Monday, November 09, 2015

Google Goes Gaga For Hedy

Hollywood icon Hedy Lamarr is honored on Google's home page with a google doodle.. and for a very good reason. She, and a composer friend, invented frequency hopping - intended to send radio messages and scramble the signals so they couldn't be intercepted. They gave their patent to the US Navy in 1942 and it has since been developed into bluetooth and... wifi.
In the eyes of the world, Hedy was foremost a legendary beauty, called the most beautiful woman in the world, but she had a brilliant mind and considered her looks a hindrance. She once famously said, "It's easy to look glamorous - all you have to do is stand still and look stupid."
She had one of the most storied lives imaginable - the first actress to appear nude (in 1933's Czech film, Ecstasy, which was banned nearly everywhere), she then married a Nazi arms dealer who was so controlling he not only tried to buy all the copies of Ecstasy, but Hedy was held prisoner in her own home. She escaped, in a maid's laundry basket (as I recall) and made her way to Hollywood where she signed with MGM and swiftly became one of the biggest draws of her day. Unfortunately, life didn't end well. She was picked up for shoplifting (accusations she refuted) twice as an old woman, and was only honored for her frequency hopping patent in 1997, saying "It's about time."
Hedy Lamarr died in 200, a recluse, alone in her Florida home, never seeing how her invention has changed the way we live. I'm so thrilled to see Google reviving interest in this pioneering woman.

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