Saturday, September 17, 2011

Betty Boop

Betty Boop is an animated cartoon character created by Max Fleischer, with help from animators including Grim Natwick.She originally appeared in the Talkartoon and Betty Boop film series, which were produced by Fleischer Studios and released by Paramount Pictures. She has also been featured in comic strips and mass merchandising. Despite having been toned down in the mid-1930s to appear more demure, she became one of the most well-known and popular cartoon characters in the world.


Helen Kane - the original

Betty Boop and Bimbo in Minnie the Moocher (1932)

Betty Boop in Betty Boop's Bamboo Isle (1932)
Betty Boop made her first appearance on August 9, 1930, in the cartoon Dizzy Dishes; the sixth installment in Fleischer's Talkartoon series. Although Clara Bow is often given as being the model for Boop, she actually began as a caricature of singer Helen Kane. The character was originally created as an anthropomorphic French poodle.
Max Fleischer finalized Betty Boop as a human character in 1932, in the cartoon Any Rags. Her floppy poodle ears became hoop earrings, and her black poodle nose became a girl's button-like nose. Betty Boop appeared as a supporting character in 10 cartoons as a flapper girl with more heart than brains. In individual cartoons, she was called "Nancy Lee" or "Nan McGrew" – derived from the 1930 Helen Kane film Dangerous Nan McGrew – usually serving as a girlfriend to studio star, Bimbo.
Betty's voice was first performed by Margie Hines, and was later performed by several different voice actresses, including Kate Wright, Bonnie Poe, Ann Rothschild (aka Little Ann Little), and most notably, Mae Questel. Questel, who began voicing Betty Boop in 1931, continued with the role until her death in 1998. Today, Betty is voiced by Tress MacNeille and Tara Strong in commercials.
Although it has been assumed that Betty's first name was established in the 1931 Screen Songs cartoon, Betty Co-ed, this "Betty" is an entirely different character. Even though the song may have led to Betty's eventual christening, any reference to Betty Co-ed as a Betty Boop vehicle is incorrect although the official Betty Boop website describes the titular character as a "prototype" of Betty. There are at least 12 Screen Songs cartoons that featured Betty Boop or a similar character. Betty appeared in the first "Color Classic" cartoon Poor Cinderella, her only theatrical color appearance in 1934. In the film, she was depicted with red hair as opposed to her typical black hair. Betty also made a cameo appearance in the feature film Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), in which she appeared in her traditional black and white and was voiced by Mae Questel.
Betty Boop was the star of the Talkartoons by 1932 and was given her own series that same year, beginning with Stopping the Show. From that point on, she was crowned "The Queen of the Animated Screen." The series was popular throughout the 1930s, lasting until 1939.

