Hedy Lamarr: The Hollywood Star Who Helped Invent Wi-Fi

It’s no exaggeration to say that the internet has changed the world. Every single day, millions, if not billions of people all over the globe are hooked up to the World Wide Web, with this amazing form of communication helping us all to feel more connected and enjoy all kinds of advantages in our day to day lives. Trying to go a single day without making use of Wi-Fi is almost impossible for many people, such is our reliance and love of the internet, but this fantastic invention might not even exist if not for the intellect and ingenuity of some very clever people.

A lot of different figures throughout history helped to contribute to the rise of the internet age, with some helping to create the first computers and others helping to launch pioneering versions of wireless signals and communication software. You’re surely familiar with the big names of the tech world like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, but did you know that one incredible woman who contributed a huge amount to the development of the internet and tech world was none other than a Hollywood movie star? And the word is now out that Gal Gadot is supposed to play her in an upcoming Showtime Series. That’s right, Wonder Woman is going to play yet another female powerhouse: Hedy Lamaar.

This is the fascinating true-life story of Hedy Lamarr.

A Brief Introduction to Hedy Lamarr

Hedy Lamarr was an Austrian-American actress, who also doubled up as an inventor on the side. Known for her stunning good looks and incredible acting skills, she was also a brilliant woman.

A Brief Introduction to Hedy Lamarr

4th August 1943: Photo by Clarence Sinclair Bull/John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images

In fact, some of the biggest modern conveniences and comforts we take for granted every day – the ability to make use of wireless technologies like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS – were all thanks to her amazing brain. Without Hedy Lamarr and her astonishing intellect and scientific knowledge, key inventions regarding the internet may have been far slower to develop.

Hedy Lamarr’s Real Name

Hedy Lamarr, like so many Hollywood stars over the years, decided to change her name to fit in with the movie-making world and appeal to the general public. Hedy Lamarr’s birth name was actually Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler. Other famous stars of the early years of Hollywood who changed their names include Cary Grant and Marilyn Monroe.

Hedy Lamarr’s Real Name

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Back then, it was quite common for stars to use different names, especially as many had European origins and therefore had names that might have had German connotations, which wouldn’t have been too warmly received by the public.

Born in a Beautiful City

Hedy Lamarr was born in 1914 in the beautiful city of Vienna, which was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the time and is now the capital of Austria. Her parents were Gertrud Kiesler and Emil Kiesler, with her father, Emil, being a successful bank manager.

Born in a Beautiful City

Actress Hedy Lamarr at Six. Photo by John Springer Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

Hedy’s mother, Gertrude, who was nicknamed ‘Trude’ to friends and family, was a pianist. Both of Hedy’s parents were originally Jewish, but Trude had converted to Christianity over the years and raised Hedy as a Christian. She had a regular upbringing and was raised in quite a wealthy household due to her father’s financial success.

An Early Passion For Acting

Like so many famous people in the world of movie-making, Hedy showed a passion for acting from a very early age. It was said that even as a child, she was very interested in the worlds of theater and film, fascinating by the performers and eager to imitate them herself.

An Early Passion For Acting

Scene from the movie ‘Samson and Delilah’ – Directed by: Cecil B. DeMille – USA 1949 – Produced by: Paramount Pictures Vintage property of ullstein bild (Photo by ullstein bild/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

She was also very quickly becoming known for her striking good looks, even winning a beauty contest at the tender age of just 12 years old. This just shows that passions and interests in children, when nurtured and allowed to grow, can help those kids grow into truly successful stars.

Pursuing Her Dreams of Being an Actress

Hedy didn’t just show an interest in becoming an actress; she actively set out to become one. From an early age, she started to take acting classes in Vienna. One day, she decided to take a risk.

Pursuing Her Dreams of Being an Actress

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She faked a note from her mother to skip class for a week and went over to the studios of the Sascha Film production company, which was the biggest Austrian film company at the time. There, she managed to get herself a job working as a script supervisor and proceed to get a role as an extra in a 1930 film called Money on the Street.

Working Her Way Up the Ranks

So Hedy had already managed to get herself a job on set at one of the top film production companies in the country and had even appeared in the background of a motion picture. But she didn’t stop there! Her determination and drive to make it in the movie business helped her continue climbing the ranks.

