“My mother was this amazing, beautiful, glamorous sex symbol — but people didn’t know that she played the violin and had a 160 IQ and had five kids and loved dogs", Hargitay said.
Vera Jayne Palmer was born in 1933, in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, before becoming Jayne Mansfield. In 1958, Mansfield tied the knot with Mickey Hargitay at the Wayfarers Chapel in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. On December 21, 1958, the couple welcomed their first child, a son named Mickey Hargitay Jr. Soon, they would give birth to their second son, Zoltan Hargitay, and their daughter, Mariska Hargitay. After welcoming their third child, the couple divorced. The star was interested in increasing her knowledge, she spoke five languages, and was an excellent student growing up, reported PEOPLE.
In her biography, Jayne Mansfield: The Girl Couldn't Help It," Mansfield described Mariska as a "darling." She noted that they were alike and, that they both had pug noses and blue eyes. However, on June 28, 1967, Mansfield, then 34, died in a car crash that involved a tractor-trailer. She was driving from a nightclub appearance in Mississippi to New Orleans for a shoot the next day.
Ronnie Harrison, the driver, the actress, and her boyfriend, Sam Brody, died instantly. Three of Mansfield's children survived the car crash, leaving them motherless at a tender age. Mariska was three at the time, reported Glamour. The future actress was raised by her father, who gave her a normal childhood where she got to run cross-country, take part in the swim team, and play volleyball, but her mother remained an integral part of her life.
In March 2018, Mariska confessed to PEOPLE, "The way I've lived with loss is to lean into it." Although she never got to know her mother well, the Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (SVU) star said she and Mansfield shared an appetite for life and were both inspirational, adding, “My mother was this amazing, beautiful, glamorous sex symbol — but people didn’t know that she played the violin and had a 160 IQ and had five kids and loved dogs,” she said, tearing up a little.
Mariska added, “She was just so ahead of her time. She was an inspiration, she had this appetite for life, and I think I share that with her. She’s with me still."
In May 2014, Mariska also shared an Instagram collage of her face and her mother's, showing how alike they were. On June 29, 2022, the star honored her mother again by sharing a black and white Instagram photo of her on her 55th death anniversary. Fans were excited to see the resemblance and commented, with one person saying how breathtaking Mansfield and Mariska were before noting how they "could be twins."
A second person shared how beautiful the late star was and acknowledged how much Mariska looked like her. The fan also added Mansfield was in heaven watching over her daughter with pride. Another fan thought it was "amazing" how the pair resembled each other and saw how both women were beautiful and popular. Another Instagram user said the late actress was her daughter's "guardian angel."
Someone else shared how they'd seen Mansfield in movies and that she was a great actress. The person acknowledged the resemblance between them, while a last fan also agreed to the resemblance and wished Mansfield a peaceful rest.
Cover Image Source: (L) Getty Images | Andrew H. Walker; (R) Getty Images | Hulton Archive