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Hedy Lamarr: Way More Than Just a Pretty Face

Hedy Lamarr: Way More Than Just a Pretty Face

Hedy Lamarr was a big Hollywood star in the 40s.  But what most people don’t know is that she was also an inventor.  An inventor who created a gudiance system for torpedos using frequency hoping which today is used in GPS and wireless phones.  She received a patent for her work, but it was still dismissed by the navy and she never made any money from it.  So she basically signed it away to the navy.  You can read all about Hedy Lamarr in the new book Hedy’s Folly: The Life and Breakthrough Inventions of Hedy Lamarr, the Most Beautiful Woman in the World by Richard Rhodes.

A movie about Lamarr, Face Value has been in the works for some time with Rachel Weisz attached.  I haven’t heard much about it recently.  Amy Redford was developing it but I believe she has left the project.  Maybe this new interest in Lamarr will help spur getting that film off the ground.

Check out this piece on Lamarr from CBS Sunday Morning

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Elizabeth Frank

I found Rhodes's book about Hedy Lamarr oddly Hedy-free. Her young days in the German film and theater community are detailed, but as soon as she runs away from her first husband (he's a Nazi), we switch to her collaborator on the patent, George Antheil. He's a fascinating character but strangely, after that, he see Hedy mostly through his eyes. It helped that he had an autobiography that Rhodes could refer to, and Hedy didn't. But I suspect there is a lot more there to Hedy, and not all of it is pretty.

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