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Birth name Vera Jayne PalmerNationality USABirth 19 april 1933Jayne Mansfield (born Vera Jayne Palmer; April 19, 1933 – June 29, 1967) was an American actress in film, theatre, and television. She was also a nightclub entertainer, a singer, and one of the early Playboy Playmates. She was a major Hollywood sex symbol of the 1950s and early 1960s and 20th Century Fox's alternative to Marilyn Monroe who came to be known as the "Working Man's Monroe". She was also known for her well-publicized personal life and publicity stunts, such as wardrobe malfunctions. She was one of Hollywood's original blonde bombshells, and, although many people have never seen her movies, Mansfield remains one of the most recognizable icons of 1950s celebrity culture.
at Bryn Mawr (USA
)Death 29 june 1967
(at 34 years) at Slidell (USA
Mansfield became a major Broadway star in 1955, a major Hollywood star in 1956, and a leading celebrity in 1957. While Mansfield's film career was short lived, she had several box-office successes and won a Theatre World Award and a Golden Globe. She enjoyed success in the role of fictional actress Rita Marlowe, both in the 1955–1956 Broadway version and the 1957 Hollywood film version of Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?. Her other major movie performances were for The Girl Can't Help It (1956), The Wayward Bus (1957), and Too Hot to Handle (1960).
With decreased demand for big-breasted blonde bombshells and an increased negative backlash against her excessive publicity, she became a box-office has-been by the early 1960s, but she remained a popular celebrity, continuing to attract large crowds outside the United States by way of lucrative and successful nightclub acts. In the sexploitation film Promises! Promises! (1963), she became the first major American actress to have a nude starring role in a Hollywood motion picture.
Mansfield's professional name came from her first husband, public relations professional Paul Mansfield, with whom she had a daughter. She was the mother of three children from her second marriage to actor/bodybuilder Mickey Hargitay. She had a son with her third husband, film director Matt Cimber. In 1967, Mansfield was killed in a car accident at the age of 34, along with two others.
Film critic and exploitation movie expert Whitney Williams wrote of Mansfield in Variety in 1967 that "her personal life out-rivaled any of the roles she played". Mansfield was married three times, divorced twice, and had five children. She also reportedly had affairs and sexual encounters with numerous individuals, including Claude Terrail (owner of the Paris restaurant Tour d'Argent), Robert F. Kennedy, John F. Kennedy, Brazilian billionaire Jorge Guinle, her attorney Samuel S. Brody, Las Vegas entertainer Nelson Sardelli, producer Enrico Bomba, and Anton LaVey. She met John F. Kennedy through his brother-in-law Peter Lawford at Palm Springs, California in 1960, before he had his affair with Marilyn Monroe, but the "affair" did not last. At her death, Mansfield was accompanied by Sam Brody, her married divorce lawyer and lover at the time.
Jayne met Paul Mansfield, a popular student at Highland Park High School, Dallas, at a party on Christmas Eve of 1949. On May 6, 1950, they married in Fort Worth, Texas. At the time of their marriage, Jayne was 17, and three months pregnant. Paul Mansfield was 20. While most major biographies put the date at May 6, some sources say the marriage was on May 10, 1950. According to biographer Raymond Strait, she had an earlier "secret" marriage on January 28, after which she conceived her first child. On November 8, 1950, Mansfield gave birth to their daughter, Jayne Marie Mansfield. Some sources cite Paul Mansfield as the father of her child, while others allege the pregnancy was the result of date rape. Paul Mansfield hoped the birth of their child would discourage her interest in acting. When it did not, he agreed to move to Los Angeles in late 1954 to help further her career. In 1952, she juggled motherhood and classes at the University of Texas. Early in 1952, Paul was called to the United States Army Reserve for the Korean War. While he served in the army, she spent a year at Camp Gordon, