Engineering Biography

Hedy Lamarr

Born: November 9, 1914

Died: January 19, 2000 (age 85)

Citizenship: Austria (1914-1953), United States (1953-2000)

Occupation: Actress, Inventor

Hedy Lamarr was born on November 9, 1914. She was an Austrian-born American film actress and inventor. Lamarr won a beauty contest in Vienna at the age of 12. As a child, she showed an interest in acting and was fascinated by theatre and film. She became a film star from the late 1930s to the 1950s. Her best-known films are Algiers, Boom Town, I Take This Woman, Comrade X, Come Live With Me, H.M. Pulham, Esq, and Samson and Delilah.

At the age of 18, Lamarr married Mandl. Her marriage eventually became unmanageable, and she decided to separate herself from her husband. She described her husband as an extremely controlling husband who strongly objected to her acting career. She even claimed she was kept a virtual prisoner in their castle home.  After leaving Mandl, she met Louis B. Mayer, head of MGM. He brought her to Hollywood in 1938 and began promoting her as the “World’s most beautiful woman” and she gets famous ever since.

During the World war II, Lamarr wanted to join the National Inventors Council, but the NIC member told that she could better help the war effort by using celebrity to sell war bonds. Because of her participation, there were many war bonds purchases during that time. Throughout her entire time in the film industry, Lamarr enjoyed her biggest success playing Delilah the most. The film was the highest-grossing film of 1949 and also won two Oscars.

Besides working in the filming industry, Lamarr also worked in her spare time on various hobbies and inventions. She improved traffic stoplight and a tablet that would dissolve in water to create a carbonated drink. The beverage was unsuccessful but later on, in 1997, Lamarr received the Electronic Frontier Foundation Pioneer Award and the Bulbie Gnass Spirit of Achievement Bronze Award, given to an individual whose creative lifetime achievements in the arts, science, business, or invention fields have significantly contributed to society.

Lamarr died in Florida, on January 19, 2000, of heart disease, aged 85. She was given an honorary grave in Vienna’s Central Cemetery in 2014. Despite the fact that Lamarr was an actress, she was also the first woman to receive the invention Convention’s BULBIE Gnass Spirit of Achievement Award, known as the “Oscars of inventing.” This amazing history should be spread and hear by everyone because Lamarr, an actress, and woman had broken the world stereotype by inventing the “secret communication system” that we are now using every day.

Last but not least, the three characteristics that help Lamarr reached her goals must be persistence, patience, and positivity. Lamarr was not just a pretty actress, in addition, this Lamarr seems to play an important role during and after the World War II broke. She wanted to solve the problem of communication at that time, but her first attempt wasn’t a success due to sociocultural discrimination. I understand that sometimes there are people that are going to say “no” to what we want and need but successful people do not give up, so did Lamarr.

Works Cited

“Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story.” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/blog/7-things-didnt-know-hollywood-star-inventor-hedy-lamarr/.

“Hedy Lamarr.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 6 Sept. 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hedy_Lamarr.

“Hedy Lamarr.” Hedy Lamarr: Invention of Spread Spectrum Technology, www.women-inventors.com/Hedy-Lammar.asp.

“Hedy Lamarr.” Biography.com, A&E Networks Television, 26 Mar. 2018, www.biography.com/people/hedy-lamarr-9542252.

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