Hedy Lamarr would have turned 101 on Monday, and Google celebrated by animating the Hollywood star, who should be remembered for more than her acting or beauty.
Born as Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler in Vienna, Austria, the starlet got her start in the American movie business after fleeing from her husband to Paris, where MGM head Louis B. Mayer offered her a contract. But as the video shows people visiting Google.com today, the actress has bigger credits to her name, like that smart phone you’re probably reading this article on.
For starters, Lamarr helped invent military technology that also laid the foundation for wireless communications.
TheWrap takes a look at five reasons why Lamarr is still cool 15 years after her death at the age of 85 in 2000.
1. Her Film Career
She filmed the 1933 Czech film “Ecstasy” when she was just 18, which was highly controversial for its sex scenes. She is also known for Oscar-honored films like “Samson and Delilah” (1949), “Dishonored Lady” (1947) and “Algiers” (1938). “Samson and Delilah” was the highest-grossing film of 1949.
2. Her Invention
Lamarr was determined to create an invention that would defeat Hitler during World War II, and teamed up with her California neighbor, composer George Antheil, to create a “frequency-hopping system,” so that radio-guided torpedoes could go undetected and be protected from broadcast interference. She patented her invention in 1942, but the U.S. military only started using this technology during the Cuban Missile Crisis. More importantly for the average American, the invention served as the basis for spread-spectrum communication technology, such as GPS and Bluetooth.
3. Her Induction Into the National Inventors Hall of Fame
A century after Lamarr’s birth, she was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in Alexandria, Virginia. “Although Lamarr and Antheil never profited from their invention during their lifetime, it was acknowledged by the Electronic Frontier Foundation in 1997 as an important development in wireless communications,” the Hall of Fame website says.
4. Her Other Inventions
At the beginning of the war, Lamarr decided to use her celebrity status to sell war bonds. She also invented an improved traffic stoplight and a tablet that would dissolve in water to create a carbonated drink, which was unsuccessful as she herself said it tasted like Alka-Seltzer.
5. She Was Considered “The Most Beautiful Woman in Europe”
Director Max Reinhardt called her “the most beautiful woman in Europe,” a sentiment shared by audiences as they watched her light up the silver screen opposite stars Clark Cable, Charles Boyer, Spencer Tracy and Judy Garland between 1938 and 1958.
Happy 101th birthday, Hedy Lamarr!