Working Her Way Up the Ranks

Source: Wikipedia.com

After her spot in “Money on the Street,” she got her first speaking role in a 1931 movie called “Storm in a Water Glass,” directed by Georg Jacoby. From there, she was spotted by Max Reinhardt, a theater and film director, who decided to give her a role in a play called The Weaker Sex.

Starting to Make A Name for Herself

Hedy appeared in Max Reinhardt’s play, and he was blown away by her performance and beauty. In fact, he was so impressed that he insisted she accompanies him to Berlin to work on more projects.

Starting to Make A Name for Herself

(Photo by ullstein bild/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

In the end, she did go to Berlin, but she quickly split from Reinhardt after meeting a Russian director called Alexis Granowsky. She had quite a big role in Granowsky’s movie, the “Trunks of Mr. O.F.” and then met another director called Carl Boese, appearing in the starring role of his 1932 film, “No Money Needed.”

The Film That Changed It All

Hedy had swiftly made a name for herself, starting off as a mere extra and then appearing in a starring role in the space of just two years. And it’s important to note that she did all of this while still just a teenager, which makes it all even more impressive!

The Film That Changed It All

(Photo by Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images)

Then, in 1933, when she was only 18 years old, she was given another starring role in a film that would come to define her career and be remembered for decades: “Ecstasy,” directed by Gustav Machaty and known as ‘Ekstase’ in German.

A Big First for The World of Cinema

“Ecstasy” was a particularly famous and controversial film at the time of its release as it was the first movie to really explore female sexuality in quite an explicit way. Hedy appeared in several brief nude scenes.

A Big First for The World of Cinema

Hedy Lamarr lying on a sofa wearing a petticoat in the film Ekstase. USA, 1933 (Photo by Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images)

She later explained that the director had tricked her into filming these scenes and would poke her with a pin to get her to react, as well as yelling instructions at her. The movie was banned in the United States but was praised for its artistic merits throughout much of Europe.

Falling in Love for the First Time

After appearing in “Ecstasy,” Hedy spent some time in the theatre, performing on stage. She appeared in a play named “Sissy” where she played the role of  Countess Elisabeth, which was particularly popular, with many adoring fans sending her gifts and one, in particular, a very wealthy man named Friedrich Mandl, becoming infatuated with Hedy and wanting to get to know her personally.

Falling in Love for the First Time

Actress Hedy Lamarr in a scene from the movie ‘Ecstacy’ aka Extase and Ekstase which was released on January 20, 1933. (Photo by Donaldson Collection/Getty Images)

At first, Hedy politely refused Mandl’s advances, but she later started to fall for him and was impressed by his unique charms and enormous wealth, which he had obtained from his work as an arms dealer.

A Doomed Marriage Begins

Friedrich Mandl even had business connections with the leader of Italy’s fascist dictator, Benito Mussolini, and would later develop a business relationship with Adolf Hitler himself. Hedy’s parents weren’t impressed with this and implored her to choose another suitor, but Hedy’s mind was made up.

A Doomed Marriage Begins

Source: wikitree.com

She had fallen in love with Friedrich, who was 15 years older than her and decided to marry him in the summer of 1933. Sadly, this marriage quickly revealed itself to be a terrible one for Hedy as her new husband kept her shut away in the couple’s castle home and refused to let her continue acting.

An Interest in Science Starts to Take Hold

If Hedy Lamarr’s marriage to Friedrich Mandl was a complete disaster from start to finish, it did at least have one major redeeming feature that would actually end up benefitting the entire world: it got Hedy interested in science. She would accompany her husband to various business meetings, during which he spoke to military professionals and tech experts.

An Interest in Science Starts to Take Hold

Spencer Tracy and Hedy Lamarr in MGM’s ‘I Take This Woman. Photo by Getty Images.

During these meetings, Hedy was fascinated to learn about the various tech being developed and started to take a real interest in scientific studies alongside her acting career. Her passion would continue to grow over the years, culminating in her own invention of some revolutionary technology.

Time to Run Away

Hedy quickly realized that her marriage to Friedrich was simply untenable. She decided she had to leave him, but he was so controlling and basically kept her as a prisoner, so she was worried about how he might react if she broke the news. Instead, she planned a great escape.

Time to Run Away

Clark Gable and Hedy Lamarr embracing in publicity portrait for the film ‘Comrade X,’ 1940. (Photo by 20th Century-Fox/Getty Images)

Reports differ on how her escape plan actually played out, but in Hedy’s autobiography, she wrote that she decided to dress herself up as one of the castle maids and sneaked out of the couple’s home to flee her marriage and the country of Austria.