As a sex symbol

Betty Boop is regarded as one of the first and most famous sex symbols on the animated screen. she is a symbol of the Depression era, and a reminder of the more carefree days of Jazz Age flappers. Her popularity was drawn largely from adult audiences, and the cartoons, while seemingly surreal, contained many sexual and psychological elements, particularly in the "Talkartoon," Minnie the Moocher, featuring Cab Calloway and his orchestra.
Minnie the Moocher defined Betty's character as a teenager of a modern era, at odds with the old world ways of her parents. In the cartoon, after a disagreement with her parents, Betty runs away from home, accompanied by her boyfriend Bimbo, only to get lost in a haunted cave. A ghostly walrus (rotoscoped from live-action footage of Calloway), sings Calloway's famous song "Minnie the Moocher", accompanied by several other ghosts and skeletons. This haunting performance sends the frightened Betty and Bimbo back to the safety of home. "Minnie the Moocher" served as a promotion for Calloway's subsequent stage appearances and also established Betty Boop as a cartoon star. The eight Talkartoons that followed all starred Betty, leading her into her own series beginning in 1932. With the release of Stopping the Show (August 1932), the Talkartoons were replaced by the Betty Boop series, which continued for the next seven years.
Bb bamboo isle.mpg.vbr230.81.3to91.theme.ogv
Betty's signature "Pen and Ink" song theme (nine-second clip)
Betty Boop was unique among female cartoon characters because she represented a sexualized woman. Other female cartoon characters of the same period, such as Minnie Mouse, displayed their underwear or bloomers regularly, in the style of childish or comical characters, not a fully defined woman's form. Many other female cartoons were merely clones of their male co-stars, with alterations in costume, the addition of eyelashes, and a female voice. Betty Boop wore short dresses, high heels, a garter, and her breasts were highlighted with a low, contoured bodice that showed cleavage. In her cartoons, male characters frequently try to sneak peeks at her while she's changing or simply going about her business. In Betty Boop's Bamboo Isle, she does the hula wearing nothing but a lei, strategically placed to cover her breasts, and a grass skirt. This was repeated in her first cameo appearance in Popeye the Sailor (1933). There was, however, a certain girlish quality to the character. She was drawn with a head more similar to a baby's than an adult's in proportion to her body. This suggested the combination of girlishness and maturity that many people saw in the flapper type, which Betty represented.
While the character was kept pure and girl-like onscreen, compromises to her virtue were a challenge. The studio's 1931 Christmas card featured Betty in bed with Santa Claus, winking at the viewer. Also in 1931, the Talkartoons The Bum Bandit and Dizzy Red Riding Hood were given distinctly "impure" endings. Officially, Betty was only 16 years old, according to a 1932 interview with Fleischer (although in The Bum Bandit, she's portrayed as a married woman with many children, and also has an adult woman's voice, rather than the standard "boop-boop-a-doop" voice).
Attempts to compromise her virginity were reflected in Chess-Nuts (1932) and most importantly in Boop-Oop-A-Doop (1932). In Chess-Nuts, the Black King goes into the house where Betty is and ties her up. When she rejects him, he pulls her out of the ropes, drags her off to the bedroom and says, "I will have you." The bed, however, runs away and Betty calls for help through the window. Bimbo comes to her rescue, and she is saved before anything happens. In Boop-Oop-A-Doop, Betty is a high-wire performer in a circus. The villainous ringmaster lusts for Betty as he watches her from below, singing "Do Something," a song previously performed by Helen Kane. As Betty returns to her tent, the ringmaster follows her inside and sensually massages her legs, surrounds her, and threatens her job if she doesn't submit. This is perhaps one of the earliest portrayals of sexual harassment on the animated screen, and was very daring at a time when such subject matter was considered taboo. Betty pleads with the ringmaster to cease his advances, as she sings "Don't Take My Boop-Oop-A-Doop Away." Koko the Clown is practicing his juggling outside the tent, and overhears the struggle inside. He leaps in to save Betty, struggling with the ringmaster, who loads him into a cannon and fires it. Koko, who remained hiding inside the cannon, knocks the ringmaster out cold with a mallet, and inquires about Betty's welfare, to which she answers in song, "No, he couldn't take my boop-oop-a-doop away!"

Helen Kane lawsuit

In May 1932, Helen Kane filed a $250,000 infringement lawsuit against Max Fleischer and Paramount Publix Corporation for the "deliberate caricature" that produced "unfair competition", exploiting her personality and image. While Kane had risen to fame in the late 1920s as "The Boop-Oop-A-Doop Girl," a star of stage, recordings, and films for Paramount, her career was nearing its end by 1931. Paramount promoted the development of Betty Boop following Kane's decline. The case was brought in New York in 1934. Although Kane's claims seemed to be valid on the surface, it was proven that her appearance was not unique. Both Kane and the Betty Boop character bore resemblance to Paramount top-star Clara Bow. On April 19, Fleischer testified that Betty Boop purely was a product of the imaginations of himself and detailed by members of his staff.
The most significant evidence against Kane's case was her claim as to the uniqueness of her singing style. Testimony revealed that Kane had witnessed an African American performer, Baby Esther, using a similar vocal style in an act at the Cotton Club nightclub in Harlem, some years earlier. An early test sound film was also discovered, which featured Baby Esther performing in this style, disproving Kane's claims. Supreme Court Judge Edward J. McGoldrick ruled: "The plaintiff has failed to sustain either cause of action by proof of sufficient probative force". In his opinion, the "baby" technique of singing did not originate with Kane.

