First nude, first orgasm:
The first movie with a full female nude scene be shot was Ecstasy, a 1933 drama, directed by Gustav Machatý. Everything was said about it, even that sex was not simulated, but above all it was about woman, who also did the first scene with an orgasm.
The naked woman was Hedy Lamarr, student of engineering who had learned Czech in a month. She was Austrian, a Jew converted to Catholicism and her real name was Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler. Passionate and idealistic, she was forced to flee to the USA due to her origins. Overseas, her beauty became famous since the beginning; much less her acting skills, becoming more an emblem of beauty.
Escape from the Nazis:
Before USA she repaired in Switzerland, like many other Jewish actors, but her stormy spirit made her move to London after a year, before embarking for USA. On the ocean, she convinced Louis B. Mayer (patron of Metro Goldwyn Mayer) to recruit her. Due to the relations with Nazi Germany, a German surname was not the best for a Hollywood actress, for this reason, inspired by Barbara La Marr and Hedwig Kiesler, she became Hedy Lamarr.
The new world:
Once she arrived in the US, Mayer offered her remakes of all Garbo’s movies, but she refused them. Thanks to her amorous raids, she played a central role in An American in the Casbah. A total fiasco, however, that outlined her character: an unattainable beauty, symbol of old Europe, with Middle Eastern references and a fixed acting, perhaps all too classic. The Anschluss, meanwhile, created problems for her career.
Hedy, however, did not worry so much and married screenwriter Gene Markey. Shortly after she was thought for the movie version of Puccini’s Manon Lescaut, a role that she accepted willingly also for sensuality. The lady of tropics turned out to be quite successful, although Hedy couldn’t seem too foreign because of war.
In the same year the first Batman comic was published. His antagonist was Cat (who later became Catwoman) and was clearly inspired by Hedy Lamarr.
World War II:
Either way, Lamarr’s career continued and so her fame. After separating from Markey, the actress decided to support the Allies (of which the US was not yet part), also to rehabilitate her figure, seen almost with suspicion by the average American.
She took advantage of her engineering studies and the speeches of her first husband (an Austrian arms dealer), factors that made her obsessed with remote control of bombs. She didn’t know what to do until she met George Antheil, to whom she wrote the phone number on the windshield with a lipstick and then friendzoned him.
At her home, he discovered an abnormal collection of drawing boards, showing various projects. Hedy’s idea was truly futuristic. Antheil helped her above all on a bureaucratic level, but also technically, bringing her knowledge of electronics, deriving from his past as a composer. In 1941 the patent was ready and Hedy Lamarr’s name was leaked, despite the fact that the patent was officially in the Kiesler/Antheil name.
Only 180 days later, USA declared war on Japan.
The first invention:
Another 247 days passed by and the patent was granted, with number 2,292,387, but USA did not take it into consideration also due to Hedy’s origins and profession.
As if this were not enough, another invention (a missile that explodes on command and not on contact) was even more snubbed by the US government. Then she decided to continue with her acting career, rejecting a role that she probably would have made her a true diva, which she never quite managed to become: the role of Ilsa Lund Laszlo in Casablanca. Instead she chose The Very Honorable Mr. Pulham, with a more complex role and a more soap and water beauty.
Her war effort:
In 1942 she became involved in the sale of war bonds, selling securities for about $25 million ($ 7 million in one evening, selling kisses). Those were hard times for the world, but they were also slipping away. In 1945 her daughter Denise was born, whose godmother was Bette Davis (the one of the eyes). But Hedy was not meant to be a mother and she made the same mistakes her parents did. She joined a left-wing collective made up of Austrian people in Hollywood, becoming vice president.
Top and bottom of the career:
Just when her career seemed destined for oblivion, in 1949, here came the
opportunity of her life: the co-star role in Samson and Delilah. The movie had a resounding success, topped off with accusations of blasphemy. In 1953 she married the Texan oilman, who financed a movie of hers without the expected economic return. In 1957, her last movie, The Female Animal, in which she essentially played herself. From then on, only gossip and talk shows, but above all psychiatric problems.
In 1962, however, the USA adopted the technique conceived and patented by her and Antheil. Unfortunately the patent had already expired, but USA used it on board of ships engaged in the Embargo against Cuba.
Meanwhile, Hedy invented a pill that creates a carbonated drink from a glass of water and a system to improve the functioning of traffic lights.
The decline began. A psychological and economic decline. The second due to the causes of divorce and lack of work; the first also derived from the discover of the concentration camps. She ended up in jail, but got out on a small bail. Her life was sinking, but her scabrous biography became a best seller.
It was 1968 when Hedy left California forever, moving to New York. There her life got worse. She lived in a filthy apartment in Manhattan, until, thanks to a lens transplant and the development of electronics, the wheel turned again. She moved to a home in Florida, still surrounded by men (and women), passionate about plastic surgery, she continued her life between kleptomania and memories, until 1991.
Military secrecy was removed from patents. The rumor began to circulate.
Interviews were running out, but also awards, so much that Switzerland, Germany and Austria proclaimed the Inventor’s Day on her birthday, November 9th. In her latest interview she declared her favorite character was Bart Simpson. In 2014, Lamarr and Antheil were inducted into the US National Inventors Hall of Fame, despite her having been dead for 14 years and him for 55.
The end and the consecration:
Hedy died on January 19, 2000, watching TV. Just in time to reach the millennium in which her patents will be used more, including Bluetooth, drones and Wi-Fi. A telecommunication, the contemporary one, largely based on the development of technologies she patented. Despite all of this, Hedy has never earned a single penny from her scientific side.
The bittersweet tale of the exotic diva, the woman who first appeared naked on the big screen and predicted WiFi, ended in the Vienna woods, where her ashes were scattered, where it all began, the story of the naked scientist who was first in everything.