Beauty of Reason: Hedy Lamarr

Hope your new year has been fabulous! 🙂 Today, I am introducing Beauty of Reason, a new section of the blog for the recognition of the phenomenal lives of beauties known not only for their looks, but also their intellectual pursuits. In this profile, let us admire Hedy Lamarr, actress and inventor.

Screen siren

Hedy Lamarr was born Hedwig Eva Kiesler on November 9, 1914 in Vienna, Austria. She starred in her first film at age 17 and worked on German and Czechoslavakian productions until the 1933 German film Exstase (Ecstasy) brought her to the attention of Hollywood producers. She signed a contract with MGM, officially changed her name to Hedy Lamarr, and starred in her first Hollywood film, Algiers (1938), opposite Charles Boyer. Often called “The Most Beautiful Woman in Films,” Lamarr’s femme fatale persona and sensual screen presence made her one of the most popular actresses of her day. She starred in films such as White Cargo (1942), Cecil B. DeMille’s Samson and Delilah (1949), and The Female Animal (1958).

Clip from CBS

Secret pioneer

In addition to her illustrious film career, Lamarr had a secret hobby: inventing. She was greatly encouraged to pursue this endeavour by airplane designer Howard Hughes, who once wanted to make his planes the fastest in the world. Lamarr deduced that the wings were too square, then analysed the structures of the fastest fish and birds to arrive at a new kind of wing shape. He thereafter provided her with equipment to run experiments in her trailer in between takes. At home, she had a room set aside for tinkering, complete with tools and a wall of engineering books.

Clip from
Vanity Fair

Lamarr also worked with Hollywood composer George Antheil on an idea that is considered an important development in the field of wireless communications. In 1942, they patented what they called the “Secret Communication System” and donated it it to the U.S. Navy to help with World War II efforts. The revolutionary “frequency hopping” technology was designed to solve the problem of enemies detecting and blocking signals from radio-controlled missiles: since multiple radio frequencies were used to broadcast a radio signal, by switching frequencies at split-second intervals in a seemingly random manner, only the sender and intended receiver could hop frequencies at the same time and get a clear signal; anyone else listening would hear mere noise. Lamarr and Antheil never profited from their invention during their lifetime and the enormous significance of their invention was not realised until the patent resurfaced in the late 1950s, while private companies were developing a wireless technology called CDMA. Their method is still in use today in modern wireless communications: mobile networks, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and GPS — a legacy that far surpasses that of her films.

Quotes to inspire

“The world isn’t getting any easier. With all these new inventions, I believe that people are hurried more and pushed more… The hurried way is not the right way; you need time for everything – time to work, time to play, time to rest.”

“A good painting to me has always been like a friend. It keeps me company, comforts and inspires.”

“Men are most virile and attractive between the ages of 35 and 55. Under 35, a man has too much to learn – and I don’t have time to teach him.”

“Every girl would like to marry a rich husband. I did twice. But what divides girls into two groups is this question – do you first think of money and then love, or vice versa?”

“Perhaps my problem in marriage – and it is the problem of many women – was to want both intimacy and independence. It is a difficult line to walk, yet both needs are important to a marriage.”

Learn more about Hedy Lamarr:

Did you like this blog post? You can thank Hedy Lamarr for it 😉 Let me know what you think in the comments below! 🙂


7 poems about beauty

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Hair and makeup by Fabiana

Happy Valentine’s Day! What better way to celebrate this day of love than by enjoying some beautifully written poems about beauty – sought after, beheld, and admired! ♥

1. “Seeking Beauty” by William Henry Davies

Cold winds can never freeze, nor thunder sour
The cup of cheer that Beauty draws for me
Out of those Azure heavens and this green earth—
I drink and drink, and thirst the more I see.

To see the dewdrops thrill the blades of grass,
Makes my whole body shake; for here’s my choice
Of either sun or shade, and both are green—
A Chaffinch laughs in his melodious voice.

