An object of desire, a celebrated world star, a unrecognized inventor. Hedy Lamarr had many facets. Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler was born into a middle-class family in Vienna in 1914. Her father was a bank manager with roots in Lviv, her mother a trained concert pianist from Budapest – a typical Viennese family of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, if you will. Her acting talent was encouraged early on and she didn't have to wait long for her first big success with the film "Ecstasy". At 19 years of age, she filmed her first nude scene and the first female orgasm in movie history. What a scandal! But it had no effect on Hedy's career. She was more sought-after than ever before and after a failed marriage to the Viennese arms maker Fritz Mandl found herself in the glittering Hollywood of the late 1930s.
From Femme fatale to Femme géniale
A new life began for Hedy in America in 1937. From then on, she called herself Hedy Lamarr and rose quickly from newcomer to movie diva. The "world's most beautiful woman" made movies with Hollywood greats such as Clark Gable and Jimmy Stewart and became an acting and style icon. Yet Hedy's talent was not restricted to the stage alone. For example, she developed the frequency-hopping method together with the composer George Antheil. A technology that would make it possible for the American military to make radio signals invisible to torpedo control systems. Ingenious! In 1942, Antheil and Lamarr received the patent with number 2292387 and gave it to the US Navy, which, however, didn’t recognize this ingenious technology and left it to vanish in a drawer. Only many years later was this groundbreaking invention finally given the attention it deserved. The frequency-hopping method is still in use today and formed the basis for GPS, WiFi, Bluetooth and other systems. However, as Hedy had let the patent expire, the two inventors never earned a cent with their technology.
The exhibition in the Museum Judenplatz deals with the multifaceted life of Hedy Lamarr as an actress and inventor, and pays particular attention to her years in Vienna and Berlin.
By the way: her birth city Vienna has remembered the brilliant movie diva since 2018 with its own science prize. The Hedy Lamarr prize, which comes with €10,000, is awarded annually to innovative women in the IT industry.
Lady Bluetooth. Hedy Lamarr
November 27, 2019 – May 10, 2020
Judenplatz Museum Misrachi HouseJudenplatz 8, 1010 Wien
- Tickets offer admission to the Judenplatz Museum and Jewish Museum
- Your benefit with the Vienna City Card: 17% off , 2€ off
- Mo, 10:00 - 18:00
- Tu, 10:00 - 18:00
- We, 10:00 - 18:00
- Th, 10:00 - 18:00
- Fr, 10:00 - 14:00
- Su, 10:00 - 18:00
- During summertime Fr, 10:00 - 17:00
- no steps
- Wheelchair accessible restroom available.
Special offers for people with disabilities
Discounted entry for people with disabilities 8 Euro (1 companion free) and people with social pass/mobility pass (photographic ID required).
Exhibition rooms: no steps, synagogue excavation not wheelchair-accessible.
- Main entrance