27 Apr 2011

Inventor of the teleprompter dies at 91

9:21 pm on 27 April 2011

The American credited with inventing the teleprompter, Hubert Schlafly, has died at the age of 91.

Hubert J Schlafly Jr was working at 20th Century Fox when he built a device to help film stars remember their lines.

The BBC reports he changed showbusiness forever, by inserting a motorised scroll of paper inside a suitcase and placing the suitcase next to a camera.

This prototype teleprompter made its debut in 1950 on the set of a US soap opera. Printed on the paper were the lines actors had had difficulty remembering.

Soon the device was adopted by politicians - in 1952 it was used at the Republican Party convention by former president Herbert Hoover.

Teleprompters have been the loyal servants of every US president since.