3. Biography

Hedy Lamarr
Hedy Lamarr, © 2015 Hedy E-Magazine

Early Years

Hedy Lamarr was born on November 9,1914 in Vienna, Austria to her parents Emil Kiesler and Gertrud Kesler. She was of a Jewish descent with the birth name Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler. She was the only child and often played with her dolls pretending to be an actress. “I copied my mother. I copied the way she walked and the way she walked. I copied her mannerisms, her facial expressions. I copied the guests who came to our house. I was a living copybook” (Hedys folly, 2011, p. 12).  Many of her classmates wanted to be actresses just like herself. At the age of 16 Hedi dropped out of school and ran away from home to work as an actress for German and Czechoslavakian productions (Hedy Lamar Official Site, N.D). When she first began acting she was earning five dollars a day. Her first role at the age of 16 and it was for the film Geld auf der Strasse, and then she played a secretary in Storm in a Water Glass. She went on to other small parts in different films until she became an MGM contract star. She was dreaming of coming to the United States to be an actress, and the pushing factor was the Nazis were beginning to approach Austria so she decided to flee to Hollywood, California.

Hollywood Years

When she began working in Hollywood she decided to change her name to Hedy Lamarr so it would be easier for everyone to pronounce with the suggestion from Louis B. Mayer who had signed her on with MGM. In her film career she had starred in over 30 on screen films and was mostly casted as the beautiful woman alongside of famous male co-stars. After years of trying to stay relevant, many of her films began to flop and issues in her personal life drove her out of Hollywood. During World War II she joined Hollywood Canteen which she began to do entrainment for the soldiers and selling war accessories with her face on it to help bring money to the war. “She was announced as the war bond best seller, with the record of &7 million in only one evening” (Hedy Lamarr Tribute, 2008). She did not only enjoy being an actress but she also loved inventing and tinkering with different objects throughout the years. In 1941 she met musician George Antheil and that is when they invented he frequency hopping together.

Personal Life

In her 86 years of life she was married six times and had three children. Her first husband was Friedrich Mandl wo was one of the richest men in Austria during that time. He worked as a weapon manufacture and often did business with Adolf Hitler. (Hedy Lamar Tribute, 2008) Her marriage did not last long, because of his controlling tendencies and she was able to escape that marriage and then came to Hollywood. Her second husband was Gene Markey and they met in Hollywood and adopted their son James Markey shortly after. She ended up filing for divorce two ears after getting married. Hedy met her third husband at the Hollywood Canteen, John Loder. Hedy and John Loder had two children together, Denise and Tony and filed for divorce during her second pregnancy. Hedy’s fourth husband was Ernest Stauffer and they filed for divorce a year after being married. W. Howard Lee was her fifth husband and ended their marriage with a long court battle over alimony (The New York Times, 1981). Hedy Lamarr’s sixth husband was Lexis J. Boies and their relationship lasted for two years, and he was her divorce lawyer years prior (Hedy Lamar Tribute, 2008).

Hedy Lamar with her children
Hedy Lamar with her children, © 2015 Hedy Lamar Tumblr

Later Years

In her later years she was in the spotlight once again but not for acting. She was involved in a couple of shoplifting scandals which caused her to loose a lot of her money. She had many different hobbies and passions and one was painting. She was a very good artist but was not recognized for it. A couple years before Hedi past away she had auctioned off all of her belongings and only kept in touch with her three children and her friends over the phone. In 1997 she was given the Pioneer Award by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, that her son accepted on her behalf. Hedy Lamarr had passed away on January 19th in 2000 at her home in Altamonte Springs Florida (Hedy Lamar Tribute, 2008).

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