Beautiful: The Life of Hedy Lamarr

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Macmillan, Sep 28, 2010 - Biography & Autobiography - 480 pages

The Surprising Story of Hedy Lamarr, "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World"

As a teenage actress in 1920s Austria, performing on the stage and in film in light comedies and musicals, Hedy Kiesler, with her exotic beauty, was heralded across Europe by her mentor, Max Reinhardt. However, it was her nude scene, and surprising dramatic ability, in Ecstasy that made her a star. Ecstasy's notoriety followed her for the rest of her life. She married one of Austria's most successful and wealthy munitions barons, giving up her career for what seemed at first a fairy-tale existence. Instead, as war clouds loomed in the mid-1930s, Hedy discovered that she was trapped in a loveless marriage to a controlling, ruthless man who befriended Mussolini, sold armaments to Hitler, yet hid his own Jewish heritage to become an "honorary Aryan."

She fled her husband and escaped to Hollywood, where M-G-M changed her name to Hedy Lamarr and she became one of film's most glamorous stars. She worked with such renowned directors as King Vidor, Victor Fleming, and Cecil B. DeMille, and appeared opposite such respected actors as Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, John Garfield, and James Stewart. But as her career waned, her personal problems and legal wranglings cast lingering shadows over her former image. It wasn't until decades later that the world was stunned to learn of her unexpected role as the inventor of a technology that has become an essential part of everything from military weaponry to cell phones—proof that Hedy Lamarr was far more than merely Delilah to Victor Mature's Samson. She demonstrated a creativity and an intelligence she had always possessed.
Stephen Michael Shearer's in-depth and meticulously researched biography, written with the cooperation of Hedy's children, intimate friends, and colleagues, separates the truths from the rumors, the facts from the fables, about Hedy Lamarr, to reveal the life and character of one of classic Hollywood's most beautiful and remarkable women.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - knahs - LibraryThing

Well done bio of screen beauty, Hedy Lamarr. What I liked is that the author did include quotes from Lamarr's children as well as those who knew or worked with her. A good deal of research was done ... Read full review

BEAUTIFUL: The Life of Hedy Lamarr

User Review  - Kirkus

In this proficient biography of the sultry, litigious Hollywood star, Las Vegas Review-Journal writer Shearer (Patricia Neal, 2006) takes pains to render a fair reevaluation of her acting.Exotically ... Read full review

Contents

Foreword by Robert Osborne Introduction
Austria
Reinhardt
Ecstasy
Mandl
Hollywood
Stardom
Glamour
Paramount
Adrift
Italy
Television
Purgatory
Scandal
Seclusion
Legacy

Discovery
Career
Actress
Battle
Marriage
Independence
Producer
Delilah
Epilogue
Appendix
Bibliography
Acknowledgments
Endnotes
Index
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

STEPHEN MICHAEL SHEARER is the author of Patricia Neal: An Unquiet Life. He has written for the Las Vegas Review-Journal and is also a former model and actor, having appeared on stage, television, and in film. Shearer currently resides in Minnesota and New York City.

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