Monday, 17 October 2016

Bad Girl Crush – Hedy Lamarr

This week’s #badgirlcrush is the blue eyed screen siren, 
Hedy Lamarr!

Born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler in November 1914 in Vienna, Hedy was discovered in Berlin aged 17 and the film industry opened up for her as a whole new world of possibility! She trained in the theatre and was a script girl before landing her first acting role in a then scandalous film ‘Ectasy’, which became notorious for close up and brief nude scenes with Hedy swimming and running through the woods, an original bad girl!

Hedy recalled, “I remember all too well the premiere of Ectasy when I watched my bare bottom bounce across the screen and my mother and father sat there in shock.”

At the tender age of 18 Hedy married a wealthy Austrian man who wasn’t too fond of her career choice, as the marriage became unbearable one evening she convinced him to let her wear all her jewellery to dinner, Hedy then left, disguised herself as a maid and fled to Paris!

I must quit marrying men who feel inferior to me. Somewhere there must be a man who could be my husband and not feel inferior.”

Like many starlets of the Golden Era, a change of name was to be expected to really stand out in Hollywood. When Hedy fled to Paris she met Louis B. Mayer  - a talent scout who hired her in an instant. As Hedy had become known as ‘the ecstasy lady’ he encouraged her to change her name to Hedy Lamarr, with Lamarr in homage to the silent film star, Barbara La Marr.

“Any girl can be glamorous. All you have to do is stand still and look stupid.”

In 1938 Louis took Hedy to Hollywood and began promoting her as the world’s most beautiful woman, and in her American film debut, audience members were known to have gasped when her face first appeared on screen, they said ‘her beauty literally took one’s breath away.’

Hedy starred in over 37 films in her career between 1930-1958 and landed a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her contribution to motion pictures.

Throughout her film career, Hedy was typecast as the glamorous seductress of exotic origin, when she grew tired of acting and the film roles dried up she took to inventing to relieve her boredom.

“Jack Kennedy always said to me, Hedy, get involved, that’s the secret of life. Try everything, join everything, get involved.”

In the midst of the World War 1, Hedy felt the need to contribute and designed a jam-proof radio guidance system for torpedoes; with George Antheil they drafted designs for frequency-hopping spread spectrum technology which they successfully patented in 1942.

Hedy and George’s invention was overlooked by the U.S Navy until 1962 during the Cuban missile crisis when an altered version of their design appeared on U.S Navy ships.

The invention that potentially would have been shelved by the U.S Navy, is one of the important components behind today’s spread spectrum communication technology which is vital for GPS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, so we can thank Hedy next time we’re scrolling on Instagram!

Hedy in Ziegfeld Girl and that infamous star crown!

With raven centre parted curls perfectly framing her symmetrical face, it’s no wonder she was hit on the big screen. Hedy had that unusual mix of blue eyes, dark hair, killer arched brows and a pout second to none.

When you think of Hedy you can’t help but picture her in 1940’s shapes and silhouettes, long chiffon sleeves, cinched waists and tailored lounge pants. Those curls tucked up into a white turban and a swipe of cherry red lipstick, add in that Lamarr confidence and she quickly became and remained a style icon.

Hedy was the complete package ; beauty, acting skills and brains, a total Bad Girl.

Patsy - Jungle Pat X

(Columnist for The Original Bad Girl Blog)

1 comment:

  1. Hedy Lamarr's incredible story

    “If you use your imagination, you can look at any actress and see her nude… I hope to make you use your imagination.” ~ Hedy Lamarr

    “I have always felt that if a man gives you a solid gold key to his door he is entitled to the courtesy of a visit.” ~ Hedy Lamarr