To mark the release of Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story, we've selected eight facts about Hedy Lamarr you might not know.
1. She acted out the first on screen orgasm
Ecstacy premiered in Prague on 20 January 1933 but was not released in the United States until 24 December 1940. Saying that, most states demanded substantial cuts and Pennsylvania banned it completely! American film journalist and film censor Joseph Breen called it "highly—even dangerously—indecent".
2. She was almost in Casablanca
She was reportedly producer Hal Wallis's first choice for the heroine in his classic 1943 film, Casablanca, a part that eventually went to Ingrid Bergman.
3. She was born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler
Hedy Lamarr adopted her surname after an encounter with Louis B. Mayer, head of MGM Studios, in 1937. Mayer was in Europe scouting for new talent and persuaded her to change her surname in an homage to the silent film star, Barbara La Marr.
4. Hedy married and divorced six times
Friedrich Mandl (married 1933–1937) chairman of the Hirtenberger Patronen-Fabrik, Gene Markey (married 1939–1941) screenwriter and producer, John Loder (married 1943–1947) actor, Ernest "Ted" Stauffer (married 1951–1952) nightclub owner, W. Howard Lee (married 1953–1960), a Texas oilman and Lewis J. Boies (married 1963–1965) Lamarr's divorce lawyer.
5. Hedy Lamarr featured in 30 films over her 28-year career
Her filmography includes Samson and Delilah, The Strange Woman, Come Live with Me and Ziegfeld Girl.
5. She's the co-inventor of 1940s wireless technology
In 1942, at the peak of her acting career, Hedy developed a “Secret Communications System” to help defeat the Nazis in WWII. By manipulating radio frequencies at irregular intervals between transmission and reception, the invention formed an unbreakable code to prevent classified messages from being intercepted by the enemy. Lamarr’s patented idea later became the foundation for mobile phone technology. It’s influence is visible in crucial 21st century systems like Bluetooth and Wifi.
7. First woman to receive "The Oscar for Invention”
In 1997 Lamarr became the first female recipient of the BULBIE Gnass Spirit of Achievement Award, a prestigious lifetime accomplishment prize for inventors often referred to as “The Oscar for Invention”.
8. Towards the end of her life, she was withdrawn
Lamarr was a recluse for her later years, and died at home in Altamonte Springs, Florida. Her death on January 19, 2000, happened to fall on her daughter Denise’s 55th birthday.