The Beginnings of a Hollywood Career

It was in the late 1930s that the seeds of Hedy’s infamous Hollywood career began to be sewn. She was in London at the time when she met Louis Burt Mayer, a film producer and one of the founders of Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM). Mayer was charmed by Hedy and offered her a $125 per week deal to join his company.

The Beginnings of a Hollywood Career

Hedy Lamarr and Mexican-born American actor Anthony Quinn looking far and smiling. Rome, June 1953 (Photo by Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images)

Hedy, always headstrong and knowing she could get more, refused. She later bumped into Mayer again as they were traveling to New York City on the same ship and charmed her further to obtain a greatly improved offer of $500 per week.

What’s in a Name?

It was Louis Mayer who suggested that Hedy change her name from Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler. He told her that her controversial appearance in “Ecstasy” wouldn’t help her in the United States and she needed a name change to distance herself from that role.

What’s in a Name?

Photo by Gene Lester/Getty Images

Hedy eventually agreed, and Mayer decided that Lamarr was a suitable surname, with his wife, an admirer of the actress Barbara La Marr, being the one who came up with the idea. From that point on, Hedy’s Hollywood career officially began, and Mayer actually started promoting her as the most beautiful woman on the planet.

A Star Is Born

It didn’t take long at all for Hedy’s Hollywood career to hit some enormous heights. In 1938, the very same year she arrived in Hollywood, she was cast in “Algiers”, a Walter Wanger film based on a French film called Pépé le Moko, which had been released in 1937.

A Star Is Born

Charles Boyer and Hedy Lamarr on the bed together in a scene from the film ‘Algiers,’ 1938. (Photo by United Artists/Getty Images)

Lamarr was given a starring role alongside Charles Boyer and reports state that audiences were blown away by her beauty and glamor. There were very high hopes that Lamarr would follow in the footsteps of other European Hollywood actresses like Greta Garbo.

More Movies Start to Line Up

The train of success kept on rolling for Hedy, who became known for appearing as glamorous, seductive women, although she was rarely given too many lines. She appeared in some big hit movies in the years after “Algiers” and her fame continued to rise.

More Movies Start to Line Up

(Photo by Mondadori Portfolio by Getty Images)

Some of the top films she appeared in included “Boom Town,” “Comrade X,” “Come Live with Me,” “Ziegfeld Girl,” and “H. M. Pulham Esq.” In these movies, she appeared alongside other Hollywood legends like Clark Gable, James Stewart, and Judy Garland, and so was really establishing herself as an icon of the silver screen.

“I am Tondelayo. I make tiffin for you?”

It was in 1942 while appearing in a movie called “White Cargo”, that Hedy Lamarr delivered a line that summed up large parts of her Hollywood movie career and has gone down in history as one of her memorable lines. The line was as follows: “I am Tondelayo. I make tiffin for you?”

“I am Tondelayo. I make tiffin for you?”
Source: IMDB

Like many of her roles, Lamarr’s role as Tondelayo involved a lot of lines in broken English and delivered in a strongly seductive manner, with directors and producers focusing more on her beauty and mysterious nature than her delivery and broader acting skills.

Boredom Starts to Set In

Because Hedy wasn’t really being challenged in her movie career and so many of her roles seemed to revolve around doing the same basic things and not having too many lines to learn or difficult acting performances to provide, she actually started to grow bored with her profession.

Boredom Starts to Set In

From left to right, actors Hedy Lamarr as Tondelayo, Frank Morgan as The Doctor and Henry O’Neill as Reverend Dr. Roberts on a lobby card for the film ‘White Cargo,’ 1942. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)

This boredom helped to trigger her interest in a very special pastime: inventing. According to Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Rhodes, Hedy decided to take up inventing on the side to have something interesting to do. She actually asked for a drafting table to be installed in her home and loved trying to think up new ideas.

Always an Intellectual

Hedy had always been a brilliant young woman and never really took much of an interest in the typical celebrity lifestyle enjoyed by many of her peers at the time. While lots of stars could be seen out and about in their free time, going to parties and events, Hedy preferred to stay away from the spotlight.

Always an Intellectual

(Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)

Her idea of a fun night was to simply get together with some intellectual friends and talk about ideas and inventions. She didn’t drink alcohol and wasn’t interested in partying either, always preferring to keep her mind active and alert.

