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Hedwig Eva Maria "Hedy Lamarr" Kiesler

Female 1913 - 2000  (86 years)

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  • Name Hedwig Eva Maria "Hedy Lamarr" Kiesler 
    Born Nov 09, 1913  Vienna, Austria Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Female 
    Social Security Number 545-16-4549 
    • HEDY LAMARR, 09 Nov 1914, 19 Jan 2000, 32707 (Casselberry, Seminole, FL), 545-16-4549, issued CA
    Died Jan 19, 2000  Altamonte Sprngs, Seminole county, Florida, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • Actress Hedy Lamarr, born Hedwig Eva Kiesler November 9, 1913 in Vienna Austria, has been called "The Most  Beautiful Woman In Films".  Her father was a banker.  She was a student of theatre director Max Reinhardt in  Berlin and worked in Czechoslovakian and German films.  Her most famous movie was a German film named "Extase"  (1932) in which she appeared nude.  The movie was released in the United States under the name "Extasy" and the nude scenes caused a stir worldwide and the movie was banned in the  United States.  She married Fritz Mandl, a munitions manufacturer and Nazi sympathizer who forbade her to act and encouraged her to direct her talents to entertaining his business associates.  Mandl's trophy bride, Madame Mandl was well-known in Viennese society, entertaining -- and dazzling -- foreign leaders, including Hitler and Mussolini. Her husband not only made munitions but also manufactured military aircraft. He was interested in control systems and conducted research in the field and it appears that Hedy picked up some pointers from association with him and his company as evidenced by her co-invention of a torpedo guidance system.
          Mandl attempted to purchase all the copies of the controversial movie with her nude scenes to remove them from circulation, but many people, including Mussolini, refused to sell their copies.  She couldn't tolerate Mandl and his Nazi associates and had to sneak out of the country.  One evening, at a party, she drugged her maid to escape her Nazi husband and Germany, and fled to England.  Later, she wrote "I couldn't be an object so I walked out ... I was kind of a slave ... I couldn't even go swimming without him being there".  Mandl's association with the Nazis didn't seem to benefit him, as they confiscated his factory claiming that he owed them taxes.
          Her chosen screen name "Lamarr" came to her while on board ship to the United States, "La Mer" being French for the sea.  In 1938 she came to America and was signed by producer Walter Wanger who cast her opposite Charles Boyer in the movie Algiers.  Louis Mayer, of MGM studios, signed her to a contract in 1939 but insisted she do "wholesome" films and had her change her name to Hedy Lamarr to distance her from the negative publicity in America.  She made her USA debut as Gaby in the 1938 film "Algiers". This was followed a year later with "Lady of the Tropics". In 1942, she landed the plum role of Tondelayo in the classic, "White Cargo".
          She met George Antheil in 1940, when they were neighbors in Hollywood.  At some point they discussed weapons, and Lamarr told Antheil that she was contemplating quitting MGM and moving to Washington, D.C., to offer her services to the newly established National Inventors Council.  They began talking about radio control for torpedoes. The idea itself was not new, but her concept of "frequency hopping" was. George's contribution was to provide the idea for synchronization of the transmitted and received frequencies, proposing that they could be coordinated the way he had coordinated the sixteen synchronized player pianos in his Ballet M?anique. His design used slotted paper rolls similar to player-piano rolls to synchronize the frequencies in transmitter and receiver, even calling for exactly eighty-eight frequencies, the number of keys on a piano.  With the help of an electrical engineering professor from the California Institute of Technology they perfected their idea, even specifying that a high-altitude observiation plane would steer the torpedo from above.
          In 1942, Mrs. Hedy Kiesler Markey and co-inventor George Antheil were awarded patent #2,292,387, for a "Secret Communication System. It was the first instance of spread-spectrum communications using  frequency-hopping techniques.  The frequency-hopping system by which both the transmitting and receiving stations of a remote-control torpedo changed at intervals was never used in WW-II, apparently because of Antheil's reference to its use of technology from player pianos.  The development of a form of data encryption technology is attributed to her that helped in the development of the cellular phone.  These contributions earned her the nickname "mother of the cell phone" and, in 1997, the Electronic Frontier Foundation Pioneer award (  In 1999 she said "Films have a certain place in a certain time period. Technology is forever".
