Thursday, November 17, 2011

Hedy Lamarr did what?

Hedy Lamarr
By Janet Donovan
Photo credit: Neshan H. Naltchayan

She's been nominated for The Academy Award 16 times and has taken the Oscar home twice, but who's counting?  Meryl Streep, national spokeswoman for The National Women's History Museum, hosted their First de Pizan Honors Gala at the Museum. 

The Kramer vs. Kramer, Sophie's Choice, Out of Africa, The Bridges of Madison County, The Devil Wears Prada star was there not to receive an award, but rather, to salute "Six Women of Distinction."  

The 2011 honorees were: Hedy Lamarr and Marissa Mayer in the fields of telecommunications and technology; Ida B. Wells-Barnett and Cathy Hughes for accomplishments in media and communications; and Admiral Grace Hopper and Helen Greiner for their work in computer technology and digital innovation.

Now here's a bit of  'I betcha you didn't know this' trivia:  "Any girl can be glamorous," Hedy Lamarr once said. "All she has to do is stand still and look stupid." The film star belied her own apothegm by hiding a brilliant, inventive mind beneath her photogenic exterior.  In 1942, at the height of her Hollywood career, she patented a frequency-switching system for torpedo guidance that was two decades ahead of its time."  So, take that!

Gala guests
So now you may be wondering, who in the world is Christine de Pizan?  We don't blame you for asking.  de Pizan was the first Western woman to write about women’s history in 1405 who is best known as the author of The Book of the City of Ladies, which she wrote to combat existing ideas about women’s nature.  Go ahead, look it up!

Picture from The Book of the City of Ladies

Inside the Gala: