the audience. Then they would head off to the next war bond rally.


In the 1990s, Lamarr and Antheil got the recognition they deserved for their invention. They received such awards as the Electronic Frontier Foundation Pioneer Award and the BULBIEª Gnass Spirit of Achievement Bronze Award, given to individuals whose creative lifetime achievements in the arts, sciences, business, or invention fields have significantly contributed to society.


In addition, her technological contributions have been featured on the Science Channel and the Discovery Channel. Lamarr and Antheil were inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2014.

In the last decades of her life the telephone became her only means of communication with the outside world, even with her children and close friends. She often talked up to six or seven hours a day on the phone, but she hardly spent any time with anyone in person in her final years. A documentary, Calling Hedy Lamarr, was released in 2004. Lamarr's children, Anthony Loder and Denise Loder-DeLuca, were featured in the documentary.


The story of Lamarr's frequency-hopping spread-spectrum invention was explored in an episode of the Science Channel show Dark Matters: Twisted But True, a series which explores the darker side of scientific discovery and experimentation, which premiered on 7 September 2011. Her story was also featured in the premiere episode of the Discovery Channel show How We Invented the World.

Visit:
http://www.hedylamarr.com/about/fastfacts.html

#TheUntoldStories


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