          George Antheil gave Lamarr most of the credit, but he supplied the player piano technique.  He wrote: "In our patent Hedy and I attempted to better elucidate our mechanism by explaining that certain parts of it worked like the fundamental mechanism of a player piano.  Here, undoubtedly, we made our mistake.  The reverend and brass-headed gentlemen in Washington who examined our invention read no further than the words 'player piano.'  'My God,' I can see them saying, 'we shall put a player piano in a torpedo'."
        In 1957, engineers at Sylvania Electronic Systems Division built upon their invention, using electronics rather than piano rolls, and developed a basic tool for secure military communications. The ships sent on the Cuba Blockade by President in John Kennedy in 1962 used this system three years after the Lamarr-Antheil patent had expired. Subsequent patents in frequency changing, which are generally unrelated to torpedo control, have referred to the Lamarr-Antheil patent as the basis of the field, and the concept lies behind the principal anti-jamming device used today, for example, in the U.S. government's Milstar defense communication satellite system.
          She was considered such a poor actress that whenever she was given speaking lines, she was the brunt of jokes. Jack Benny and Mel Brooks both did parodies of her.  Hedy left MGM after the war and in 1949 she played Delilah opposite Victor Mature in "Samson & Delilah" for  Paramount Studios.  She made a few movies after that but became disenchanted with the roles offered her and quit  making films in 1957.  Her autobiography, "Ecstasy and Me," was published in 1966; she later sued her ghostwriters for allegedly misrepresenting her story.  In 1974 she sued Mel Brooks for mocking her name in his film Blazing Saddles and in 1998 she sued Corel Corporation for using her photo on the cover of CorelDraw.
          She was married six times and was a regular customer of Nevada's six-week divorce mill in Reno.  She is quoted as having said "I must quit marrying men who feel inferior to me. Somewhere there must be a man who could be my husband and  not feel inferior. I need a superior inferior man".  After she fled Mandl and Germany, she married Gene Markey in 1939 and divorced him the next year.  She was briefly engaged to the actor George Montgomery, in 1941. During this time she sold millions of dollars in war bonds; she once told an audience in Philadelphia that she was just "a gold digger for Uncle Sam." In 1943, she met the English actor John Loder, and six months later they were married.  Hedy and John had two children, Anthony and Denise, and she adopted a son, James.  They divorced three years later. Her other marriages included Teddy Stauffer, an Acapulco nightclub owner, Howard Lee, an oil tycoon, and Lewis Boles, a lawyer from the west coast.
      Hedy Lamarr's Time Line
      1913 November 9th Hedwig Kiesler born
      1931 First full length movie Sturm in Wasserglas
      1933 Ecstasy creates a scandal all over the world
      1933 Maries Fritz Mandl
      1935 Ecstasy banned by US Customs Dept.
      1937 Divorces Fritz Mandl
      1938 American debut in Algiers
      1939 Marries Gene Markey
      1940 Divorces Gene Markey
      1942 Receives U. S. Patent number 2, 292, 387 for "Secret Communication System"
      1943 Marries John Loder
      1947 Divorces John Loder
      1951 Marries Ted Stauffer
      1952 Divorces Ted Stauffer
      1953 Marries W. Howard Lee
      1954 Tells police $50,000 in jewels are missing
      1954 Finds missing jewels in her house
      1957 Last starring role in The Female Animal
      1960 Divorces W. Howard Lee
      1963 Marries Lewis J. Boles
      1965 Divorces Lewis Boles
      1966 Arrested for shoplifting in California
      1966 Publishes her biography Ecstasy and Me
      1971 Fined $15,000 for filing a false rape charge
      1991 Arrested for shoplifting in Florida
      1997 Wins EFF Pioneer award for her invention of spread spectrum radio technology
      1997 Gives first interview in 20 years to Associated Press
    Person ID I53698  mykindred
    Last Modified Mar 31, 2019 

    Family 1 Fritz Mandl,   d.
    Married Aug 10, 1933 
    Divorced 1937 
    Family ID F18915  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 2 Gene Markey,   d.
    Married Mar 05, 1939 
    Divorced 1940 
     1. Living
    Family ID F18916  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 3 John Loder,   d.
    Married 1943 
    Divorced 1947 
     1. Living
     2. Living
    Family ID F18917  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 4 Teddy Stauffer,   d.
    Married 1951 
    Divorced 1952 
    Family ID F18918  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 5 William Howard Lee,   b. Sep 12, 1908, Texas, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Feb 16, 1981, Houston, Harris county, Texas, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 72 years) 
    Married Dec 1953 
    Divorced 1960 
    Family ID F18913  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 6 Lewis J. Boles,   d.
    Married Mar 04, 1963 
    Divorced Jun 21, 1965 
    Family ID F18914  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Photos
    Lamarr, Hedy (1913-2000)
    Lamarr, Hedy (1913-2000)
    Lamarr, Hedy (1913-2000)
    Lamarr, Hedy (1913-2000)