Hedy Lamarr - Bad Girls Throughout History: 100 Remarkable Women Who Changed the World - Ann Shen

Bad Girls Throughout History: 100 Remarkable Women Who Changed the World - Ann Shen (2016)

Hedy Lamarr

Hedy Lamarr, born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler (1914-2000), was an Austrian actress who started her film career in Germany and gained fame for the 1933 film Ecstasy, in which she had several nude scenes and was the first woman to simulate an orgasm on screen. She escaped a domineering arms-dealer husband, Friedrich Mandl, and left Europe by boarding a cruise liner to America. After initially meeting Louis B. Mayer in London, Lamarr knew that he would also be traveling on that ship—and by the end of the cruise, she had a five-hundred-dollar-a-week contract with MGM Studios and a new name. Mayer reinvented her in America as Hedy Lamarr, “the most beautiful woman in the world.”

While her new film career garnered attention, Lamarr was given mostly objectifying roles, so she eventually turned to inventing. Back when she was Mandl’s trophy wife, she had often sat in on dinner party discussions with national leaders (including Stalin and Hitler). After gaining knowledge about German submarines torpedoing cruise liners and killing civilians, she used her free time between movies, working with her friend and composer George Antheil, to invent an alternative to existing radio wave technology. They gave the patent to the American government for free, but it was buried in bureaucracy when the government shifted its focus after the bombing of Hiroshima. This technology was declassified, implemented in submarines in the 1960s, and is the precursor to what we now use every day as WiFi and Bluetooth.

The most beautiful woman in the world -who also invented wi-Fi.