American Masters – Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story

Air date: 05/18/2018

THIRTEEN’s American Masters Presents the Exclusive U.S. Broadcast Premiere of  Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story May 18 on PBS

Features previously unheard audio tapes of Lamarr detailing her accomplishments as an inventor

Hollywood star Hedy Lamarr (Ziegfeld Girl, Samson and Delilah) was known as the world’s most beautiful woman – Snow White and Cat Woman were both based on her iconic look. However, her arresting appearance and glamorous life stood in the way of her being given the credit she deserved as an ingenious inventor whose pioneering work helped revolutionize modern communication. An Austrian Jewish emigrant who invented a covert communication system to try to help defeat the Nazis, Lamarr was ignored and told to sell kisses for war bonds instead. It was only toward the very end of her life that tech pioneers discovered that it was her concept that is now used as the basis for secure WiFi, GPS and Bluetooth technologies.

Produced by Reframed Pictures in association with American Masters, the new documentary Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story explores how Lamarr’s true legacy is that of a technological trailblazer. The film premieres nationwide May 18, 2018, at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings) and will be available to stream the following day via pbs.org/americanmasters and PBS apps.

Lamarr never publicly talked about her life as an inventor and so her family thought her story died when she did. However, in 2016, director Alexandra Dean and producer Adam Haggiag unearthed four never-before-heard audio tapes of Lamarr speaking on the record about her incredible life, finally giving her the chance to tell her own story. Family, friends and colleagues, including Mel Brooks and the late Robert Osborne, also share their personal memories of Lamarr, explaining the atmosphere that created the disconnect between her brilliance and her beauty. Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story world premiered at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival, earned multiple awards at film festivals and was named Best Documentary by the New York Film Critics Online.

Launched in 1986, American Masters has earned 28 Emmy Awards — including 10 for Outstanding Non-Fiction Series and five for Outstanding Non-Fiction Special — 12 Peabodys, an Oscar, three Grammys, two Producers Guild Awards and many other honors. To further explore the lives and works of masters past and present, the American Masters website (http://pbs.org/americanmasters) offers streaming video of select films, outtakes, filmmaker interviews, the American Masters Podcast, the Inspiring Woman web series, educational resources and In Their Own Words: The American Masters Digital Archive: previously unreleased interviews of luminaries discussing America’s most enduring artistic and cultural giants. The series is a production of THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC for WNET and also seen on the WORLD channel.

American Masters – Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story is a production of Reframed Pictures in association with American Masters Pictures for WNET, Submarine Entertainment, and Artemis Rising. Alexandra Dean is director. Adam Haggiag, Katherine Drew and Alexandra Dean are producers. Susan Sarandon, Michael Kantor and Regina Scully are executive producers. Michael Kantor is American Masters series executive producer.

Major support for Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, additional support provided by Barrie Landry, Anne Ulnick, Roger Stone, Kelly Cutler and Sonja Perkins.

Major support for American Masters is provided by AARP. Additional support for American Masters is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Rosalind P. Walter, The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, Judith and Burton Resnick, Ellen and James S. Marcus, Vital Projects Fund, Lillian Goldman Programming Endowment, The Blanche & Irving Laurie Foundation, Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, The André and Elizabeth Kertész Foundation, Michael & Helen Schaffer Foundation and public television viewers.

About WNET

WNET is America’s flagship PBS station and parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21. WNET also operates NJTV, the statewide public media network in New Jersey. Through its broadcast channels, three cable services (THIRTEEN PBSKids, Create and World) and online streaming sites, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to more than five million viewers each week. WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, PBS NewsHour Weekend and a range of documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings. WNET’s groundbreaking series for children and young adults include Get the Math, Oh Noah! and Cyberchase as well as Mission US, the award-winning interactive history game. WNET highlights the tri-state’s unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTS, Theater Close-Up, NJTV News with Mary Alice Williams and MetroFocus, the daily multi-platform news magazine focusing on the New York region. In addition, WNET produces online-only programming including the award-winning series about gender identity, First Person, and an intergenerational look at tech and pop culture, The Chatterbox with Kevin and Grandma Lill. In 2015, THIRTEEN launched Passport, an online streaming service which allows members to see new and archival THIRTEEN and PBS programming anytime, anywhere: www.thirteen.org/passport.

###

Photos
For editorial use in North America only in conjunction with the direct publicity or promotion of AMERICAN MASTERS. No other rights are granted. All rights reserved. Downloading this image constitutes agreement to these terms.

Hedy Lamarr in white fur coat, 1938 . Credit: Everett Collection

Danijela Cabric, associate professor, UCLA Electrical Engineering.

Director Alexandra Dean.

Director Alexandra Dean.

Michael Kantor, Executive Producer for American Masters. Photo credit: Jayme Roy