Introducing… Hedy Lamarr!
May a beautiful actress present
Skills beyond stage and screen content?
Yes! Hedy Lamarr
Excelled as a star,
And had also talent to invent!
Her ideas were at first classified,
But their value could not be denied-
This skilled creator
Had designs that later
Emerged and were widely applied.
Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler was born November 9, 1914 in Vienna, Austria. She was the only child of Emil Kiesler, a successful bank director, and Gertrud Kiesler, a pianist. At a young age, Hedwig had already developed a passion for acting, and was later discovered by an Austrian producer, Max Reinhardt. He then took her to Berlin where she received training in theatre performance. Soon after, she went back to Vienna and began to work in the film industry, starting as a script girl before becoming an actress. In 1933, Hedwig appeared in Gustav Machatý’s film, Ecstasy, where she had to get involved in a nude scene. Young and married at the time, she ran away from Vienna and headed for Paris to escape her husband who was a very controlling man. There she met Louis B. Mayer who offered her a movie contract in Hollywood. He suggested Hedwig adopt a new screen name, so both ended up agreeing on Hedy Lamarr.
She became one of the most successful actresses in Hollywood over the next few years and appeared alongside several of the leading men of that era. During the 1940s, Hedy Lamarr acted in 18 films and also became involved in scientific research. In collaboration with George Antheil, an avant garde composer, she co-created a “Secret Communications System” to help combat the Nazis in World War II. 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 enemy personnel.
I find that Hedy Lamarr’s passions and interests are very similar to mine. In the future, I hope to become an actress or a performer of some kind. I also admire how she was not only famous for her outstanding work in films, but also she was proved to be an intelligent and innovative partner in creating new scientific technology. Hedy Lamarr is eminent because she completely broke the (at the time) stereotype: Beautiful women are not smart. She contributed greatly to both the performing and scientific worlds of that era. Some differences between her and I would be the fact that she is American, I am Chinese-Canadian, she is Judaism, I am Atheist, she was raised in an upper-class family, and I am raised in a middle-class family.
Through the process of this Eminent Project, I intend to learn about Hedy Lamarr’s achievements, ideas and her personal life in general. I’d like to explore her early life before she became a film star, and who helped her along the way. Also I would like to research all of the useful inventions that she contributed to making because I find it very intriguing why a woman already quite eminent would choose to temporarily leave her acting life to work with technology. I’m looking forward to learning about ” The Most Beautiful Woman In Films” who also is a successful inventor, Hedy Lamarr.
“Hope and curiosity about the future seemed better than guarantees. The unknown was always so attractive to me…and it still is.”