Skip to main content

View Diary: The Morning F Bomb (87 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  Her bio reads like a movie script (11+ / 0-)
    Lamarr was born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler in Vienna, Austria-Hungary, the only child of secular Jewish parents. Her mother, Gertrud (born Lichtwitz), was a pianist and Budapest native who came from the "Jewish haute bourgeoisie," and her father, Lemberg-born Emil Kiesler, was a successful bank director.

    She learned ballet and piano at age 10.

    In early 1933 Lamarr starred in Gustav Machatý's film, Ecstasy, (Extase in German and Czech), which was filmed in Prague, Czechoslovakia. Lamarr’s role was that of a neglected young wife married to an indifferent older man. The film became notorious for Lamarr’s face in the throes of orgasm filmed in close-up and her full nudity in scenes where she is seen swimming and running through the woods.[ Friedrich Mandl, her first husband, objected to what he felt was exploitation of his wife, and “the expression on her face” during the simulated orgasm. He purportedly bought up as many copies of Ecstasy as he could find in an attempt to restrict its public viewing. In an autobiography of Lamarr written in later years, she insists that all sexual activity in the film was simulated; the orgasm achieved using "method acting reality.” The authenticity of passion was attained by the film director’s off-screen manipulation of a safety pin strategically poking her bottom.

    The 19-year old Lamarr had married Mandl, a man 13 years her senior on August 10, 1933. Friedrich Mandl, reputed to be the third richest man in Austria was a munitions manufacturer. In her autobiography Ecstasy and Me, Lamarr described Mandl as an extremely controlling man who prevented her from pursuing her acting career and kept her a virtual prisoner, confined to their castle home, “Schloss Schwarzenau.” Though half-Jewish, Mandl had close social and business ties to the fascist governments of Italy and Germany, selling munitions to Mussolini. In Ecstasy and Me, Lamarr wrote that both Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini attended the lavish parties they hosted in their home. Mandl had Lamarr accompany him to business meetings where he conferred with scientists and other professionals involved in military technology. These conferences became Lamarr’s introduction to the field of applied science and the ground that nurtured her latent talent in the scientific field.

    Lamarr’s marriage to Mandl became insupportable for her and she devised a ruse to separate herself from both the marriage and the country. In Ecstasy and Me, she claimed to have disguised herself as her own maid and fled to Paris. Rumors stated that Lamarr persuaded Mandl to let her wear all of her jewelry for a dinner, then disappeared.
    First she went to Paris, then met Louis B. Mayer in London. Mayer hired her and insisted that she change her name to Hedy Lamarr—she had been known as "the Ecstasy lady"—choosing the surname in homage to a beautiful film star of the silent era, Barbara La Marr, who had died in 1926 from tuberculosis.

    If cats could blog, they wouldn't

    by crystal eyes on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 07:52:35 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site