Silver screen beauty Hedy Lamarr would have taken her HITLER sex secret to the grave with her had it not been for a keepsake cigarette case.
The actress, once dubbed the world's most beautiful woman, hired fanzine writer Devra Hill to help her pen an autobiography in the mid 1960s. The project died when the star was arrested for shoplifting and the two women ceased being friends.
But Hill revisited Lamarr's life a few years ago after recalling the gold cigarette case with the engraved diamond swastika she once spotted on a table at the late Hollywood star's home.
Hill, who has just gone public with the sex tryst Lamarr and Hitler had when the actress was the teenage wife of an Austrian munitions dealer, says, "It was a cigarette case that Hitler had given her with a diamond swastika on the top.
"I said, 'That's gotta be worth a lot of money.' And she came out with this revelation. When I looked at the history research, she had parties where she entertained Hitler, so she was like a social hostess."
In her new book What Almost Happened to Hedy Lamarr, Hill claims the Jewish actress was once forced to have sex with the Nazi leader by her "cruel" first husband Fritz Mandl.
The shame of the three-way prompted Lamarr to leave Austria and seek fame and fortune in Hollywood.
Hill insists few people know of Lamarr's sex secret: "She hated her first husband because he was so domineering. I think she was ashamed. She hated Hitler and didn't really want to talk about the tryst once it was out there.
"I think she reluctantly told me because I asked about the cigarette case - and immediately regretted it.
"She said that she tried to tell (movie mogul) Louis B. Meyer about Hitler and he said he didn't want to talk about Hitler and he told her not to talk about Hitler. I bet she didn't tell anyone except me.
"She said she met Hitler and was forced into a relationship with him because her husband was making millions of dollars from him."