Hedy Lamarr’s exotic beauty was heralded across Europe in the early 1930s. Yet she became infamous for her nude scenes in the scandalous movie Ecstasy. Trapped in a marriage to one of Austria’s munitions barons, a friend of Mussolini’s who hid his Jewish heritage to become an “honorary Aryan” at the onset of World War II, Lamarr fled Europe for Hollywood, where she was transformed into one of film’s most glamorous celebrities, appearing opposite such actors as Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, and James Stewart. As her career faded, she went from one husband to the next, her personal troubles and legal woes casting a shadow over her phenomenal intelligence and former image.
Stephen Michael Shearer separates the truth from the rumors regarding the life of Hedy Lamarr, and highlights her astonishing role as inventor of a technology that has become an essential part of everything from military weaponry to today’s cell phones.