Notable Books: Hedy’s Folly, The Life and Breakthrough Inventions of Hedy Lamarr,The Most Beautiful Woman In The World

Who knew? That one of the people to blame (or thank) for our wireless,  always inter-connected world, was inventor Hedy Lamarr. The Viennese-born movie star  and legendary beauty never profited from her patent and died broke in Florida in 1999 at 86,  having been arrested twice for shoplifting–once in 1991 for  stealing  only eye drops and a laxative.

“On a recent evening, sitting home alone suffering and brooding about my treatment at the police station because of an incident in a department store, and being replaced by Zsa Zsa Gabor in a motion picture (imagine how that pleased the ego!) I figured out that I had made – and spent – some thirty million dollars. Yet earlier that day I had been unable to pay for a sandwich at Schwab’s drug store.”–Hedy Lamar, 1966 from her memoir,  “Ecstasy & Me”

An editorial review of Hedy’s Folly, written by Pulitzer-Prize winning author Richard Rhodes :

“Here’s a recipe that might surprise you: take a silver-screen sex goddess (Hedy Lamarr), an avant-garde composer (George Antheil), a Hollywood friendship, and mutual technological curiosity, and mix well. What results is a patent for spread-spectrum radio, which has impacted the development of everything from torpedoes to cell phones and GPS technologies. This surprising and long-forgotten story is brought to life by Pulitzer Prize winner Rhodes (The Making of the Atomic Bomb), who deftly moves between Nazi secrets, scandalous films, engineering breakthroughs, and musical flops to weave a taut story that straddles two very different worlds—the entertainment industry and wartime weaponry—and yet somehow manages to remain a delectable read.   Hedy Lamarr is experiencing something of a renaissance, and Rhodes’s book adds another layer to the life of a beautiful woman who was so much more than the sum of her parts. It will appeal to a wide array of readers, from film, technology, and patent scholars to those looking for an unusual romp through World War II–era Hollywood.”—Teri S…

Hey There, Deliah”  by the Plain White T’s, (VIDEO):


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