Clip | Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story - It’s Hedley!

Director Mel Brooks recounts how the antagonist of his 1974 classic Blazing Saddles ended up with a name conspicuously close to that of Hollywood actress Hedy Lamarr. Learn more about Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story, premiering Friday, May 18 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings).


Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

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[Interviewer] Hedley Lamarr, where did that come from?

[Mel Brooks] (laughs) His first name was Simon LeGrue.

Like a takeoff on Simon Legree.

Just a bad guy from silent movies.

One night, I got this inspiration.

I was gonna call him Simon Lamarr.

Lamarr being a smooth bad guy.

And then I said Lamarr, Lamarr I'll call him Hedy Lamarr.

I can't call him Hedy.

Hedley.

And it was amazing, from the first minute that the great, unchallengeably funny Harvey Korman was Hedley Lamarr, it just worked in every scene.

I, as the governor, called him Hedy Lamarr, and he said, 'Governor, it's Hedley, Hedley.'

And I said what are you worried about?

This movie's taking place in 1874.

If she makes a fuss, you can sue her.

And what happened?

And what happened?

She actually sued us for using Hedley Lamarr, too close to Hedy.

And they said, 'This is ridiculous.

'We'll go to court. We'll fight it.'

And I said no, she's beautiful.

See if you can get a meeting.

I read something about a department store and embarrassment.

Give her, within reason, pay her.

Give her whatever she needs because she's given us so much wonderful cinematic pleasure for 40 years.

I think it's incumbent upon us to salute her any way we can.

And send her my love, and tell her where I live.