Thursday, April 8, 2010
By the time Hedy Lamarr was a teenager, she decided to drop out of school and become an actress. Her first performance was a small part in, Money on the Street (1930). It was her fifth film, Ecstasy(1932), that brought her worldwide fame. The film's nude scenes created a sensation all over the world. The film was banned by the US government. Although, the film brought her to the attention of MGM's Louis B. Mayer, who signed her on against his better judgment, but the money he knew she would bring in to the studio overrode any "moral" concerns he had. He insisted she change her name and she was to make wholesome films. Hedy made her first American film, Algiers (1938). This was followed a year later by Lady of the Tropics (1939). Next she performed in the film, White Cargo (1942). After World War II, MGM decided it would be in the interest of all concerned if her contract were not renewed. Unfortunately, for Hedy, she turned down the leads in both: Gaslight (1940) and Casablanca (1942). She did perform as Delilah opposite Victor Matures Samson in Cecil B. DeMille's epic, Samson and Delilah (1949). The film's success led to more parts, but it was not enough to help her financial problems. She was to make only six more films between 1949 and 1957, the last being The Female Animal (1958).
Hedy Lamarr Official Website.
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. Info from: Wikipedia.
The mansion used in The Sound of Music (1965) belonged to her at the time.