Oh Hedy!

Hedy Lamarr in a 1930’s MGM publicity still. Image GETTY IMAGES

Hedy Lamarr. November 10th would have been the film icon’s 101st birthday and to commemorate the day, Google produced one of it’s famous Doodles in her honour! With one of their most gorgeous illustrations to date, it highlighted the glitz and glamour of the icon’s glimmering Hollywood career whilst simultaneously paying homage to her incredible contribution to modern science. If you’d like see it, scroll to the end of this post!

Hedy Lamarr by Alfred Eisenstaedt, 1938. Image ALFRED EISENSTAEDT/TIME & LIFE PICTURES/GETTY IMAGES

It’s impossible not to be inspired by Hedy Lamarr (born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler), a woman who broke the conventions of 1930s and 40s society to become one of the most recognizable and respected individuals of the Golden Age of Hollywood. On the surface she was an extraordinarily beautiful and glamourous woman, the ultimate seductress who set the silver screen on fire and has become known as one of most exotic beauties to ever grace modern film. With iconic hits like Crossroads, Ziegfeld Girl, Ecstasy, Algiers and White Cargo under her belt, she has became one of the legends of film, with a legacy that continues to inspire millions to this day.

Hedy Lamarr in a still from The Heavenly Body (1944). Image MGM/GETTY IMAGES

But she was so much more than just a beautiful, talented actress. Hedy Lamarr possessed a powerful and brilliant mind that turned to science to ease the boredom she felt from a lack of acting challenges. An improved traffic stoplight and a carbonated beverage tablet (much like Alka Seltzer) were two of Ms. Lamarr’s earliest inventions, but her most famous work is undeniably her improvement of the frequency- hopping spread spectrum radio system. Intended as a contribution to the the war effort, she and composer George Antheil designed a guidance system for radio- controlled torpedoes which prevented them from being affected by jammed frequencies, ensuring that they wouldn’t be thrown off course. The system was so advanced that it wasn’t implemented until the 1960s, but it’s still in use today as it forms the basis of modern spread-spectrum communication technology, such as GPS, Bluetooth, mobile phones, and Wi-Fi networks. It’s a fact to say that we all benefit from Hedy Lamarr!

Hedy Lamarr by Laszlo Willinger on the set of Lady in the Tropics, 1939. Image LASZLO WILLINGER/MGM

Already smart, beautiful and talented, Hedy was even more. An extraordinarily brave woman, she famously fled her controlling first husband at the age of 23, abandoning her unhappy marriage with nothing but a case of jewelry and the clothes on her back. This came soon after the release of 1933’s Ecstasy, a film in which she tackled nude scenes and the controversial depiction of the first female orgasm to be shown in a non-pornographic film. Talk about daring! Neither of these acts may be shocking today, but things were VERY different for women in the 1930’s.

Hedy Lamarr in Ziegfeld Girl (1941). Image MGM/GETTY IMAGES

After escaping her husband and WWII Austria, Ms. Lamarr relocated to Paris in 1937, where she met American talent scout Louis B. Mayer. Dazzled by her looks, he persuaded her to move to Hollywood in 1938 where he began promoting her as the “world’s most beautiful woman.” It’s upon reaching Hollywood she truly became the Hedy Lamarr we know and love.

Hedy Lamarr in The Conspirators (1944). Image WARNER BROTHERS/GETTY IMAGES

Style wise, no other actress could compare to Hedy Lamarr. She exhibited a unique style, with greater knowledge of the fashions of the time than many of her fellow starlets. A born pin-up, she dressed to enhance her showstopping curves and gorgeous natural colouring- nobody wore the smokey eye or dark lips better than she. Then, on top of all that, she slayed with constantly glamourous clothing. Ms. Lamarr loved the splendour that came with the roaring 20’s, and continued that decadence throughout her life by bringing glitzy flair into her ensembles both on and off the screen.

Hedy Lamarr in a still from The Heavenly Body (1944). Image MGM/GETTY IMAGES

Exquisitely tailored suits with exaggerated shoulders and tiny waists perfectly fit her curvaceous frame and became a staple of her wardrobe. She then flawlessly paired them with matching wrap jackets, luxurious furs, gorgeous hats and lots of glittering jewels. Always a lover of fur, she was known to wrap herself in exotic stoles no matter the event- even throwing on the occasional mink at the beach, wearing short jackets and shrugs whenever the sea breeze gave her a chill. When she ‘dressed down’ at home or on vacation, she preferred cardigans, silk blouses, swing skirts, simply tailored sundresses or fitted pantsuits that were paired with crisp button-front shirts, outsize cotton coats and silk scarves.

Hedy Lamarr at the beach in a fox fur coat, photograher unknown, 1940. Image GETTY IMAGES

But that was day-wear- Hedy Lamarr went all out for evening. Layering delicately beaded evening gowns under velvet capes, fur bolero jackets, mink stoles, white rabbit shrugs, ropes of diamonds, emeralds, pearls and rubies, and then cloaked in richly- hued velvet, detailed lace, luxuriously painted silks and chiffon, she was the embodiment of her title as “the most beautiful woman in film.” Sighhh… may we all be as opulent as Ms. Lamarr.

Hedy Lamarr in Ziegfeld Girl (1941). Image MGM/GETTY IMAGES

Ms. Lamarr’s film career began to cool in the 1950s and she spent her later years in the warmth of Orlando, Florida, taking a break from the world she had left such a loved impression on. She died on January 19, 2000, at the age of 86, leaving the world better and richer by her contributions.

Hedy Lamarr at home (top, left) in 1941 and (right, bottom) in 1940, photographers unknown. Image GETTY IMAGES

Hedy Lamarr will forever embody everything that personifies our vision of a classic movie-star, but her lasting legacy is so much more than that simplified sentiment. Forever mysterious and seductive, her achievements and the story of her life will continue to entice the imagination of people all over the world, just as much as her films and style will inspire lovers of beauty, film and fashion worldwide. Super beautiful, independent, brilliant, a total lover of gorgeous clothes and jewels, and one of the founders of modern technology- how could we not love Hedy Lamarr! What a woman!

Hedy Lamarr decked out in Lady in the Tropics (1940). Image EVERETT GALLERY/MGM

She was a woman whose legendary fierceness transcends decades!

By the way, here’s the Google Doodle:

Xx – Ana and Estevan.

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