Today Google Doodle honored the life of Hedy Lamarr, the American film actress and inventor, on her 101st birthday. She was once dubbed “the most beautiful woman in the world.” Her personal life, which lay beneath the glitz and glamour world is only known to a few.
Here are five things that you didn’t know about Lamarr:
1. Her real name was Hedwig. She was born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler in Vienna, Austria in 1914.
She was of Jewish descent and the daughter of a banker and pianist. Lamarr died in Casselberry, Florida, on 19 January 2000, aged 85.
2. One of her first acting roles was in the Czech film ‘Ecstasy’ in 1933.
Lamarr’s role was that of a neglected young wife married to an indifferent older man. The film became notorious for showing Lamarr’s face in the throes of orgasm as well as close-up and brief nude scenes in which she is seen swimming and running through the woods.
3. Lamarr changed her name after fleeing from her husband Friedrich Mandl, a rich military magnate, and moved to America.
Mandl objected to what he felt was exploitation of his wife and “the expression on her face” during the simulated orgasm. He purportedly bought as many copies of ‘Ecstasy’ as he could find in an attempt to restrict its public viewing.
4. She became concerned about the Nazis and their practice of jamming the radios of the Allies in World War Two.
At the beginning of World War II, keen to aid the Allied war effort, she identified jamming of Allied radio communications by the Axis as a particular problem, and with composer George Antheil, developed spread spectrum and frequency hopping technology to defeat it.
5. The wireless communications she devised during the Second World War are still used today in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
Biographer Richard Rhodes told CBS: “Today, frequency hopping is used with the wireless phones that we have in our homes, GPS and most military communication systems.”