Hedy Lamarr: The Other Side of the Screen Siren

Hedy Lamarr: Screen Siren and Inventor

Hedy Lamarr: Screen Siren and Inventor

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Nov. 29 2011 3:46 PM

Hedy Lamarr: The Other Side of the Screen Siren

Old Hollywood screen siren Hedy Lamarr is trending thanks to a new biography that reveals details about her lesser known role as an inventor of technology that paved the way for wireless communication.

Lamarr became an MGM staple in the late 30s and 40s, appearing in Algiers and White Cargo, but she was best known for her provocative role in the 1933 Czech film Ecstasy, in which she appeared nude and performed an on-screen orgasm.

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In his new book, Hedy’s Folly, author Richard Rhodes explains how Lamarr, along with musical composer George Antheil, invented a device during World War II that created a frequency-hopping radio signal that could evade enemy jamming used to send torpedoes off course. 

Lamarr’s invention became the basis for the technology underlying Wi-Fi, GPS, and certain cordless and wireless phones.