Jews have long had their place in every aspect in the movie business—and we mean every aspect.
In 1933, Ecstasy, the first film to depict sexual intercourse and the female orgasm—not to mention one of the first to even show nudity—scandalized Europe, was banned in the US, and even received a special condemnation by the Pope.
The naked female in question was a young Jewish actress from Vienna named Hedwig Kiesler, who you may know by the stage name Hedy Lamarr.
Lamarr, who had a reputation as being vain and crotchety, spent the rest of her career attempting to distance herself from the racy role—not to mention her Jewishness. During her lifetime, not even her children knew that she was the daughter of well-to-do Jewish parents. It wasn’t until after she passed away in 2000 that her heritage came to light.
Lamarr didn’t exactly have a sense of humor to match her legendary beauty, though she certainly had the brains; she and composer George Antheil are credited for the invention of frequency hopping, which became the basis for major technological breakthroughs such as cellphones and WiFi. Three decades later, in 1974, she sued Mel Brooks for $10 million dollars for naming the State Attorney General in Blazing Saddles “Hedley Lamarr.” Can somebody give the governor a “harrumph“?
Check out this short scene from Mel Brook’s Blazing Saddles
Watch a clip from Calling Hedy Lamarr: