In the 1950s, Jayne Mansfield, a provocateur of her era, rose to fame in Hollywood. Mariska Hargitay, her three-year-old daughter, was also a passenger in the car at the time of the fatal car accident that claimed her life in 1967.
Mariska was lucky to be alive and well. She has gained fame as an actor in the modern era. She resembles her mommy remarkably!
For many actors and actresses, becoming a Hollywood superstar requires years and years of hard effort. The majority of famous people would undoubtedly agree that it is worthwhile in the end, despite the fact that success requires a lot of sacrifice and time, patience, and willpower.
Nonetheless, it took Jayne Mansfield less than ten years to achieve superstardom. She was a major sex symbol during the 1950s and 1960s because to her roles in multiple blockbuster films.
At times, she was known as “the poor man’s Marilyn Monroe”, because of the roles she was offered, but despite the roles – many of which would fit into the “dumb blonde” category – she wasn’t like that at all.
A vehicle accident in 1967 tragically claimed the life of the mother of five children. But today, her kids are working hard to carry on her legacy.
This is the tale of the vibrant life of Jayne Mansfield and Mariska Hargitay, who resembles her mother remarkably.
Jayne Mansfield – childhood
Jayne Mansfield lived a glamorous yet tragic existence.
Throughout her early years, Vera Jayne Palmer, who was born on April 19, 1933, in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, was exposed to the more artistic side of life. She received instruction in singing and violin as a young child from her musician father Herbert.
Nevertheless, tragedy struck Jayne Mansfield at the young age of three when her father passed away from a heart attack when the family was traveling. Her mother Vera, a former schoolteacher, was abandoned with her child and had to go back to work to help maintain her family.
“Something went out of my life,” she said. “My earliest memories are the best. I always try to remember the good times when Daddy was alive.”
Jayne’s mother wed a second husband in 1939, and the family relocated to Dallas, Texas. Jayne Mansfield had aspirations of becoming a Hollywood star at the same time. She attended every one of Judy Garland’s movies and even went so far as to dress like the legendary performer.
Moving to Los Angeles
Mansfield hadn’t even received her high school diploma when she found her first significant other. The future icon wed Paul Mansfield, then 20 years old, in 1950. Together, they departed for Southern Methodist University to pursue acting studies. Jayne gave birth to her first daughter, Jayne Marie Mansfield, just a year after they got married.
Mansfield joined a Miss California competition after taking a summer course at UCLA in Los Angeles, though she eventually withdrew. The family made the choice to attend the University of Texas in Austin, where Jayne appeared in a number of plays.
It in and of itself turned out to be a lot of fun, but Hollywood remained her goal. The family felt it was time since, of course, you had to be there to succeed in Hollywood. In 1954, Mansfield moved to Los Angeles with her family.
Naturally, breaking into the profession isn’t simple, as is the case for every aspiring actor or actress. When Jayne started her modeling career, her figure quickly became not just a major problem but also the focal point of her life.
Because casting directors believed that the future pinup icon’s voluptuous, attractive form was far too seductive for a commercial or advertisement, she had difficulty finding work.. It actually came to a point where she was cut out of her very first ad, was a print ad for General Electric.
Start of Hollywood career
Jayne wanted to be on screen, and soon got her big chance. She went to audition for both Paramount and Warner Brothers studios, though neither of them wanted her.
Yet while she was reading at Paramount, the head of casting, Milton Lewis, did something that would change Jayne’s perception of herself.
”I had been to three different universities and two or three dramatic schools before I went to Hollywood, preparing myself for my hoped career as an actress. I did a soliloquy for Joan of Arc for Milton Lewis who was head of casting at Paramount Studios in order to audition. And he seemed to think I was wasting my ”obvious talents”. He lightened my hair and tightened my dresses, and this is the result.”
Jayne Mansfield wanted to compete with Marilyn Monroe, the biggest and brightest Hollywood star at the time. But at the same time as her career in Hollywood was beginning, her husband Paul had simply had enough. The couple divorced in 1955, and their daughter stayed with Jayne in Los Angeles.
Jayne’s career eventually took off when she landed a role in the low-budget film Female Jungle (1955), which gave her plenty of exposure. The same year she’d been named “Playmate of the Month” and also been on the cover of Playboy Magazine.
“Marilyn Monroe King-Size”
Her new style – the pinup, provocative blonde bombshell – was supposed to cement her status as the new Marilyn Monroe, and in a way, she definitely succeeded. Pink proved to be her color, with Jayne even buying a pink Cadillac to drive.
Studios wanted more of her and soon she was signed. Fox began to market her as the “Marilyn Monroe King-Size,” and her success grew. By that point she wasn’t just an actress; she was a sex symbol of the 1950s.
One journalist even claimed: “She suffered so many on-stage strap and zipper mishaps that nudity was, for her, a professional hazard.”
Jayne gained even more attention following her appearance in Fox’s 1957 comedy blockbuster Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?. That same year, she received a Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer – Female. The following year, she starred alongside Kenneth More in the Western The Sheriff of Fractured Jaw (1958).