The banks are stormed by Speedwell, that blue flower
So like a little heaven with one star out;
I see an amber lake of buttercups,
And Hawthorn foams the hedges round about.

The old Oak tree looks now so green and young,
That even swallows perch awhile and sing:
This is that time of year, so sweet and warm,
When bats wait not for stars ere they take wing.

As long as I love Beauty I am young,
Am young or old as I love more or less;
When Beauty is not heeded or seems stale,
My life’s a cheat, let Death end my distress.

2. “The Sovereign Beauty” (Sonnet III from Amoretti) by Edmund Spenser

The sovereign beauty which I do admire,
Witness the world how worthy to be praised!
The light whereof hath kindled heavenly fire
In my frail spirit, by her from baseness raised;
That being now with her huge brightness dazed,
Base thing I can no more endure to view:
But looking still on her, I stand amazed
At wondrous sight of so celestial hue.
So when my tongue would speak her praises due,
It stopped is with thought’s astonishment:
And when my pen would write her titles true,
It ravish’d is with fancy’s wonderment:

Yet in my heart I then both speak and write
The wonder that my wit cannot endite.

3. “There be none of Beauty’s daughters” by Lord Byron

There be none of Beauty’s daughters
With a magic like Thee;
And like music on the waters
Is thy sweet voice to me:
When, as if its sound were causing
The charmèd ocean’s pausing,
The waves lie still and gleaming,
And the lull’d winds seem dreaming:
And the midnight moon is weaving
Her bright chain o’er the deep,
Whose breast is gently heaving
As an infant’s asleep:
So the spirit bows before thee
To listen and adore thee;
With a full but soft emotion,
Like the swell of Summer’s ocean.


4. “Sonnet IV” by Michael Drayton

Bright star of beauty, on whose eyelids sit
A thousand nymph-like and enamour’d Graces,
The Goddesses of Memory and Wit,
Which there in order take their several places;
In whose dear bosom sweet delicious Love
Lays down his quiver, which he once did bear,
Since he that blessed Paradise did prove,
And leaves his mother’s lap to sport him there.
Let others strive to entertain with words;
My soul is of a braver metal made;
I hold that vile which vulgar wit affords;
In me’s that faith which Time cannot invade.
Let what I praise be still made good by you;
Be you most worthy, whilst I am most true.

5. “Soul’s Beauty” by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Under the arch of Life, where love and death,
Terror and mystery, guard her shrine, I saw
Beauty enthroned; and though her gaze struck awe,
I drew it in as simply as my breath.
Hers are the eyes which, over and beneath,
The sky and sea bend on thee,—which can draw,
By sea or sky or woman, to one law,
The allotted bondman of her palm and wreath.

This is that Lady Beauty, in whose praise
Thy voice and hand shake still,—long known to thee
By flying hair and fluttering hem,—the beat
Following her daily of thy heart and feet,
How passionately and irretrievably,
In what fond flight, how many ways and days!

6. “Beauty Arise” by Thomas Dekker

Beauty arise, show forth thy glorious shining,
Thine eyes feed love, for them he standeth pining;
Honor and youth attend to do their duty
To thee (their only sovereign) Beauty.
Beauty arise, whilst we, thy servants, sing,
Io to Hymen, wedlock’s jocund King.
Io to Hymen, Io, Io, sing;
Of wedlock, love, and youth is Hymen king.

Beauty arise, Beauty arise, thy glorious lights display,
Whilst we sing Io, glad to see this day.
Io, Io, to Hymen, Io, Io, sing;
Of wedlock, love, and youth is Hymen King.

7. “Sonnet XVIII” by William Shakespeare

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimm’d:
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st:

So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

As the wonderful writer Alexandra York once wrote,

Reason is the sun. Beauty is the moon. The second is revealed by the light of the first.

This Valentine’s Day, take a moment to appreciate what distinguishes humans from all other things on Earth – we are creatures of reason and seekers of beauty.