The Hays Code–safe Betty appears with comic strip character Henry in Betty Boop with Henry, the Funniest Living American (1935)

Under the Production Code

Betty Boop's best appearances are considered to be in her first three years due to her "Jazz Baby" character and innocent sexuality, which was aimed at adults. However, the content of her films was affected by the National Legion of Decency and the Production Code of 1934. The Production Code of 1934 imposed guidelines on the Motion Picture Industry and placed specific restrictions on the content films could reference with sexual innuendos. This greatly affected the content of the films of Mae West at Paramount, as well as the Betty Boop cartoons.
No longer a carefree flapper, from the date the code went into effect on July 1, 1934, Betty became a husbandless housewife/career girl, who wore a fuller dress or skirt. Right from the start, Joseph Breen, the new head film censor, had numerous complaints. The Breen Office ordered the removal of the suggestive introduction, which had started the cartoons because Betty Boop's winks and shaking hips were deemed "suggestive of immorality." For a few entries, Betty was given a boyfriend, "Freddie," who was introduced in She Wronged Him Right (1934). Next, Betty was teamed with a puppy, "Pudgy," beginning with Little Pal (1934). The following year saw the addition of the eccentric inventor Grampy, who debuted in Betty Boop and Grampy (1935).
While these cartoons were tame compared to her earlier appearances, their self-conscious wholesomeness was aimed at a more juvenile audience, which contributed to the decline of the series. Much of the decline was due to the lessening of Betty's role in the cartoons in favor of her co-stars. This was a similar problem experienced during the same period with Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse, who was becoming eclipsed by the popularity of his co-stars Donald Duck, Goofy, and Pluto, not to mention Fleischer's biggest success, Popeye.
Being largely a musical novelty character, the animators attempted to keep Betty's cartoons interesting by pairing her with popular comic strip characters such as Henry, The Little King and Little Jimmy hoping to create an additional spin-off series with her pairing with Popeye in 1933. However, none of these films generated a new series. While the period that Betty represented had been replaced by the big bands of the swing era, Fleischer Studios made an attempt to develop a replacement character in this style, in the 1938 Betty Boop cartoon Betty Boop and Sally Swing, but it was not a success.
The last Betty Boop cartoons were released in 1939, and a few made attempts to bring Betty into the swing era. In her last appearance, Rhythm on the Reservation, (1939). Betty drives an open convertible labeled, "Betty Boop's Swing Band," through a Native American reservation, where she introduces the people to swing music and creates a "Swinging Sioux Band." The Betty Boop cartoon series officially ended with one more 1939 entry, Yip Yip Yippy, which was actually a Boop-less one shot cartoon.

TV and DVD

In 1955, Betty's 110 cartoon appearances were sold to television syndicator UM&M TV Corporation, which was acquired by National Telefilm Associates (NTA) in 1956. NTA was reorganized in the 1980s as Republic Pictures, which is presently a subsidiary of Viacom, the parent company of Paramount. Paramount, Boop's original home studio (via sister company Republic), now acts as a theatrical distributor for the Boop cartoons that they originally released. Television rights are now handled by Trifecta Entertainment & Media, which in 2009 took over from CBS Television Distribution, successor to various related companies, including Worldvision Enterprises, Republic, and NTA.
Betty Boop appeared in two television specials, The Romance of Betty Boop (1985)  and The Betty Boop Movie Mystery (1989) and both specials are available on DVD as part of the Advantage Cartoon Mega Pack. She has made cameo appearances in television commercials and the 1988 feature film Who Framed Roger Rabbit. While television revivals were conceived, nothing has materialized from the plans.
While the animated cartoons of Betty Boop have enjoyed a remarkable rediscovery over the last 30 years, official home video releases have been limited to the VHS and LaserDisc collector's sets in the 1990s. In spite of continued interest, no official DVD releases have occurred to date. (Lionsgate Home Entertainment, under license from Republic, owns the video rights to the Boop cartoons). The only DVDs of the series are ones distributed by budget distributors containing episodes that have fallen into public domain. Ironically, the image of Betty Boop has gained more recognition through the massive merchandising license launched by the heirs of Max Fleischer, with audiences today unaware of Betty's place in cinema and animation history.

