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Hedy Lamarr BiographyOn November 9, 1913, Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler was born in Vienna, Austria, to a banker and his wife. Hedwig, who obviously became Hedy, had a rather calm childhood, but it was cinema that fascinated her. By the time she was a teenager she decided to drop out of school and seek fame as an actress. Her first role was a bit part in the German film Geld auf der Stra▀e (aka "Money on the Street") in 1930. She was attractive and talented enough to be in three more German productions in 1931, but it would be her fifth film that catapulted her to worldwide fame. In 1932 she appeared in a German film called Ecstasy (US title: "Ecstasy") and had made the gutsy move to be nude. It's the story of a young girl who is married to a gentleman much older than she, but she winds up falling in love with a young soldier. The film's nude scenes created a sensation all over the world. The scenes, very tame by today's standards, caused the film to be banned by the US government at the time. Hedy soon married Fritz Mandl, a munitions manufacturer and Nazi sympathizer. He attempted to buy up all the prints of "Ecstasy" he could lay his hands on (Italy's dictator, Benito Mussolini, had a copy but refused to sell it to Mandl), but to no avail (there are prints floating around the world today). The notoriety of the film brought Hollywood to her door. She was brought to the attention of MGM mogul Louis B. Mayer, who signed her to a contract (a notorious prude when it came to his studio's films, Mayer signed her against his better judgment, but the money he knew her notoriety would bring in to the studio overrode any "moral" concerns he may have had). However, he insisted she change her name and make good, wholesome films. Hedy made her American film debut as Gaby in Algiers. This was followed a year later by Lady of the Tropics. In 1942 she landed the plum role of Tondelayo in the classic White Cargo. After World War II her career began to decline and MGM decided it would be in the interest of all concerned if her contract were not renewed. Unfortunately for Hedy, she turned down the leads in both The Murder in Thornton Square and Casablanca, both of which would have cemented her standing in the minds of the American public. In 1949 she appeared as Delilah opposite Victor Mature's Samson in Cecil B. DeMille's epic Samson and Delilah. This proved to be Paramount Pictures' most profitable movie to date, bringing in $12 million in rental from theaters. The film's success led to more parts, but it was not enough to ease her financial crunch. She was to make only six more films between 1949 and 1957, the last being The Female Animal. Hedy then retired to Florida, where she died on January 19, 2000.
SalaryA Lady Without Passport (1950): $90,000
Her Highness and the Bellboy (1945): $7,500/week
TriviaHedy's credited invention was for a radio guiding system for torpedoes which was used in WWII. She supposedly gained the knowledge from her first husband, Fritz Mandl, a Viennese munitions dealer who sided with the Nazis. Hedy drugged her maid to escape her husband and homeland. Sued Mel Brooks for mocking her name in his film Blazing Saddles (1974) (they settled out of court) After a screen test, it was Louis B. Mayer who changed her last name to Lamarr in honor of silent film star Barbara La Marr. Arrested for shoplifting in 1991. One year probation. One of the few stars with whom costume designer Edith Head admitted she didn't like working. The others were Claudette Colbert and Paulette Goddard. Measurements: 33-22-34 (1933 in Ekstase (1933) ), 33B-23-35 (1940s starlet), 34B-26-37 (later career), (Source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine) Her profile was the most requested in the 1940s by women to their plastic surgeons. The mansion used in The Sound of Music (1965) belonged to her at the time. Became a naturalized citizen of the United States on 10 April 1953. Took her, then new, stage name (Lamarr) in memory of Barbara La Marr, the silent screen star. Was cast in the picture Picture Mommy Dead (1966), but fired on February 3, 1966, when she didn't show up for the first day of shooting.
Source provided by imdb (Copyright) - The Internet Movie Database.