Hedy Lamarr Biography | Net Worth, Inventions, Family, Career & Awards

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Introduction:

Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler, born on November 9, 1914, was an extraordinary Austro-Hungarian-born American actress and pioneering technology developer. Her life story unfolds as an exciting voyage through the glitz of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Highlighted by her ground-breaking contributions to technology during World War II. In this article, we delve into the Hedy Lamarr Biography, her Net Worth, Inventions, Family, Career, and more.

Quick Facts about Hedy Lamarr Biography

FactDetails
Full NameHedwig Eva Maria Kiesler
Birth DateNovember 9, 1914
BirthplaceVienna, Austria
Death DateJanuary 19, 2000
Cause of DeathHeart Disease
NationalityAustro-Hungarian (later became American)
ProfessionActress, Technology Inventor
Hollywood Debut“Algiers” (1938)
Net Worth$5 Million approx
Notable Films“Algiers,” “Samson and Delilah,” “Ecstasy,” “Boom Town”
Technological ContributionCo-developed a radio guidance system for Allied torpedoes during World War II
Awards and HonorsHollywood Walk of Fame star (1960), Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Pioneer Award (1997)
Marriages and DivorcesMarried six times, including marriages to Friedrich Mandl, Gene Markey, and John Loder
ChildrenThree children, including a daughter named Denise and a son named Anthony
Posthumous HonorsNational Inventors Hall of Fame induction (2014), Google Doodles in 2015 and 2023
LegacyRecognized for her contributions to both the film industry and technology innovation

Early Life: Hedy Lamarr Biography

Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler was born on November 9, 1914, in Vienna, Austria, and began her career in a city noted for its rich cultural tapestry. Gertrud “Trude” Kiesler (née Lichtwitz), a pianist from an upper-class Hungarian-Jewish family who had converted to Catholicism, and Emil Kiesler, born into a Galician-Jewish family in Lemberg (now Lviv in Ukraine), raised her as their only child. Her father held important posts, including deputy director of the Wiener Bankverein in the 1920s. And director of the United Creditanstalt-Bankverein near the end of his life.

Despite her parents’ backgrounds, Hedy was raised as a Christian by her mother, even if she wasn’t properly baptized at the time. Lamarr developed an early interest in performing as a child, and her affinity with theatre and movies grew. She won a beauty pageant in Vienna when she was 12 years old, paving the way for her future in the glitzy world.

Hedy’s bond with her father stimulated her interest in the inner workings of technology even more. He would take her for walks while patiently explaining the operation of various gadgets, setting the groundwork for her later interest in invention and technology.

Her childhood in Vienna laid the groundwork for a unique path that would see her progress from beauty pageant winner to international cinema star and, unexpectedly, pioneering inventor. Lamarr’s early years not only highlighted her budding skill. But also predicted the unique blend of artistry and technical ingenuity that would characterize her career.

Hedy Lamarr Net Worth

Hedy Lamarr, the legendary Hollywood actress and pioneering inventor, was reported to have a net worth of $5 million. This financial success reflects not only her successful career in Hollywood during the Golden Age but also her contributions to technology. Lamarr’s varied talents and successes, both on the big screen and in the world of invention, helped her financial situation. Beyond the glitz and glam of Hollywood, her entrepreneurial energy and innovative attitude left an indelible mark on the world, cementing her legacy as a trailblazer in a variety of industries.

European Film Career:

Lamarr’s acting career began in Vienna, where she worked as a script girl at Sascha-Film. Her early Czechoslovakian films, such as “Money on the Street” (1930) and “Storm in a Water Glass” (1931), helped pave the road for her international success with “The Trunks of Mr. O.F.” (1931). Lamarr’s meteoric rise continued with prominent roles in films such as “No Money Needed” (1932), cementing her position as a rising star.

hedy-lamarr_picture
Photo: Some rights reserved by Marxchivist (https://www.flickr.com/photos/tom1231/)

Hollywood Stardom:

Lamarr’s adventure brought her to Hollywood, where she drew the eye of Louis B. Mayer while fleeing her first spouse. Her debut came with “Algiers” (1938), and she went on to star in MGM films such as “Lady of the Tropics” (1939) and her most notable triumph, “Samson and Delilah” (1949).

