Lee de Forest, American Inventor
Lee de Forest (August 26, 1873 - June 30, 1961) was an American inventor with over 180 patents to his credit. De Forest invented the Audion, a vacuum tube that takes relatively weak electrical signals and amplifies them. De Forest is one of the fathers of the "electronic age", as the Audion helped to usher in the widespread use of electronics. He is also credited with one of the principal inventions that brought sound to motion pictures. He was involved in several patent lawsuits and spent a substantial part of his income from his inventions on the legal bills. He had four marriages and 25 companies. He was defrauded by business partners and he defrauded business partners. He was indicted for mail fraud, but was later acquitted. He was given an Academy Award in 1959/1960 for "his pioneering inventions which brought sound to the motion picture", and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He suffered a severe heart attack in 1958, and died in Hollywood in 1961, at the age of 87 with just $1,250 in his bank account.
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