Who: Hedy Lamarr, film actress and Hollywood icon; inventor of technology used for wireless communications; inductee in the National Inventors Hall of Fame
Why She Dazzles: She certainly wasn’t just a pretty face. Hedy, born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler in Vienna, Austria, starred in Czech and German films until she moved to the United States to sign with the major film studio MGM. Her first Hollywood movie made her a box office sensation, and during her most glamorous era and MGM’s “Golden Age,” she co-patented an idea that later became important to the military and the development of wireless communications—like mobile phones and Wi-Fi.
Why You Need to Know Her Today: Hedy wasn’t a trained scientist but she became the first woman to receive the BULBIE Gnass Spirit of Achievement Award at the National Invention Convention’s awards ceremony, aka the Oscars of inventing. Along with co-inventor and composer George Antheil, they originally developed a “Secret Communications System” to help defeat the Nazis in World War II, but it was first used in the Cuban Missile Crisis. The device changed radio frequencies to keep enemies from decoding messages, however, it paved the way for the technology we use today.
What She Would Say—Because She Wrote It Then: “Hope and curiosity about the future seemed better than guarantees. The unknown was always so attractive to me…and still is.”
What She Would Wear to the Oscars Tonight: A gold hair clip adorned with crystals. Hedy appeared in high-grossing films opposite leading men like Jimmy Stewart, Clark Gable, and Spencer Tracey, and she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. MGM promoted her as “the world’s most beautiful woman” because of her exotic beauty, although her technical achievements made her one of the most fascinating and brilliant women in the film industry. Even more glamorous? She was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame on her 100th birthday.
What She Would Send to Her Friend: A card covered in gold glitter because of her golden girl status in Hollywood. Although Hedy was viewed by the public as a glam girl, she followed her curiousity and spent her spare time on various hobbies and inventions, and broke the pretty girl stereotype to become one of the most important female inventors of the 20th century.
Where She Would Instagram: The Beverly Hills Hotel, originally known as the “Pink Palace” for its peachy pink color. Every major celebrity has stayed here—many even lived here—and there is an intriguing story for Hollywood royalty who stayed here. (Here are a few juicy ones.) Twelve acres of tropical gardens and exotic gardens surround the hotel, located in the heart of the city, and today guests stay in a blend of vintage glamour mixed with modern luxury. Trés chic!
Tweet This: #DYK Actress Hedy Lamarr, the “most beautiful woman in the world,” was inducted into the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame for her advancement of wireless communications #anewlady