Comic strips

The Betty Boop comic strip by Bud Counihan (assisted by Fleischer staffer Hal Seeger) was distributed by King Features Syndicate from 1934 to 1937. From 1984 to 1988, a revival strip with Felix the Cat, Betty Boop and Felix, was produced by Mort Walker's sons Brian, Neal, Greg, and Morgan.

Bud Counihan's Betty Boop (October 23, 1934)

Current status

Betty Boop's films found a new audience when Paramount sold them for syndication in 1955. U.M.&M. and National Telefilm Associates were required to remove the original Paramount logo from the opening and closing as well as any references to Paramount in the copyright line on the main titles. However, the mountain motif remains on some television prints, usually with a U.M.&M. copyright line, while recent versions have circulated with the Paramount-Publix reference in cartoons from 1931.
The original "Betty Boop" cartoons were in black and white. As newer product made for television began to appear, her cartoons were soon retired, particularly with the general proliferation of color television in the 1960s. Betty's film career saw a major revival in the release of "The Betty Boop Scandals of 1974," and became a part of the post 1960s counterculture movement. NTA attempted to capitalize on this with a new syndication package, but there was no market for cartoons in black and white. As an answer, they had them cheaply remade in Korea, but were unable to sell them due largely to sloppy production that belied the quality of the originals. Unable to sell them to television, they assembled a number of the color cartoons in compilation feature titled Betty Boop for President to capitalize on the 1976 election, but it saw no major theatrical release. It resurfaced in 1981 on HBO under the title Hurray for Betty Boop.
It was the advent of home video that created an appreciation for films in their original versions, and Betty was rediscovered again in Beta and VHS versions. The ever expanding cable television industry saw the creation of American Movie Classics, which showcased a selection of the original black and white "Betty Boop" cartoons in the 1990s, which led to an eight volume VHS and LV set, "Betty Boop, the Definitive Collection." To date, no official DVD releases have been made in spite of the tremendous interest. In spite of this, the Internet Archive currently hosts 22 Betty Boop cartoons that are public domain.

A display of Betty Boop collectibles
Marketers rediscovered Betty Boop in the 1980s, and "Betty Boop" merchandise has far outdistanced her exposure in films, with many not aware of her as a cinematic creation. Much of this current merchandise features the character in her popular, sexier form, and has become popular worldwide once again. The 1980s, rapper, Betty Boo (whose voice, image and name were influenced by the cartoon character) rose to popularity in the UK largely due to the "Betty Boop" revival.
There were brief returns to the theatrical screen. In 1988, Betty appeared after a 50 year absence with a cameo in the Academy Award-winning film Who Framed Roger Rabbit. In 1993, producers Steven Paul Leiva ("Space Jam") and Jerry Rees, best known for writing and directing The Brave Little Toaster, began production on a new Betty Boop feature film for The Zanuck Company and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The script by Rees detailed Betty's rise in Hollywood in the Golden Age of Hollywood. It was to be a musical with music and lyrics by jazzman Bennie Wallace. Wallace had completed several songs and seventy-five percent of the film had been storyboarded, when, two weeks before voice recording was to begin with Bernadette Peters as Betty, the head of MGM, Alan Ladd, Jr., was replaced by Frank Mancuso, and the project was abandoned.
Ownership of the Boop cartoons has changed hands over the intervening decades due to a series of corporate mergers, acquisitions and divestitures (mainly involving Republic Pictures and the 2006 corporate split of parent company Viacom into two separate companies). As of 2008, Lions Gate Home Entertainment (under license from Paramount) holds home video rights and Trifecta retains television rights. The "Betty Boop" character and trademark is currently owned by Fleischer Studios, with the merchandising rights licensed to King Features Syndicate.
The Betty Boop series continues to be a favorite of many critics, and the 1933 Betty Boop cartoon Snow White (not to be confused with Disney's 1937 film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs) was selected for preservation by the U.S. Library of Congress in the National Film Registry in 1994. Betty Boop's popularity continues well into present day culture, with references appearing in the comic strip Doonesbury, where the character B.D.'s busty girlfriend/wife is named "Boopsie" and the animated reality TV spoof Drawn Together, where Betty is the inspiration for Toot Braunstein. A Betty Boop musical is in development for Broadway, with music by David Foster.
Betty was parodied on Animaniacs in "Girl With The Googily Goop", with the Boop character called "Googy". The episode, which was made predominantly in black-and-white and has not been released on DVD, is also a parody of Red Riding Hood, with the girl having to go to her grandma's house and ending up being kidnapped.
In 2010, Betty Boop became the official fantasy cheerleader for the upstart United Football League. She will also be featured in merchandise targeted towards the league's female demographic.


