Hedy Lamarr was described by her studio as the most beautiful woman in the world. A recent film, called Bombshell, argued that she was a brilliant inventor as well. But what was going on behind that wonderful face? Suzy Klein, host of the BBC Proms, tells Matthew Parris that this was an intriguing woman who continually reinvented herself.
She left her native Austria before the Second World War but, despite a successful Hollywood career, what she really wanted was to be known for being clever. Recent newspaper headlines - including 'Sex Symbol by Day, Scientific Trailblazer by Night' - suggest her wishes may have finally come true. But Professor Hans-Joachim Braun isn't so sure. Film critic Antonia Quirke joins Matthew Parris in the studio to discuss a truly extraordinary life.
The producer in Bristol is Miles Warde.
Mica Paris on Josephine Baker
For soul singer Mica Paris, when she first dreamt of becoming a singer it was Josephine Baker who inspired her most. Baker was a young black American dancer who became an overnight sensation in Paris in 1925 after performing wild, uninhibited routines in the skimpiest of costumes. So can Mica Paris make the case for Baker who wore a string of bananas and little else while performing the 'banana dance? Helping to tell the story of Josephine Baker is author Andrea Stuart.
The presenter is Matthew Parris and the producer is Perminder Khatkar.
Simon Callow on Orson Welles
The actor Simon Callow nominates one of the giants of the golden age of Hollywood, Orson Welles. He once said of himself he 'started at the top and worked his way down' never managing to recreate the success he had aged 26 with Citizen Kane, which he wrote, directed and starred in. Welles' friend and collaborator Henry Jaglom talks about knowing him for the last years of his life when Hollywood had turned its back on him and he was strapped for cash and looking for work.
Producer: Maggie Ayre.
Ayesha Hazarika on Jayaben Desai
Stand up comedian and political commentator Ayesha Hazarika's hero is Jayaben Desai who led a two year strike at Grunwick Film processing factory in North London. The majority of the workers were migrant women and they became known as the 'strikers in sarees'. Matthew Parris remembers the strike in 1976 as he was working in Margaret Thatcher's office at the time, but only recalls the violence at the picket line and the fact that the strike failed.
Can Ayesha Hazarika convince Matthew Parris that Jayaben Desai deserves the accolade of a great life?
They are joined in studio by Dr Sundari Anitha, co- author of 'Striking Women'
Produced in Bristol by Perminder Khatkar.
Tej Lalvani on Richard Feynman
Richard Feynman was a physicist who helped design the atomic bomb and won the Nobel Prize. He is the great life choice of businessman Tej Lalvani CEO of his family business Vitabiotics and the newest Dragon on the BBC show Dragon's Den. Feynman was also regarded as something of an eccentric and a free spirit who had a passion for playing the bongos. Helping to make the case for this great life Tej is joined by the expert witness David Berman, Professor of Theoretical Physics at Queen Mary University of London. The presenter is Matthew Parris and the producer is Perminder Khatkar.