She certainly didn’t let it deter her from pursuing her avocation, going on to pursue work on such inventions as a fluorescent dog collar, a skin-tautening technique, modifications to the Concorde airliner and a bouillon-like cube that would create a carbonated beverage when mixed with water. In any case, the actress did receive some long-overdue recognition and awards before her death, including a Pioneer Award in 1997 from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a San Francisco nonprofit that defends digital rights and celebrates electronic pioneers.
Rhodes’ accessible and narrow focus on the fact-centered nuts and bolts of his subject — if a bit dry and prosaic at times — doesn’t leave much room for any gossip or glamor. We are vaguely aware that, when it comes to marriage, Hedy herself engages in a little frequency-hopping herself, but we would be hard-pressed to account for the identity of her six husbands. It’s more important to note her contention that she’s happiest “between husbands” because it leaves her more uncluttered time to work on her inventions. Undaunted, then, Lamarr went on to pursue work on an array of inventions, including a fluorescent dog collar, a skin-tautening technique, modifications to the Concorde airliner and a bouillon-like cube that would create a carbonated beverage when mixed with water.
So it wasn’t all torpedoes and missiles. Indeed, as Rhodes states in the closing pages of Hedy’s Folly, Lamarr’s favorite fictional character is Bart Simpson, noting that, like Bart, her motto was “Do not take things too seriously.” I might cite another member of The Simpsons, however, and paraphrase Homer Simpson when he said, “Celebrities, is there anything they don’t know?”
We may know the real answer — if Homer doesn’t — so let’s just say that Hedy Lamarr was an exception to the rule.