Film Original release date
Stopping the Show (with Fanny Brice and Maurice Chevalier) 12 August
Betty Boop's Bizzy Bee 19 August
Betty Boop, M.D. 2 September
Betty Boop's Bamboo Isle (music by Royal Samoans and Miri) 23 September
Betty Boop's Ups and Downs 14 October
Betty Boop for President 4 November
I'll Be Glad When You're Dead You Rascal You (music by Louis Armstrong) 25 November
Betty Boop's Museum 16 December


Film Original release date
Betty Boop's Ker-Choo 6 January
Betty Boop's Crazy Inventions 27 January
Is My Palm Read? 17 February
Betty Boop's Penthouse 10 March
Snow White (music by Cab Calloway) 31 March
Betty Boop's Birthday Party 21 April
Betty Boop's May Party 12 May
Betty Boop's Big Boss 2 June
Mother Goose Land 23 June
Popeye the Sailor 14 July
The Old Man of the Mountain (music by Cab Calloway) 4 August
I Heard (music by Don Redman) 1 September
Morning, Noon and Night (music by Rubinoff) 6 October
Betty Boop's Hallowe'en Party 3 November
Parade of the Wooden Soldiers (music by Rubinoff) 1 December


Film Original release date
She Wronged Him Right 5 January
Red Hot Mamma 2 February
Ha! Ha! Ha! 2 March
Betty in Blunderland 6 April
Betty Boop's Rise to Fame 18 May
Betty Boop's Trial 15 June
Betty Boop's Life Guard 13 July
Poor Cinderella 3 August
There's Something About a Soldier 17 August
Betty Boop's Little Pal 21 September
Betty Boop's Prize Show 19 October
Keep in Style 16 November
When My Ship Comes In 21 December


Film Original release date
Baby Be Good 18 January
Taking the Blame 15 February
Stop That Noise 15 March
Swat the Fly 19 April
No! No! A Thousand Times No!! 24 May
A Little Soap and Water 21 June
A Language All My Own 19 July
Betty Boop and Grampy 16 August
Judge for a Day 20 September
Making Stars 18 October
Henry, the Funniest Living American 22 November
Little Nobody 18 December


Film Original release date
Betty Boop and the Little King 31 January
Not Now 28 February
Betty Boop and Little Jimmy 27 March
We Did It 24 April
A Song A Day! 22 May
More Pep 19 June
You're Not Built That Way 17 July
Happy You and Merry Me 21 August
Training Pigeons 18 September
Grampy's Indoor Outing 16 October
Be Human 20 November
Making Friends 18 December


Film Original release date
House Cleaning Blues 15 January
Whoops! I'm a Cowboy 12 February
The Hot Air Salesman 12 March
Pudgy Takes a Bow-Wow 9 April
Pudgy Picks a Fight! 14 May
The Impractical Joker 18 June
Ding Dong Doggie 23 July
The Candid Candidate 27 August
Service with a Smile 23 September
The New Deal Show 22 October
The Foxy Hunter 26 November
Zula Hula 24 December


Film Original release date
Riding the Rails 28 January
Be Up to Date 25 February
Honest Love and True 25 March
Out of the Inkwell 22 April
The Swing School 27 May
The Lost Kitten 24 June
Buzzy Boop 29 July
Pudgy the Watchman 12 August
Buzzy Boop at the Concert 16 September
Sally Swing 14 October
On With the New 2 December
Thrills and Chills 23 December


Film Original release date
My Friend the Monkey 28 January
So Does an Automobile 31 March
Musical Mountaineers 12 May
The Scared Crows 9 June
Rhythm on the Reservation 7 July
Yip Yip Yippy 11 August

Friday, September 16, 2011

Hedy Lamarr

Hedy Lamarr  November 9, 1913 – January 19, 2000) was an Austrian-American actress who was a major contract star of MGM's "Golden Age".
Lamarr also co-invented – with composer George Antheil – an early technique for spread spectrum communications and frequency hopping, necessary to wireless communication from the pre-computer age to the present day.

