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Hedy Lamarr, inventor

'Bombshell' shatters myth around Wi-Fi inventor Hedy Lamarr

Hedy Lamarr made your smartphone possible.

You might know her as the "most beautiful woman in the world," a tag she always hated. Lamarr got her start in a 1933 Czech movie called "Ecstasy." Then, she struck out for America, where she starred in "Tortilla Flat," "Samson and Delilah" and other movies made during Hollywood's Golden Age.

But Lamarr found Tinseltown shallow. She avoided parties, noodling instead on drafting boards she had installed at home. She improved the design of traffic lights, invented a tablet that dissolved into a soft drink, and reimagined the wings of a fuel-efficient plane for Howard Hughes. Her most enduring invention: a form of frequency hopping that was the forerunner of Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and GPS, all of which sit in your phone.

You didn't know that, did you?

"When we close our eyes, we don't see a female inventor. We see Thomas Edison," says Alexandra Dean, explaining why she chose to direct "Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story," a new documentary on Lamarr's life. "This actress had done this groundbreaking invention and never been recognised."
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