Who was Hedy Lamarr and why did she get a Google doodle?

10 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Actor-inventor Hedy Lamarr: Is today’s stunning animation the greatest Google Doodle yet?.

“This is the story of a Hollywood actress, defined by her appearance, who is secretly a brilliant inventor and changes the course of history,” said Sarandon.

Today’s Google Doodle honours a little-known but hugely influential woman whose real life was as colourful as the ones she portrayed on screen as a classical Hollywood actress.Not only is it among the tech titan’s most stylish ever, as well as aptly cinematic, but today’s homepage Doodle marking the 101st birthday of the late Hedy Lamarr will surely spark deeper interest in the screen legend’s amazing life. Alexandra Dean will direct the film with the working title “Hedy: The Untold Story of Actress and Inventor Hedy Lamarr.” Katherine Drew and Adam Haggiag will produce, Sarandon and Michael Kantor will exec produce, and David Koh and Dan Braun of Submarine will co-produce.

One of Hollywood’s most beautifully beguiling actresses, Lamarr was known over her quarter-century in cinema for such films as the Oscar-honored “Samson and Delilah (as the title’s sultry knockout), the heist drama “Algiers” (which was nominated for a handful of Oscars) and “Ecstasy,” the 1933 Czech film that was highly controversial for its nudity and sex scenes. Giving an ode to Hedy Lamarr’s career, the Google doodle features a sketch of the Austrian and American film actress wearing a mint green gown posing with a show reel. Her beauty was legendary, but in the 21st century, Lamarr’s stardom is all but forgotten — and the lasting impression she made is actually in the field of invention.

The film will be produced in association with Thirteen Productions LLC’s American Masters for WNET, and have its exclusive U.S. broadcast premiere on the “American Masters” series on PBS. The film and Lamarr’s appearance in it were controversial due to the sex scene which showed the young actress portraying the first female orgasm ever to be depicted in a non-pornographic film. Her first Hollywood film was “Algiers” (1938), opposite Charles Boyer and she went on to star with popular actors like Spencer Tracy, Clark Gable and Jimmy Stewart.

Lamarr, who would have been 101 on Monday (she died in 2000), is being remembered with an animated Google Doodle that pays tribute to her career, both as an actress and as the co-inventor of a mechanical spectrum hopping scheme that was intended to help the Allies create a secret World War II communication system between submarines and the torpedoes they were firing. She was then married to a tyrannical wealthy military magnate, Austrian Friedrich Mandl, aged 19, who was reputed to be the third wealthiest man in Austria. Lamarr, who was of Ukrainian-Hungarian Jewish heritage, eventually made an escape from her spouse and situation — she wrote that she fled to France in disguise — and was discovered in Paris by MGM mogul Louis B. Hedy Lamarr’s popular films include “I Take This Woman” (1940), “Come Live With Me” (1941) “H M Pulham, Esq” (1941) and “Samson and Delilah”(1949).

Her husband was said to be incredibly controlling and resented her appearance in Ecstasy, apparently buying as many copies of the film as possible to prevent others from seeing it – according to a New York Times report. She patented an idea called the “Secret Communication System” in 1942, which later became pivotal to both secure military communications and mobile phone technology. According to Lamarr biographer Richard Rhodes, she didn’t enjoy the appellation “the most beautiful woman in the world.” Her famous retort: “Any girl can be glamorous.

Lamarr, billed as the “world’s most beautiful woman,” spent the next decade acting opposite such stars as Clark Gable, Charles Boyer, Spencer Tracy and Judy Garland. Lamarr, whose work laid the foundation for spread-spectrum communication technology, began to be truly recognized for her scientific accomplishments in the ’90s, in the last years of her life. Most believe that the ideas she developed with co-inventor George Antheil helped lay the groundwork for frequency hopping techniques now commonly found in Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and cellular communication systems.

Lamarr was also a secret inventor who helped the Allies win the war with a wireless form of communication called “frequency hopping,” which would go on to revolutionize communications all over the world. Lamarr is credited in a total of 35 films, but the actress was reportedly bored of the roles she was given that were often light on lines and focused on her looks.

Last year, a century after her birth, she was inducted into the in Alexandria, Va. “Although Lamarr and Antheil never profited from their invention during their lifetime,” the Hall of Fame site says, “it was acknowledged by the Electronic Frontier Foundation in 1997 as an important development in wireless communications.” “We love highlighting great stories about women’s achievements in science and technology,” Doodle artist Jennifer Hom writes on the company’s blog. “When the story involves a 1940s Hollywood star-turned-inventor who helped develop technologies we all use with our smartphones today … well, we just have to share it with the world.” Google’s Doodle, which was created by Jennifer Hom, manages to weave in Lamarr’s complicated tale of stardom and invention, with a nod to the sensibilities of that bygone movie era. Submarine has pre-sold the German and Austrian rights to NFP Films; pan-Scandinavian rights to NonStop Entertainment; Canadian rights to Films We Like; and U.K. distribution rights and the rest of the world to Dogwoof. In her autobiography she claimed that her former husband Mandl struck up close business ties with the Nazi government of Germany, despite having Jewish heritage.

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