Early life

Lamarr was born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler in Vienna, Austria-Hungary, the only child of Jewish parents, Gertrud (née Lichtwitz), a pianist and Budapest native who came from the "Jewish haute bourgeoisie", and Lemberg-born Emil Kiesler, a successful bank director. Her father died in Vienna before the Holocaust, and Lamarr rescued her mother.
She studied ballet and piano at age 10. When she worked with Max Reinhardt in Berlin, he called her the "most beautiful woman in Europe". Soon the teenage girl played major roles in German movies, alongside stars like Heinz Rühmann and Hans Moser.
Lamarr in Come Live With Me (1941)


In early 1933 she starred in Gustav Machatý's notorious film Ecstasy, a Czechoslovak film made in Prague, in which she played the love-hungry young wife of an indifferent old husband. Closeups of her face during orgasm in one scene (rumored to be unsimulated), and full frontal shots of her in another scene, swimming and running nude through the woods, gave the film great notoriety.
On 10 August 1933, aged 19, she married Friedrich Mandl, a Vienna-based arms manufacturer 13 years her senior. In her autobiography Ecstasy and Me, Lamarr described Mandl as an extremely controlling man who sometimes tried to keep her shut up in their mansion. The Austrian bought as many copies of Ecstasy as he could possibly find, objecting to her in the film, and "the expression on her face". (Lamarr in her autobiography, objecting to the rumors about real sex, admitted that her costar had indeed played the scene with her using "method acting reality," but she also stated that the film's director had simulated looks of passion from offscreen by poking her in the bottom with a safety pin.)
Mandl prevented her from pursuing her acting career, and instead took her to meetings with technicians and business partners. In these meetings, the mathematically talented Lamarr learned about military technology. Otherwise she had to stay at their castle home, Schloss Schwarzenau. She later related that, although Mandl was part-Jewish, he consorted with Nazi industrialists. In Ecstasy and Me, Lamarr wrote that Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler attended Mandl's grand parties. She related that in 1937 she disguised herself as one of her maids and fled to Paris, where she obtained a divorce, and then moved to London. According to another version of the episode, she persuaded Mandl to allow her to attend a party wearing all her expensive jewelry, later drugged him with the help of her maid, and made her escape out of the country with the jewelry.


First she went to Paris, then met Louis B. Mayer in London. After he hired her, at his insistence, she changed her name to Hedy Lamarr, choosing the surname in homage to a beautiful film star of the silent era, Barbara La Marr, who had died in 1926 from tuberculosis.
In Hollywood, she was usually cast as glamorous and seductive. Her American debut was in Algiers (1938). Her many films include Boom Town (1940), White Cargo (1942), and Tortilla Flat (1942), based on the novel by John Steinbeck. White Cargo, one of Lamarr's biggest hits at MGM, contains arguably her most famous film quote, "Tondelayo make tiffin". In 1941, she was cast alongside two other Hollywood beauties, Lana Turner and Judy Garland in the musical extravaganza Ziegfeld Girl.
Lamarr made 18 films from 1940 to 1949 even though she had two children during that time (in 1945 and 1947). After leaving MGM in 1945, she enjoyed her biggest success as Delilah in Cecil B. DeMille's Samson and Delilah, the highest-grossing film of 1949, with Victor Mature as the Biblical strongman. However, following her comedic turn opposite Bob Hope in My Favorite Spy (1951), her career went into decline. She appeared only sporadically in films after 1950, one of her last roles being that of Joan of Arc in Irwin Allen's critically panned epic The Story of Mankind (1957).
Lamarr in The Conspirators (1944)
The publication of her autobiography Ecstasy and Me (1967) took place about a year after accusations of shoplifting, and a year after Andy Warhol's short film Hedy (1966), also known as The Shoplifter. The shoplifting charges coincided with a failed return to the screen in Picture Mommy Dead (1966). The role was ultimately filled by Zsa Zsa Gabor. Ecstasy and Me begins in a despondent mood, with this reference:
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.

