1940s Hollywood Starlet Defeated the Nazis and Developed WiFi

By | June 25, 2018

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Austro-American actress Hedy Lamarr on the set of Samson and Delilah. (Photo by Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)

It might be easy to dismiss the beautiful actresses during the Golden Age of Hollywood as a bunch of pretty faces but for at least one of the glamorous starlets, her pretty face was hiding a highly intelligent and inventive mind. In fact, an invention credited to the stunningly beautiful actress, Hedy Lamarr, helped to defeat the Nazis during World War II and laid the groundwork for today’s wireless communications.

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Her First Husband Aided the Nazis

The Austrian-born Hedy Lamarr began acting as a teenager and appeared in the 1933 Czech film, Ecstacy, known as the first non-pornographic film to feature nude scenes. Although the motion picture was somewhat controversial, Lamarr gained international attention for scenes showing her swimming in the nude and running through the countryside sans clothing. During this time, the young actress was married to a wealthy munitions factory owner, Fritz Mandl, who was selling arms to the Nazis. The marriage was an unhappy one and Lamarr fled to Paris and then to the United States and filed for divorce. She signed with MGM and became an instant Hollywood star.

Lamarr Became Hollywood’s Typecast Seductress

Beautiful, exotic, and sexy, Lamarr was cast again and again in roles that portrayed her as the mysterious, foreign-born seductress. Among her films were Lady of the Tropics, Algiers, Boom Town, Samson and Delilah, and Comrade X. Her stunning good looks caught the attention of the American public who clamored for more Hedy Lamarr films. She was considered the most beautiful actress of her day and a highly sought-after leading lady. But there was much more to Hedy Lamarr than everyone realized.