Technological Innovation:

Among Hollywood’s glitter, Lamarr’s most enduring legacy is her WWII work with composer George Antheil. They collaborated to create a revolutionary radio guiding system for Allied torpedoes. Their idea, which used spread spectrum and frequency hopping technology, foiled Axis power jamming attempts, demonstrating Lamarr’s genius beyond the silver screen.

Hedy Lamarr’s inventions:

InventionDescription
Improved Traffic StoplightLamarr, despite having no formal training, worked on an improved traffic stoplight as one of her hobbies and ideas.
Dissolvable Tablet for Flavored Carbonated DrinkAnother of Lamarr’s ideas involved a tablet that would dissolve in water to create a flavored carbonated drink.
Frequency-Hopping Spread Spectrum for Radio-Controlled TorpedoesDuring WWII, Lamarr cooperated with composer George Antheil on her most significant creation. They created a frequency-hopping spread spectrum technology to prevent radio-controlled torpedoes from being jammed, to improve the security and precision of military communications. In 1942, this was granted a patent (U.S. Patent 2,292,387).
Miniaturized Player Piano MechanismGeorge Antheil’s contribution to their invention was the synchronization of a miniaturized player piano mechanism with radio signals, allowing for the implementation of frequency hopping.
Patent GrantedThe patent, granted on August 11, 1942, under her married name Hedy Kiesler Markey, documented the frequency-hopping spread spectrum system.

While Lamarr and Antheil’s work set the framework for advances in communication technologies. Their unique frequency-hopping spread spectrum technique was not publicly implemented at the time. Their original accomplishments, however, have since been recognized, resulting in posthumous accolades and entry into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2014.

Awards and Tributes:

Lamarr received various honors for her services to film and technology. In 1960, she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She and George Antheil earned the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Pioneer Award in 1997. In 2014, Lamarr was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, confirming her place as a technological innovator.

YearAward/Accolade
1960Hollywood Walk of Fame star
1939Most Promising New Actress of 1938 (Philadelphia Record film critic poll)
195110th Best Actress (voted by British moviegoers for her performance in “Samson and Delilah”)
1997Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Pioneer Award (jointly with George Antheil)
1997Invention Convention’s BULBIE Gnass Spirit of Achievement Award (First woman to receive, “Oscars of inventing”)
1998Viktor Kaplan Medal of the Austrian Association of Patent Holders and Inventors (Austria)
2006Most Promising New Actress of 1938 (Philadelphia Record Film Critic poll)
2013/2014Quantum telescope installed on the roof of the University of Vienna, named after Hedy Lamarr
2014Posthumous induction into the National Inventors Hall of Fame for frequency-hopping spread spectrum technology
2014Burial of remaining ashes at Vienna Central Cemetery in Group 33 G, Tomb No. 80
2015Google Doodle on the 101st anniversary of her birth
2023Hedy-Lamarr-Weg was founded in Vienna Meidling (12th District)
2019Asteroid named after her: 32730 Lamarr

Personal Life:

Lamarr’s personal life was as intriguing as her professional one. She navigated through six marriages and had three children. Her marriages included notable figures like Friedrich Mandl, Gene Markey, and John Loder. Lamarr’s claim that her first son was adopted was later contested, revealing the complexity of her relationships.

Legacy:

Hedy Lamarr’s influence stretches beyond the silver screen and technological advances. In 2019, an asteroid (32730 Lamarr) was named after her, and she was elected into the National Inventors Hall of Fame posthumously in 2014. Her legacy lives on, with Google commemorating her on the 101st and 109th anniversaries of her birth.