Frequency-hopping spread-spectrum invention

Avant garde composer George Antheil, a son of German immigrants and neighbor of Lamarr, had experimented with automated control of musical instruments, including his music for Ballet Mécanique, originally written for Fernand Léger's 1924 abstract film. This score involved multiple player pianos playing simultaneously.
Lamarr took her idea to Antheil and together, Antheil and Lamarr submitted the idea of a secret communication system in June 1941. On August 11, 1942, US Patent 2,292,387 was granted to Antheil and "Hedy Kiesler Markey", Lamarr's married name at the time. This early version of frequency hopping used a piano roll to change between 88 frequencies and was intended to make radio-guided torpedoes harder for enemies to detect or jam. Although a presentation of the technique was soon made to the U.S. Navy, it met with opposition and was not adopted.
The idea was not implemented in the USA until 1962, when it was used by U.S. military ships during a blockade of Cuba after the patent had expired. Perhaps owing to this lag in development, the patent was little-known until 1997, when the Electronic Frontier Foundation gave Lamarr an award for this contribution. It is reported that, in 1998, Ottawa wireless technology developer Wi-LAN, Inc. "acquired a 49 percent claim to the patent from Lamarr for an undisclosed amount of stock" (Eliza Schmidkunz, Inside GNSS), although expired patents have no economic value. Antheil had died in 1959.
Lamarr's and Antheil's frequency-hopping idea serves as a basis for modern spread-spectrum communication technology, such as COFDM used in Wi-Fi network connections and CDMA used in some cordless and wireless telephones. Blackwell, Martin, and Vernam's 1920 patent Secrecy Communication System (1598673) seems to lay the communications groundwork for Kiesler and Antheil's patent which employed the techniques in the autonomous control of torpedoes.
Lamarr wanted to join the National Inventors Council, but was reportedly told by NIC member Charles F. Kettering and others that she could better help the war effort by using her celebrity status to sell War Bonds. She once raised $7,000,000 at just one event.
For several years during the 1990s, the boxes of CorelDRAW's software suites were graced by a large Corel-drawn image of Hedy Lamarr, in tribute to her pre-computer scientific discoveries. These pictures were winners in CorelDRAW's yearly software suite cover design contests. Far from being flattered, however, Lamarr sued Corel for using the image without her permission. Corel countered that she did not own rights to the image. They reached an undisclosed settlement in 1999.

Later years

In the ensuing years, Lamarr retreated from public life, and settled in Florida.
For her contribution to the motion picture industry, Hedy Lamarr has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6247 Hollywood Blvd.

Personal life

Lamarr became a naturalized citizen of the United States on April 10, 1953.

Marriages and romances

She was briefly engaged to German actor Fred Doederlein, and later actor George Montgomery in 1942.
Lamarr was married to:
  • Friedrich Mandl (1900–1977), married 1933–1937; chairman of Hirtenberger Patronen-Fabrik, a leading armaments firm founded by his father, Alexander Mandl. Mandl, partially of Jewish descent, was a supporter of Austrofascism, although not Nazism.
  • Gene Markey (1895–1980), screenwriter and producer, married 1939–1941; son (adopted in 1941, after their divorce), James Lamarr Markey (b. 1939). When Lamarr and Markey divorced – she said they had only spent four evenings alone together in their marriage – the judge advised her to get to know any future husband longer than the four weeks she had known Markey.
  • John Loder (born John Muir Lowe, 1898–1988), actor, married 1943–47; two children: Anthony Loder (b. 1947) and Denise Loder (b. 1945). Loder adopted Hedy's son, James Lamarr Markey, and gave him his surname. James Lamarr Loder later challenged Hedy Lamarr's will in 2000, which did not mention him. He later dropped his suit against the estate in exchange for a reported lump-sum payment of $50,000. Anthony Loder is featured in the European documentary film Calling Hedy Lamarr (2004).
  • Ernest "Ted" Stauffer (1909–1991), nightclub owner, restaurateur, and former bandleader, married 1951–1952.
  • W. Howard Lee (1909–1981), a Texas oilman, married 1953–1960. In 1960, he later married film star Gene Tierney.
  • Lewis J. Boies (b. 1920), a lawyer (her divorce lawyer), married 1963–1965.