Her First Invention

One of Hedy’s first ever recorded inventions was a little tablet that was designed to be able to dissolve up in water and create a kind of carbonated beverage like Coca Cola. Hedy later revealed that the tablet didn’t quite work the way she wanted it to.

Her First Invention

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She said that the flavor she was going for wasn’t really there and the tablet acting more like an Alka-Seltzer than anything else, but this simple invention was the first step on a long road towards something far bigger and greater.

A Keen Eye on The War

Of course, while Hedy was appearing in major movies like “Boom Town” (1940), “Come Live with Me” (1941), and “Crossroads” (1942), the Second World War was going on over in Europe. As an intellectual woman who took a keen interest in current affairs, Hedy kept a close eye on the news for updates on the war.

A Keen Eye on The War

A lobby card for Jack Conway’s 1940 adventure film ‘Boom Town,’ starring (clockwise, from top) Spencer Tracy, Claudette Colbert, Hedy Lamarr, and Clark Gable. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)

As well as working on her inventions, she spent a lot of her free time learning about the latest events overseas. As someone who had been born and raised in Europe and had known many Jewish people while growing up, she had a particularly personal interest in knowing what was happening.

She Saved Her Mom from The Holocaust

Hedy Lamarr was already in the United States and enjoying her career when Adolf Hitler was triggering the global conflict that came to be known as World War II. At the time, Hedy’s father had died, but her mother was still living back in Austria-Hungary and had been raised as a Jew, so Hedy was naturally concerned for her well-being.

She Saved Her Mom from The Holocaust

(Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)

To save her beloved mother and keep her safe from any potential attacks from the Nazi forces, Hedy used her power and influence to help get her mom, Gertrude, out of Austria and over to the US. Gertrude eventually became a naturalized citizen of the United States.

Inspired by The Horrors of War

While keeping up with the latest news from the Second World War, Hedy Learned that German submarines had started attacking simple passenger cruise liners, causing the deaths of many innocent people. She was horrified but also inspired to try and invent something that could help the Allied forces.

Inspired by The Horrors of War

The German Submarine U-47, which sunk the British Battleship Royal Oak at Scapa Flow, approaching the German Battleship Scharnhorst. 1936 (Photo by © CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

She wanted to do something, anything, to try and save lives and bring an end to the conflict, and while thinking about submarines, she started to consider the way torpedoes worked. She realized that if they could be controlled by a radio signal, they’d be much easier to guide and aim.

A Very Profitable Relationship

It was around 1942 that Hedy really started to focus on her work in radio signals, and at the time, she was dating Howard Hughes, an aviation tycoon, and pilot. Hughes was blown away by Lamarr’s brilliance and had enjoyed benefits of her inventiveness herself after she suggested he change the shape of his airplanes to make them fly faster.

A Very Profitable Relationship

UNITED STATES – JANUARY 01: President Roosevelt Giving The Harmon Trophy To Howard Hughes In Washington. (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)

To repay her and show his support for her talents, Hughes, who was an exceptionally wealthy man, gave Lamarr a full team of scientists and engineers and said that they would help her build anything she could think of.

An Amazing Idea Starts to Develop

The main logic behind the creation of any new invention is to identify a problem in the world and then seek to solve it somehow. When looking at how radio-controlled torpedoes worked, Hedy realized that the radio signals were easy to jam, which would effectively make the torpedoes impossible to guide properly.

An Amazing Idea Starts to Develop

French inventor Gabet demonstrates what he called his ‘Torpille Radio-Automatique’, a radio controlled submarine torpedo – (Photo by ullstein bild via Getty Images)

She, therefore, came up with the idea, alongside her friend George Antheil, to basically make the radio signal move around from one frequency to another almost randomly, meaning that it would be way harder for anyone to jam it. This idea was called ‘frequency-hopping spread spectrum.’

An Idea That Could Change the World

Hedy and George’s idea was a brilliant one, and they were anxious to submit it to the National Inventor’s Council and received a patent in August of 1942. They shared the idea with the Navy but sadly didn’t get the response they might have been hoping for.

An Idea That Could Change the World

US Patent 2,292,387, issued Aug. 11, 1942, for a “Secret Communication System.” Source: Yospinlaw.com

At the time, the Navy didn’t put much faith in new inventions that hadn’t been developed in-house by their own teams of engineers and scientists. They put the file on Hedy’s invention into the archives, where it would sadly sit untouched for many years.

