Bedford’s New Show Explains How Actress Hedy Lamarr Invented WiFi


Heather Massie escorts the spirit of Hedy Lamarr, actress and scientist, to New Bedford on November 1.

“She was so beautiful that people were mesmerized by her looks and didn’t recognize her intelligence,” said Massie, an internationally acclaimed actress herself.

Massie brings Lamarr to life in “Hedy! The Life & Inventions of Hedy Lamarr,” which will be part of Zeiterion’s Stage Door Live series.

Besides making big Hollywood movies, Lamarr was a scientist who co-discovered the technology that would form the basis of today’s WiFi, GPS and Bluetooth systems – but never received credit for it. any of them.

“When Hedy and his co-inventor, George Antheil, gave their patent to the US Navy in 1942, it was marked ‘Top Secret’ and the Navy just put it aside,” Massie said. “The first time Lamarr was recognized for this was in 1997 – 55 years later – when the Electronic Frontier Foundation approached her, at age 83, to receive the Pioneer Award, and she was also inducted in the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame.”

Lamarr’s invention helped the Allies win World War II.

“His brilliant idea was called frequency hopping: a way to hop on radio frequencies to prevent someone else from jamming your signal,” Massie said. “It was used as a covert wartime communications system that could prevent the enemy from interfering with a ship’s torpedoes.”

Plays and movies teach us all kinds of things. One of the biggest benefits of attending the show is that you learn something new.

“Who would have thought that someone as unexpected as a glamorous Hollywood star was capable of creating primordial technology?” Massy said. “And along the way, you’ll get to see Jimmy Stewart, Bette Davis and other Hollywood stars from beloved films – but the most important relationship in the play is Hedy’s connection with the audience.”

Massie is working on a trilogy of shows about women and science, including astronaut Sally Ride and primatologist Jane Goodall. Before studying theater arts, Massie majored in astrophysics.

“The mission of my work is to inspire the public, especially to encourage young women in science and technology, and to establish Hedy Lamarr as a model of intelligence, ingenuity and inventions”, she said.

“Hedy! The Life & Inventions of Hedy Lamarr” will be performed on Tuesday, November 1 at 7 p.m. at the Zeiterion Performing Arts Center. A celebration of local young inventors takes place at the Science Fair pre-show at 6 p.m.

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