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A more in-depth look at her life would certainly include other notorious or news-worthy events and achievements.
The movie was publically denounced by Pope Pius XII and banned in the United States untilafter which it was only shown in art houses, though it continued to be banned in some states. While it is well-known that Hedy fled Austria in order to break out of the grip of her overly-controlling first-husband, the very wealthy arms manufacturer not to mention fascist sympathizer Fritz Mandl, the circumstances of her escape are apocryphal, though colorful to the point of scandalous. The year-old married Mandl, 13 years her senior, in August, The most likely story, however, is that she simply persuaded Mandl to allow her to wear her most expensive jewelry to a party and escaped from there, catching a late train from Vienna to Paris.
Regardless of the details, after moving on from Paris to London and living off the jewelry Mandl had perhaps imprudently given to his much younger and discontent wife, Hedy was introduced to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film producer and Hollywood mogul Louis B. She became a naturalized citizen of the United States on April 10, Her Hollywood career is well-known to fans of classic cinema, her personal life, somewhat less.
She was arguably not an especially gifted actress, but her unparalleled beauty, even in an industry overflowing with beautiful actresses, brought her considerable fame. She was a star in an era of great stars. Still, her movie career was relatively short, and by the late s she was no longer appearing in major films. She also failed to gain recognition for her talents as an inventor, at least until the last few years of her life. After six failed marriages, fortunes gained and lost, film stardom and obscurity, as well as a couple of minor run-ins with the law, she ended her days living a modest existence in central Florida, unrecognizable to even her greatest fans as the one-time Most Beautiful Woman in the World.
She died January 19, While it might be a problem most of us wish we had, celebrities are usually defined not by how they view themselves or their achievements, but by a public that has rarely if ever met them in person and knows them only in the most superficial way. Who they are slips out of their hands and becomes more a matter of who people think they are. But there did come a time when, of the many roles she had played in her very public life, Hedy could decide for herself which one she held dearest, how she wanted to be remembered, if only to herself.
She stands on a dirt path with the woods in the background. Her father, from a family of humble origin in Lemberg a town in a distant part of the Empire, now the city of Lviv in Ukrainewas a successful bank director in Vienna, prosperous enough to provide his family with a secure and comfortable life even during the post- World War I global depression. By the time she was ten, she was a proficient pianist and dancer and could speak four languages.
In that transition, Hedy left behind a life in which she was fortunate enough to have been raised in a family that could buy her virtually anything she desired. But like many people who find themselves able to afford anything they want, she may have ended up valuing most the one thing she could not so easily get. Her father, although completely devoted to his only child, was also a successful banker with limited time available for his intelligent and inquisitive daughter.
The Kieslers were also active in the Vienna social scene, so young Hedy may have spent many late nights waiting for her parents to arrive home from the balls and concerts that typified Viennese life. Somewhere there must be a man who could be my husband and not feel inferior. I need a superior inferior man. She spoke of her father spending hours by the fireside telling her fairytales. Even as a small child, she already showed an interest in technology and recalled taking long walks with her father while he explained how different machines worked.
This probably laid the foundation for her future interest in technology and invention. Given the location of the Kiesler family house, no doubt many of those long walks were through the woods near her home. Historians, biographers, movie fans, and admirers of celebrity may define Hedy Lamarr in whatever manner they wish, but it would seem that in the end she chose to define herself as the confident, precocious young girl in the white dress. She could have tried to focus attention on her scientific achievements and much-delayed recognition.
Instead, her last wish was to have her remains scattered in the place where she had spent what may have been the happiest days of her life, confident and secure, a free-spirit with a future of infinite possibilities, walking through the Vienna Woods with the father she adored and who adored her in return.
After a lifetime that included the sort of celebrity and notoriety few achieve, in the end it would seem what she wanted most was simply to come home. Current Travel Information. Jewish News from Austria. Austrian Information Magazine. Foreign Policy Press Desk. The Ambassador. About the Chancery. Former Ambassadors to the U. Press Inquiries. Contact the Embassy. Consular Services. Austria in USA. Consulates General. Honorary Consulates. Cultural Fora. Academic Centers. Open Austria - Silicon Valley. Advantage Austria. Meet the Consul.
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