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Mandl was a prominent fascist, but rather attached to the Austrofascism and Italian varieties than to Nazism. In the 1930s he became close to Prince Ernst Rüdiger Starhemberg, the commander of the Austrian fascist private army ("Heimwehr") leader, whom he furnished with weapons and ammunition.
From 1933 to 1937, Mandl was married to Jewish actress Hedwig "Hedy" Kiesler, who would later become known as Hedy Lamarr in Hollywood. Mandl is rumoured to have attempted to bring a halt to her acting career and to purchase all copies of her infamous film Ecstasy (1933), in which she appeared nude.
Following incorporation of Austria into Nazi Germany with the Anschluss of 1938, Mandl's remaining property which had not yet been transferred to Swiss ownership was seized, since he had supported the separatist Austrofascism and his father was Jewish. Despite Mandl's Jewish heritage, his then-wife Hedy Lamarr wrote in her autobiography 'Ecstasy and Me' that both Italian dictator Benito Mussolini and German dictator Adolf Hitler attended Mandl's parties. Lamarr described Mandl as extremely controlling, and wrote that she escaped only by disguising herself as a maid and fleeing to Paris, where she obtained a divorce. Until 1940, Mandl tried to establish contact with Hermann Göring's office in order to supply Germany with iron.
Mandl later moved to Brazil and then to Argentina, where he became a citizen and remarried. In Argentina he served as an advisor to Juan Perón and attempted a new role as film producer. He also founded a new airplane manufacturing firm, Industria Metalúrgica y Plástica Argentina. Mandl became a leading member of Argentina's social circles. He acquired homes in Mar del Plata a castle in Córdoba and a small hotel in Buenos Aires. He worked closely with French designer Jean-Michel Frank who was then artistic director of Comte S.A. who produced most of Mandl's furnishings.
After the war, he returned to Austria. Mandl's last of several marriages was to Monika Brücklmeier, daughter of Eduard Brücklmeier, an accessory executed for his involvement in the July 20 plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler.
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