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AMERICAN MASTERS: Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story

Hedy Lamarr in crown on stars in film "Ziegfeld Girl," 1941.
Courtesy of Everett Collection
Hedy Lamarr in crown on stars in film "Ziegfeld Girl," 1941.

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Features previously unheard audio tapes of Hedy Lamarr detailing her accomplishments as an inventor

Hollywood star Hedy Lamarr (“Ziegfeld Girl,” “Samson and Delilah”) was known as the world’s most beautiful woman – Snow White and Cat Woman were both based on her iconic look.

However, her arresting appearance and glamorous life stood in the way of her being given the credit she deserved as an ingenious inventor whose pioneering work helped revolutionize modern communication.

An Austrian Jewish emigrant who invented a covert communication system to try to help defeat the Nazis, Lamarr was ignored and told to sell kisses for war bonds instead.

It was only toward the very end of her life that tech pioneers discovered that it was her concept that is now used as the basis for secure WiFi, GPS and Bluetooth technologies.

The new documentary, “Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story” explores how Lamarr’s true legacy is that of a technological trailblazer. The film premieres nationwide May 18, 2018 on PBS.

Lamarr never publicly talked about her life as an inventor and so her family thought her story died when she did.

However, in 2016, director Alexandra Dean and producer Adam Haggiag unearthed four never-before-heard audio tapes of Lamarr speaking on the record about her incredible life, finally giving her the chance to tell her own story.

Family, friends and colleagues, including Mel Brooks and the late Robert Osborne, also share their personal memories of Lamarr, explaining the atmosphere that created the disconnect between her brilliance and her beauty.

“Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story” world premiered at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival, earned multiple awards at film festivals and was named Best Documentary by the New York Film Critics Online.

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Credits:

A production of Reframed Pictures in association with American Masters Pictures for WNET, Submarine Entertainment, and Artemis Rising. Alexandra Dean is director. Adam Haggiag, Katherine Drew and Alexandra Dean are producers. Susan Sarandon, Michael Kantor and Regina Scully are executive producers. Michael Kantor is AMERICAN MASTERS series executive producer.