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Lamarr is a Headcrab who has had her teeth removed, preventing her from latching onto and controlling a host. Kleiner has been nurturing and studying Lamarr since she was born, (although the exact manner in which Headcrabs are born is unknown), and named her after the actress and inventor Hedy Lamarr. Kleiner has appearently succeeded in domesticating her, at least to an extent.
Lamarr's first appearance is in the Half-Life 2 chapter A Red Letter Day, when Kleiner gives Barney the honor of presenting the famed HEV Suit to Gordon. As Barney opens the door to the suit, Lamarr jumps down from the holder, attempts to latch onto Barney's head, and after being removed, crawls around, observing the area. She then jumps up on a locker and into a vent. Kleiner remarks that "it'll be another week before I can coax her out of there". Later, while Gordon is about to teleport to Eli's lab, Lamarr jumps out of the vent and into the teleport, causing Gordon to teleport randomly to various areas around City 17 and eventually directly outside Kleiner's lab. This forces Gordon to travel to Black Mesa East on foot. Lamarr can be seen briefly in one of the teleported locations, in what looks like a sandy wasteland with a destroyed car. Lamarr jumps away from Gordon (apparently escaping the reflux) to chase after some crows. Gordon then teleports away, Lamarr being too far away to teleport with him. It's possible she transitioned to several other areas like Gordon did, albeit separate from him.
Through whatever means, Lamarr eventually found her way back to Kleiner. She is seen peeking out of the door with Kleiner when Gordon and Alyx appear in the teleportation chamber before scurrying off to hide from the group, presumably frightened, as Kleiner suggests, by Gordon's crowbar.
In her last appearance, she drops from the top of the screen after the ending credits and jumps toward the player.
Half-Life 2: Episode One
Lamarr is safe and sound in Half-Life 2: Episode One, where she makes a brief cameo appearance, causing further mischief to Dr. Kleiner during his live and unedited evacuation broadcast in City 17 (though the question of how she found her way back to Dr. Kleiner is left unanswered). In this cameo, she is wandering aimlessly around Kleiner's lab, while he warns her to stay away from hot lamps. It is revealed that many Resistance troops are full of disdain for Kleiner (and Lamarr), as the man in the Consoling Couple states: "We're all starving, and Kleiner's Headcrab is probably eating grade-A head!".
Half-Life 2: Episode Two
In Half-Life 2: Episode Two Lamarr goes to sleep inside Arne Magnusson's rocket whilst the door to it is open. Prior to launch, Kleiner notices a "payload anomaly of eight and a half pounds", but not realizing the significance, he and Magnusson dismiss this and decide to launch anyway, sending Lamarr into space.
To accomplish the Little Rocket Man achievement, the gnome found in the first chapter of Episode Two must be placed in the rocket next to Lamarr, so that (according to the Prima guide) "she can have a companion on her voyage."
Lamarr differs from the Classic Headcrab in that the typical black "teeth" are missing. Otherwise, she is virtually indistinguishable from a normal Headcrab. Although Kleiner refers to Lamarr as a female, Headcrabs have never actually been established to have multiple genders. Lamarr appears to be unable to draw nutrients as a normal Headcrab does, instead subsisting on a diet of watermelons—this is indicated by a post-it note posted on Kleiner's lab corkboard, serving as a reminder to find more watermelon (presumably a favorite for its general resemblance to a human head).
Lamarr's behavior may be proof of the ability to "tame" a Headcrab. Simply being debeaked does not suppress the aggressive, parasitic nature found in all Headcrabs. Kleiner states that she may attempt to "couple with your head...fruitlessly, of course". Though Lamarr is somewhat wild as shown when she is first met—lunging at Barney, attacking a bird on the rafters, and then escaping into ventilation shafts—she can also be seen walking beside Dr. Kleiner and peeking curiously around a corner, behavior that predatory Headcrabs do not share.
Behind the scenes
- Lamarr was named after the late 1930s actress and scientist Hedy Lamarr, who co-invented an early form of spread spectrum communications technology.
- In the sound files of the Half-Life 2 leak, Barney asks Kleiner how he can keep "that pest", after "what it did to your buddies". According to Kleiner, however, Lamarr never hurt a fly, as she was raised in captivity.
- Lamarr has her own video game, Lamarr Goes to the Zoo, an experimental game made by several Valve employees in March 2013.
- In Kleiner's Lab, one of the notes on the wall reads, "Find more watermelons for Lamarr", indicating that Headcrabs are omnivores.
- When revisiting Kleiner's Lab after leaving Nova Prospekt, if the player waits long enough after being told to go with Dog, Kleiner will say to Gordon "Lamarr is extremely wary of your crowbar", a reference to the fact that the crowbar is a commonly used weapon to kill Headcrabs with.
- A Headcrab can occasionally be seen in the background map (showing a tunnel in the White Forest base) "ep2_background02a" in Episode Two. This is not Lamarr.