Hedy Lamarr Films

YearTitleRoleLeading actorNotes
1930Money on the StreetYoung GirlGeorg AlexanderOriginal title: Geld auf der Straße
1931Storm in a Water GlassSecretaryPaul OttoOriginal title: Sturm im Wasserglas
1931The Trunks of Mr. O.F.HeleneAlfred AbelOriginal title: Die Koffer des Herrn O.F.
1932No Money NeededKäthe BrandtHeinz RühmannOriginal title: Man braucht kein Geld
1933EcstasyEva HermannAribert MogOriginal title: Ekstase
1938AlgiersGabyCharles Boyer 
1939Lady of the TropicsManon deVargnes CareyRobert Taylor 
1940I Take This WomanGeorgi Gragore DeckerSpencer Tracy 
1940Boom TownKaren VanmeerClark Gable 
1940Comrade XGolubka/ Theodore Yahupitz/ Lizvanetchka “Lizzie”Clark Gable 
1941Come Live with MeJohnny JonesJames Stewart 
1941Ziegfeld GirlSandra KolterJames Stewart 
1941H.M. Pulham, Esq.Marvin Myles RansomeRobert Young 
1942Tortilla FlatDolores RamirezSpencer Tracy 
1942CrossroadsLucienne TalbotWilliam Powell 
1942White CargoTondelayoWalter Pidgeon 
1944The Heavenly BodyVicky WhitleyWilliam Powell 
1944The ConspiratorsIrene Von MohrPaul Henreid 
1944Experiment PerilousAllida BederauxGeorge Brent 
1945Her Highness and the BellboyPrincess VeronicaRobert Walker 
1946The Strange WomanJenny HagerGeorge Sandersand Producer
1947Dishonored LadyMadeleine DamienDennis O’Keefeand Producer
1948Let’s Live a LittleDr. J.O. LoringRobert Cummingsand Producer
1949Samson and DelilahDelilahVictor MatureHer first film in Technicolor
1950A Lady Without PassportMarianne LorressJohn Hodiak 
1950Copper CanyonLisa RoselleRay Milland 
1951My Favorite SpyLily DalbrayBob Hope 
1954Loves of Three QueensHelen of Troy,
Joséphine de Beauharnais,
Genevieve of Brabant
Massimo Serato,
Cesare Danova
Original title: L’amante di Paride
1957The Story of MankindJoan of ArcRonald Colman 
1958The Female AnimalVanessa WindsorGeorge Nader 

Conclusion:

The biography of Hedy Lamarr is a story of perseverance, talent, and ingenuity. Lamarr’s influence crosses traditional borders, from her early years in Vienna to the glitz of Hollywood and her innovative contributions to technology. As we commemorate Hedy Lamarr, we must remember her as a famous actress as well as a creative inventor who left an everlasting effect on the globe.

FAQs about Hedy Lamarr Biography

What is Hedy Lamarr best known for in her career?

Hedy Lamarr is best known for her roles in Hollywood during the Golden Age, starring in films like “Algiers” and “Samson and Delilah.” Additionally, she is recognized for her invention of frequency-hopping spread spectrum technology during World War II.

How many times was Hedy Lamarr married, and to whom?

Hedy Lamarr was married six times. Her spouses were Friedrich Mandl (1933–1937), Gene Markey (1939–1941), John Loder (1943–1947), Ernest “Ted” Stauffer (1951–1952), W. Howard Lee (1953–1960), and Lewis J. Boies (1963–1965).

What awards did Hedy Lamarr receive for her inventions?

Hedy Lamarr, along with George Antheil, received the Electronic Frontier Foundation Pioneer Award in 1997. She was also the first woman to receive the Invention Convention’s BULBIE Gnass Spirit of Achievement Award.

How did Hedy Lamarr contribute to technology during World War II?

During World War II, Hedy Lamarr co-invented a frequency-hopping spread spectrum system with George Antheil to secure radio-controlled torpedoes. This invention aimed to enhance the accuracy and security of military communications.

What is the significance of Hedy Lamarr’s frequency-hopping invention?

Hedy Lamarr’s development of the frequency-hopping spread spectrum set the groundwork for modern communication systems. While it was not immediately accepted, it had an impact on the development of technologies such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS. In 2014, Lamarr and Antheil were recognized in the National Inventors Hall of Fame posthumously.

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