In 1965 Lamarr was arrested for shoplifting in Los Angeles; the charges were eventually dropped. In 1991 she was arrested on the same charge in Florida, this time for $21.48 worth of laxatives and eye drops. She pleaded "no contest" to avoid a court appearance, and in return for a promise to refrain from breaking any laws for a year, the charges were once again dropped.
According to her autobiography, Ecstasy and Me (1966), once while running away from Friedrich Mandl, she slipped into a brothel and hid in an empty room. While her husband searched the brothel, a man entered the room and she had sex with him so she could remain hidden. She was finally successful in escaping when she hired a new maid who resembled her; she drugged the maid and used her uniform as a disguise to escape. Lamarr later sued the publisher, saying that many of the anecdotes in the book, which was described by a judge as "filthy, nauseating, and revolting", were fabricated by its ghost writer, Leo Guild.
In an interview included in the DVD release of Blazing Saddles (1974), Mel Brooks says that Hedy Lamarr threatened to sue the producers. He says she believed the film's running "Hedley Lamarr" joke infringed her right of publicity. In one scene, Brooks' character tells Hedley Lamarr, "This is 1874 – you'll be able to sue her!" Brooks said they settled out of court for a small sum.


John Hodiak and Lamarr in A Lady Without Passport (1950)
Lamarr died in Casselberry, Florida on January 19, 2000, aged 86, from natural causes. Her son Anthony Loder took her ashes to Austria and spread them in the Vienna Woods, in accordance with her last wishes.


A date with Hedy Lamarr is one of the promises Audrey II tempts Seymour with in the musical Little Shop of Horrors.
Hedy Lamarr is referenced in the film Blazing Saddles on a number of occasions.
In 2003, the Boeing corporation ran a series of recruitment ads featuring Hedy Lamarr as a woman of science. No reference to her film career was made in the ads.
In 2004, the game Half-Life 2, which contains many references to important names, situations and facts in science, made an homage to Lamarr, giving the name Lamarr to Dr. Kleiner's pet headcrab. Later on in the game, Kleiner specifically refers to the pet as "Hedy".
In 2005, the first Inventor's Day in German-speaking countries was held in her honor on November 9, on what would have been her 92nd birthday.
The 2010 New York Public Library's exhibit: “Thirty Years of Photography at the New York Public Library” includes a photo of topless Lamarr (ca. 1930) by Austrian-born American photographer Trude Fleischmann.


Das Geld liegt auf der Straße (Money on the Street, 1930)
Die Frau von Lindenau (Storm in a Water Glass, 1931)
Die Abenteuer des Herrn O. F. (The Adventures of Mr. O. F., 1931)
Man braucht kein Geld (We Need No Money, 1932)
Ekstase / Symphonie der Liebe (Ecstasy, 1933)
Algiers (1938) (download or play it)
Hollywood Goes to Town (1938) (short subject)
Screen Snapshots: Stars at a Charity Ball (1939) (short subject)
Lady of the Tropics (1939)
I Take This Woman (1940)
Boom Town (1940)
Comrade X (1940)
Come Live With Me (1941)
Ziegfeld Girl (1941)
H.M. Pulham, Esq. (1941)
Tortilla Flat (1942)
Crossroads (1942)
White Cargo (1942)

Show Business at War (1943) (short subject)
The Heavenly Body (1944)
The Conspirators (1944)
Experiment Perilous (1944)
Her Highness and the Bellboy (1945)
The Strange Woman (1946)
Dishonored Lady (1947)
Let's Live a Little (1948)
Samson and Delilah (1949)
A Lady Without Passport (1950)
Copper Canyon (1950)
My Favorite Spy (1951)
The Eternal Female (1954) (unfinished)
Loves of Three Queens (1954)
The Story of Mankind (1957)
The Female Animal (1958)
Instant Karma (1990) [archive footage]