Hedy’s War Efforts Take A Different Turn

Sadly, as well as seeing her invention ignored, Hedy was also treated with sexist derision by Charles F. Kettering and other members of the National Inventors Council. Clearly, they didn’t believe a woman, especially a beautiful Hollywood actress, could really invent anything too useful.

Hedy’s War Efforts Take A Different Turn

Three German POWs, wearing only shorts, relaxing with books and magazines on cots in one of the prisoners’ barracks at Camp Blanding, Florida, during World War II. The walls of the barracks are decorated with magazine cut-outs of American pinups, such as Joan Fontaine, Deanna Durbin, and Hedy Lamarr. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Kettering told Lamarr she’d be much more useful to the war effort by using her image to try and sell more war bonds. Seeing no other option, Hedy eventually relented. She wanted to at least do something to help, so went around entertaining troops and even selling kisses to make a difference and try to do her bit for the Allies.

Many Years Later, Her Invention Finally Appears

Hedy’s scientific contribution to the war effort in the 1940s was locked away in the archives and left untouched for many years, but the Navy did eventually decide to take another look at it and actually made use of it during the 1960s.

Many Years Later, Her Invention Finally Appears

The Soviet freighter Anosov, rear, being escorted by a Navy plane and the destroyer USS Barry, while it leaves Cuba probably loaded with missiles under the canvas cover seen on deck, Cuba, 1962. (Photo by Underwood Archives/Getty Images)

This was around the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis, in 1962, and the Navy wanted a way of using sonar to find and identify enemy submarines and then transmit this data to planes flying overhead. They needed some kind of system to prevent the data signal from being jammed, and it was Hedy’s idea that formed the basis of the system they eventually used.

The Idea Starts to Spread

Finally, after giving her idea a chance, the Navy and other military bodies started to see how effective frequency hopping could be. The idea really started to take off, and many different military uses were identified for this innovative technology.

The Idea Starts to Spread

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Private companies also got in on the idea and started making use of frequency hopping in other ways to benefit mankind, and all of this eventually led up to the invention of Bluetooth and even Wi-Fi signals, with many of the basic elements of Hedy’s original design being found in most wireless communication devices we used today.

A Long Wait for Recognition

Even though the Navy had used her idea in the 1960s, Hedy’s contribution to the world of technology went unknown and unrewarded for many years. In fact, she’d have to wait until the early 1990s for things to change.

A Long Wait for Recognition

Source: irishtimes.com

A technical specialist working on wireless computer communications saw Hedy Lamarr’s original patent file and realized how big of an impact she had made. He also saw that she’d never received any kind of honor for it, so alerted the relevant people and Hedy, along with George Antheil, was eventually given an Electronic Frontier Foundation Pioneer Award.

More Recognition and Honors

After receiving her first award, Hedy was also honored with the Bulbie Gnass Spirit of Achievement Bronze Award, which is a special prize given to people who have made significant artistic, scientific, or business contributions to the world. She was the first woman to ever receive one of these awards.

More Recognition and Honors

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Later on, word started to spread about her story and various articles and documentaries began to tell the story and let people know what a fantastic inventor she had been, with the latest entry being ‘Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story’, which was produced by Susan Sarandon and charted Lamarr’s Hollywood career and her fantastic invention.

The Greatest Honor of All

Hedy Lamarr won several awards throughout her life. She was ranked as one of the greatest actresses of her era, but it was in 2014, more than a decade after her death at the age of 85, that she received perhaps the most important honor of her career.

The Greatest Honor of All

Source: invent.org

She, along with her close friend and co-inventor George Antheil, was admitted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, alongside legendary inventors from history like Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, Nikola Tesla, Henry Ford, and many more. It’s a shame she never lived to see this, but she would surely have been very proud.

Her Later Hollywood Career

Back in the 1940s, after receiving the patent for her invention and sending it off to the Navy, Hedy continued to work in films. The last movie she made with MGM was “Her Highness and the Bellboy,” which came out in 1945 and was a big success.

Her Later Hollywood Career

Hedy Lamarr and June Allyson looking at each other in the hallway in a scene from the film ‘Her Highness And The Bellboy,’ 1945. (Photo by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Getty Images)

After leaving the company, she decided to make her own production company alongside Jack Chertok, who eventually went on to produce most episodes of The Lone Ranger. Hedy helped produce a few films, but they weren’t very big successes. The films she appeared in were becoming less successful too, and her movie career was starting to fade away.