Jayne scored several other – for the time being – provocative roles, including The Burglar (1957) and Too Hot to Handle (1960). Sadly, however, she was labelled “The Poor Man’s Marilyn Monroe”.
Jayne Mansfield – censorship battles
At that time, Mansfield had gotten married to second-husband, actor and bodybuilder Mickey Hargitay. They tied the knot in 1958, at a press-filled ceremony in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. Before long, the family was growing. In 1959, they welcomed son Mickey Hargitay, and two more children followed. Son Zoltan Hargitay was born in 1960, and daughter Mariska Magdolna Hargitay was welcomed in 1964.
Following her performance in Too Hot to Handle, Jayne went into her first legal battle regarding film censorship. The release date of the film was delayed because of her appearing nude in what was at the time considered a scandalous dress.
A couple of years later, she got into another battle regarding the same thing. Her film Promises! Promises! (1963) sparked a huge talking point when Mansfield became the first American Hollywood movie star to appear nude on screen. The scene was considered to be way too explicit, leading to censoring and, in some cases, it being banned across the world.
By this point, Mansfield was a huge Hollywood star, with an image that at the time was considered to be “owned by the public.”
Jayne Mansfield – work in Europe
It was something she enjoyed and thought was mandatory.
”Actually, I feel that a star own it to her public, to bring the public into her life,” she said in 1960.
“The fans feel that they kind of own you and if you kept your life a complete secret it wouldn’t be fair to them. But my private life, and when I say private life, is always very private.”
As quick as Jayne had risen to fame, her career also began to fail. She was dropped from 20th Century Fox in 1962, and instead went on to appear in several TV programs and game shows. Instead of just focusing on Hollywood, Mansfield decided to go International in the 1960s, starring in several German, Italian and British films. She began also appearing onstage at nightclubs, touring both in the US and in the UK.
In 1967, a tour was put together by Don Arden, the legendary music manager, as well as father of Sharon Osbourne. One week, she was performing in the town of Batley.
Her Hollywood glamour sure did something to the people there.
“My dad said all these harridans would turn up at Batley with their rollers in and headscarves on,” Neil Sean, entertainment reporter for NBC News, explained.
“But as the week went on, they became more and more glamorous, turning up with their hair done and lipstick.”
Jayne Mansfield – death
By this point, Mansfield and Hargitay had divorced, and she’d married director Matt Cimber. They had her fifth child, Anthony Cimber, in 1965, only to divorce that same year.
The tour of the UK was the last Jayne Mansfield did. While driving from a nightclub appearance in Mississippi, en route to New Orleans, she was killed in a car accident when her vehicle collided with a tractor trailer. Jayne was only 34.
The accident killed Mansfield, her then-boyfriend Sam Brody, and their driver, instantly. She was buried beside her father at the Fairview Cemetery in Pennsylvania.
In the car were three of her children, who were asleep in the backseat, but they made it out unharmed. Daughter Mariska Hargitay, who was only three years of age at the time, moved to be with her father, Mickey Hargitay.
So what happened to her? Well, Mariska followed her mother into the acting business. And she sure looks very much like her mother!
“Losing my mother at such an early age is the scar of my soul,” she told Redbook in 2009.
“But I feel like it ultimately made me into the person I am today. I understand the journey of life. I had to go through what I did to be here.”
Mariska decided to study theater at UCLA in California. In 1984, she made her film debut in Ghoulies. She spent the 1980s performing in several TV series in order to pursue a career on the bigger stage. But, unlike her mother, she didn’t change her name or the color of her hair. People advised her to change her name and appearance, and even copy her mother’s sexy image. At one point, she turned down doing a nude scene in the movie Jocks (1986).
Being the daughter of a Hollywood icon hasn’t been easy. And sometimes, it even has been a burden for Mariska.
“I used to hate constant references to my mom because I wanted to be known for myself,” she told Closer. “Losing my mother at such a young age is the scar of my soul.”
Mariska Hargitay – career
Prior to landing her significant breakthrough role, Mariska had been acting for 15 years. She played Olivia Benson in the 1999 season of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit on NBC. Mariska has appeared in a total of 481 episodes of the show, which is still in production.
Mariska has carved up a great career thanks to the popular primetime series, which helped her win an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series and a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama.
She has also received nominations for eight other prizes.
Mariska Hargitay is now a well-known actress who is dominating the entertainment industry, just like her mother did. And with that gorgeous smile, she resembles her mother exactly!
Mariska Hargitay – family
In 2004, Mariska married actor and producer Peter Hermann, with whom she has three children.
Marika was very young when her mother passed away in the tragic car accident, but becoming a mom herself has brought her closer to the guardian she lost so early in life.
“Being a wife and mother is my life, and that gives me the most joy,” she said. “I understand [my mother] in a new way that gives me peace. Now I understand the love she had in her, and it makes me feel closer to her.”
When their stars were positioned next to one other on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2013, Mariska Hargitay and her mother Jayne Mansfield were reconnected in a sense.
Jayne Mansfield’s remarkable performances will live on in memory forever.
Although she is no longer with us, she will always be remembered, and Mariska, her daughter, is an amazing actress. Don’t they resemble one another?
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