EXCLUSIVE: It was 104 years ago today that screen legend Hedy Lamarr was born in Vienna beginning a bittersweet, one-of-a-kind life odyssey. The legacy of that unique journey has made Lamarr a figure of fascination in recent months.
Last year the documentary Bombshell: The Hedy Lamar Story (produced by Susan Sarandon) was released to wide acclaim and then this past summer Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot made it clear that her pursuit of a Lamarr project is a front-burner passion project.
Now comes a third effort to capture the mercurial star’s story with the publication of Hedy Lamarr: An Incredible Life, the graphic novel from Humanoids that arrives in stores this week. The graphic novel was written by French documentary filmmaker William Roy and illustrated by Sylvain Dorange.
Deadline has an exclusive excerpt from the graphic novel — a revelatory sequence that depicts Lamarr’s son receiving a phone call from the Electronic Frontier Foundation regarding his mother’s inventions.
Fascinated by science and innovation, Lamarr’s “hobby” as an inventor led her to develop a radio guidance system intended for Allied torpedoes. The spread spectrum and frequency aspects of that work presaged today’s Bluetooth and WiFi technologies. She was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2014 but Lamarr’s pursuits were rarely taken seriously in their time.
Dubbed “the most beautiful woman in the world,” Lamarr often bristled at the way her life was shaped by fame, glamor and sex appeal — all attributes that she valued far less than others did. “Any girl can be glamorous,” she famously observed. “All you have to do is stand still and look stupid.”
She was a sensation during the “Golden Age” of MGM with films such as Algiers, Boom Town, Lady of the Tropics and Tortilla Flat. Lamarr, who had six divorces by age 51, had a wry view of her love life: “I’ve never liked bargains when it came to sex.”
The actress and inventor died in January 2000 at age 85. She was a recluse in her final years. “To be a star is to own the world and all the people in it,” she once said. “After a taste of stardom, everything else is poverty.”
Humanoids is a publisher that dates back to 1974 when it was launched in France as Les Humanoïdes Associés, the book-publishing sister company of Métal Hurlant, the magazine that reached American readers as Heavy Metal (and inspired the namesake 1981 animated movie). Humanoids relocated its headquarters to Los Angeles in 2013.