Beautiful: The Life of Hedy Lamarr

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Overview

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...

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Beautiful: The Life of Hedy Lamarr

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Overview

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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Editorial Reviews

Molly Haskell
The author of a biography of Patricia Neal, Shearer is steeped in Hollywood history and context; he provides the nuts, bolts and by-ways of production, and a sympathetic account of Lamarr's later life and friends.
—The New York Times
From the Publisher

“Providing probing and detailed coverage of her five marriages, children, various lawsuits, radio roles and shoplifting headlines, Shearer has combined extensive archival research with insightful interview quotes. The result is a fascinating biography that recreates Hollywood’s Golden Age of Glamour.”--Publishers Weekly

"Much more than a standard Hollywood biography."--Edge Magazine

"In Beautiful, Mr. Shearer writes with humor and has fun with some of the glorious nonsense of Lamarr's movies."--Jeanine Basinger, The Wall Street Journal

"Extensively researched and filled with such nuggets, this is the ultimate biography on the screen legend."--Indulge Magazine

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781250041838
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 10/8/2013
  • Pages: 512
  • Sales rank: 279,421
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen Michael Shearer

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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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    A WONDERFUL AND MOST BEAUTIFUL WOMAN OF THE 20TH CENTURY

    HISTORY OF A BRIGHT AND SHINING STAR. SHE LED AN EXCITING AND FULFILLING LIFE TOLD BY MICHAEL SHEARER. A MUST READ ANAVIDREADERJP

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 30, 2010

    A MUST-READ FOR HEDY LAMARR FANS.......AND ALL WHO ENJOY BIOGRAPHIES

    STEPHEN SHEARER DID A WONDERFUL JOB IN HIS RESEARCH & WRITING OF THIS BOOK. KNOWING HEDY, AS I DID, FOR OVER 20 YEARS, IT IS A VERY ACCURATE ACCOUNT OF HER LIFE. A MUST-READ BOOK......ARLENE ROXBURY

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 22, 2010

    "Wonderful and well researched book"

    What a wonderful and well researched book. For an older person, I found the text easy to read. This is a "Beautiful" book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted March 28, 2014

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    Posted February 3, 2011

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    Posted April 17, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews

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