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Léon Theremin

Leon Theremin (born Lev Sergeivitch Termen) (August 15 1896-November 3 1993), Russian inventor of the electronic musical instrument the Theremin.

Leon Theremin's invention in 1919 of the Thereminvox was followed closely by the outbreak of civil war in Russia. After a lengthy tour of Europe, during which time he demonstrated his invention to packed houses, Theremin found his way to America, where he patented his invention in 1929. Subsequently, Theremin granted commercial production rights to RCA.

One day in 1938, Theremin was kidnapped from his New York apartment by Soviet agents, and forced to return to the USSR. Although rumors of his execution were widely circulated, Theremin was in fact put to work in a labor camp, where he designed the first "bug" or covert listening device. He was rehabilitated for his services to the state seven years later.

He is the subject of a documentary film, "Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey".

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