"Compromise and tolerance are magic words. It took me 40 years to become philosophical."
Hedwig (yes, like the owl) Eva Maria Kiesler was born in Vienna in 1913, into a non-observant Jewish family.
Hedy Lamarr, as she would later be known, was a controversial figure from the start. In 1933, she starred in Gustav Machaty's Ecstasy, about a young wife who struggles with her indifferent older husband. The most famous scene in the movie was a close-up of Lamarr's face during an orgasm. The movie also showed full-frontal shots of Lamarr swimming, making the film, and Lamarr herself, notorious.
At 19, Lamarr married an arms dealer named Friedrich Mandl, whose party guestlist included members of the Nazi high command. In 1937, Lamarr escaped her marriage by disguising herself as one of her maids and fleeing to Paris, where she filed for divorce.
She was noticed by Louis B. Mayer in London, and he hired her on the condition that she change her last name. Hence, Hedwig Kiesler became Hedy Lamarr.
Hollywood cast Lamarr as the exotic seductress. She made 18 movies between 1940 and 1949. She was married six times and had six children.
Nazis, sex, and an escape in disguise...sounds like the plot of a great movie!
Photo credit: Sipa