Hedy Lamarr

by Kaili Mallari from San Diego, California in United States

Hedy Lamarr was an unusual mix of intelligence and beauty for her time. Back in the early 1900’s, women were looked down upon for doing anything other than cleaning, cooking, or caring for the household. Society’s standards didn’t stop Lamarr from doing what she enjoyed which was inventing.

Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler was born in Vienna, Austria in November 9th, 1914. In 1930, her screen career began. Lamarr’s intelligence was unrecognized by the film industry and the world. Even when she moved to America in 1937, her brain was overlooked while her beauty was not. In America, her name was changed to Hedy Lamarr by producer, Louis B. Mayer. Then, in 1942, a man named George Antheil helped co-invent with Hedy to help her with an idea she had. Together, with Lamarr’s self-taught inventing skills and Antheil’s ideas, they came up with a secret communication system known as frequency hopping. This device helped prevent enemies from hijacking torpedos and ships.

Unfortunately, their work wasn’t used a lot until now and even still, Lamarr was only recently credited with invention of Spectrum Spread Technology in 1997. Today, Hedy and George's invention is used for WiFi, GPS, and Bluetooth, thus leading to her nickname of “the Mother of WiFi”. A hero is someone who has great determination and is very caring. They put others before themselves and they never back down from a challenge. Heroes persist through the hardships of life while still caring for others and themselves. Hedy Lamarr was ahead of her time. She was an amazing actor as well as a brilliant inventor. Lamarr is a hero because she was a caring and determined person which is evident from her actions.


118667Hedy LamarrBy MGM / Clarence Bull [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Hedy Lamarr is a hero for putting others before herself and caring about the world around her. As World War II occurred, most rich and famous people worried more for their welfare rather than the welfare of others. So, when George Antheil, an American composer, and Hedy got together, one of the topics they frequently talked about was the war; “She and Antheil talked about a variety of topics but of their greatest concerns was the looming war. Antheil recalled, ‘Hedy said that she did not feel very comfortable, sitting there in Hollywood and making lots of money when things were in such a state’” (Cheslak, Colleen ). In this quote, it is shown how Lamarr disliked the fact that she was just sitting around in money while there was people losing their lives everyday to help win the war. She longed to do more than making movies to distract the public when the war was getting worse. Hedy wanted to help any way she could whether it by selling war bonds or by inventing something. This also proves how Hedy Lamarr is caring because she wants to support a country that is not her birth place. She wanted the war to end and help save lives. Another example of how she is caring was when she came up with the idea of frequency hopping. With the help of a friend, George Antheil, they put Hedy’s idea into reality; “The two came up with an extraordinary new communication system used with the intention of guiding torpedoes to their targets in war. The system involved the use of “frequency hopping” amongst radio waves, with both transmitter and receiver hopping to new frequencies together. Doing so prevented the interception of the radio waves, thereby allowing the torpedo to find its intended target” (Cheslak, Colleen ). From this quote, it is shown how Lamarr didn’t just “dream the dream” or think of something useful just to have someone else make it into reality. She did it herself, along with the help of George Antheil. Together, they created something that would help prevent the Navy’s signals from getting hacked. This shows how dedicated she was to helping the States win the war over Germany and that she deeply cared for her new country that she lived in, the world, and the lives that were affected from the war. Hedy thought of something more than fame, being wealthy, or even being crowned the “most beautifulest woman alive”. All in all, Hedy Lamarr is a hero for her caring actions of helping World War II by inventing Spread Spectrum Technology that would prevent hijacking in the Navy and by wanting to do something for a better cause.

Another reason why Hedy is a hero is because she showed determination throughout her lifetime. Whether it be proving that women can be more than just a pretty face or pushing through a difficult time in life. The actress highly disliked the idea that the world only saw her for beauty and not anything else, “Lamarr was slightly dismissive of her glamorous image, saying (according to her U.S. News & World Report obituary), ‘Any girl can be glamorous. All you have to do is stand still and look stupid.’ Lamar, by contrast, had been astute enough to pick up a good deal of practical knowledge pertaining to munitions engineering during her marriage to Mandl” (Hedy Lamarr). In this quote, it is shown how determined Hedy was for trying to get the world to know her for something else other than just being another pretty face. She persevered through society’s stereotypes of women, and proved that there was more to her than being an actress. Lamarr showed this through her many inventions from creating Spread Spectrum Technology, to improving the wing design of planes. This quote also shows how Hedy wanted to prove that women were way more capable of doing housework and being a trophy wife. She showed that women can be just as intelligent as men even with her limited knowledge of engineering and inventing. Another time Lamarr was determined was when she still created and invented even though her brilliant mind was ignored; “Her scientific mind had been bottled-up by Hollywood but (Howard) Hughes helped to fuel the innovator in Lamarr, giving her a small set of equipment to use in her trailer on set” (Cheslak, Colleen). In this quote it shows how Hedy Lamarr was determined to fuel her innovative side and keep learning. Thanks to Hughes, she got to keep inventor side of her while still working on films. Lamarr created and explored even when it was found absurd for women to do such things in that time of history. As a result, Hedy Lamarr is a hero for having great determination to keep doing what she loves even if many people found it ludicrous.

Hedy Lamarr is a hero because she was caring and a determined person in her lifetime. Hedy was a caring person because she wanted to help World War II, which she succeeded with by creating an invention that prevents enemies from hijacking ships and submarines. She also disliked the idea of sitting around while people were losing their lives everyday. This led her to coming up with the idea of Spread Spectrum Technology. The actress was very determined to show that she was more than another person on a screen. Lamarr also proved that women can do anything that a man could do. Hedy Lamarr inspires me and many other people because she taught that girls can more than just pretty. They can be clever, intelligent, determined, caring and many more amazing personalities. She also inspired people in a different way; she got people to think about how her Spread Spectrum Technology can be used for our own individual use. Hedy helped people create other trinkets with her invention that was co-created Antheil. From it, people adopted the concept into cell phones making it Bluetooth, having access to GPS, and WiFi.  In conclusion, Hedy Lamarr is a hero who was very caring and a determined person. She wanted to help the horrid WWII due to the fact that she didn’t feel comfortable doing nothing when she had the power to. So she did, with the help of George Antheil, the duo created the Secret Communications System for the Navy. Lamarr also proved to the world that girls can be just as smart as boys and that there’s more to woman than her looks.


Page created on 1/30/2019 6:51:28 AM

Last edited 9/3/2021 5:16:20 AM

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Related Links

Hedy Lamarr website - Hedy Lamarr's official website
Women's National History Museum - Article on Hedy Lamarr written by Colleen Cheslak


Cheslak, Colleen. Hedy Lamarr. [Online] Available

Gaines, Ann. Hedy Lamarr. [Online] Available

Lamarr, Hedy. Hedy Lamarr: Invention of Spread Spectrum Technology. [Online] Available