Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story

About the Film

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 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 is provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Additional support is provided by Barrie Landry, Anne Ulnick, Richard and Lesley Stone Family Fund, 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.


Alfred P. Sloan Foundation