The Later Life of Hedy Lamarr

In the 1950s, Hedy became a naturalized American citizen but decided to mostly end her career in the movies. She published an autobiography called ‘Ecstasy and Me’ in the 1960s, but later admitted she hadn’t really written it herself and a lot of the stories contained within it had been exaggerated or fictionalized.

The Later Life of Hedy Lamarr

Moments after being acquitted 4/26 of stealing $86 worth of merchandise from a department store, actress Hedy Lamarr, 52, is all smiles and gets a quick kiss on the cheek from a friend, Robert Osborne. The Viennese-born actress went to each juror to give them her personal thanks. Photo by Getty Images

In the end, she sued the publisher and said that the ghostwriter had invented stories about her. She also encountered trouble with the law, being arrested twice for shoplifting in her later years, and also filed another major lawsuit against Warner Bros for the parody use of her name in a Mel Brooks movie called Blazing Saddles.

Her Tragic Decline Continues

Sadly, Hedy Lamarr’s life didn’t seem to get any better as it continued. She did get her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but that was one high point among a sea of lows. She underwent a lot of plastic surgery which didn’t turn out well and was left angry about the way she looked.

Her Tragic Decline Continues

nearer her children. The actress told Goode to sell everything. In 1951, Miss Lamarr did a similar disappearing act, similarly sold her remains and grossed upwards of $250,000. Photo by Getty Images

In the end, she started to lead a very secluded life and would only speak to people via the phone, refusing to leave her house and barely spending any time with other people, including her own children.

Half a Dozen Marriages

Hedy Lamarr got married on six separate occasions. Her first marriage was to the Austrian munitions tycoon Friedrich Mandl and last for four years. In 1939, she married her second husband, an American producer called Gene Markey, but they divorced in 1941. She married her third husband, British actor John Loder, in 1943 and the relationship ended in 1947.

Half a Dozen Marriages

(Photo by Toronto Star Archives/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

Her fourth husband was a Swiss club owner called Teddy Stauffer, but the marriage ended after a year. Her fifth marriage was the longest, lasting for seven years with a Texas oilman called W. Howard Lee. Her final marriage was to her divorce lawyer, Lewis J. Boles, and ran for two years until 1965.

Three Children but a Lot of Loneliness

Throughout her six marriages and divorces, Hedy Lamarr had three children: James, Anthony, and Denise. She became estranged from James Lamarr Loder quite early on, and spent nearly five decades without even speaking to him, and didn’t even speak to her children much in her later years.

Three Children but a Lot of Loneliness

John Loder as Felix Courtland and Hedy Lamarr as Madeleine Damien in the 1947 film Dishonored Lady. (Photo by John Springer Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

The last few decades of her life were mostly spent in seclusion, without any significant relationships or contact with other people. It was an unfortunate way for such a brilliant woman to spend her final years and she died on January 19, 2000. She was 85 and died of heart disease.

Pop Culture References

References to Hedy Lamarr are made in many different shows, movies, and theater productions. Modern-day shows like Agent Carter, Timeless, and Legends of Tomorrow have featured Hedy Lamarr either as a character or as an inspiration for a character’s portrayal, and her work in science has also been featured in various shows, documentaries, and more.

Pop Culture References

NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 23: (L-R) Rebecca Greenfield, Alexandra Dean, Susan Sarandon, Diane Kruger, Danijela Cabric and Patricia Rogowski speak onstage during a panel discussion for ‘Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story’ Premiere during the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival at SVA Theatre on April 23, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)

She was the subject of a Google Doodle in 2015 to honor what would have been her 101st birthday and has also been given an honorary decorative grave in the Central Cemetery of Vienna, with countless people around the world paying homage to her amazing talents.

An Unparalleled Legacy

Hedy Lamarr left her mark on the cinematic world but also on the technological world. She was a star unlike any other, able to give a fantastic performance on-screen and then head off to her inventing lab to work on one of her projects.

An Unparalleled Legacy

LONDON, ENGLAND – MARCH 08: Susan Sarandon (L) and Sir Ian McKellen attend Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story special screening at BFI Southbank on March 8, 2018, in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)

Her contribution to the technological world was an enormous one, with the idea she helped to create playing a big part in the development of the global communication world in which we live. Sadly, her contributions weren’t given enough credit at the time, but she deserves a lot of respect and admiration for both her acting skills and extraordinary mind.