Monday, 9 November 2009
This blog cannot let today go by without pausing to salute the geat Hedy Lamarr, born on this date in 1914. Described by Max Reinhardt as 'the most beautiful woman in Europe' (you can see his point), she gained early notoriety in a famous slice of arty porn, Ecstasy, prancing about in the altogether, skinny-dipping and assuming an orgasmic facial expression - achieved, she claimed, by the director pricking her in the bottom with a needle. Hmm... Her first marriage, to a fascistically inclined Austrian arms magnate, was not a howling success, but, in his determination to keep her out of mischief, he would take his young wife with him to technical meetings - where, with her sharp mathematical mind, she picked up a lot of useful information about military technology. This would come in handy later in her life, when she had fled her husband and headed for Hollywood, movies, more husbands and lovers - and the invention, in collaboration with the avant-garde composer George Antheil, of a Secret Communications System, which they patented in 1942. Apparently this was an invention far ahead of its time, having to rely on the primitive technololgy of a piano roll, but it was, according to those who know about such things, an early version of frequency hopping, and a precursor of spread spectrum communications technology, which, according to Wikipedia, is 'a key to modern wireless technology'. So there you are - what a dame! Brains and beauty too... Happy birthday, Hedy, wherever you are.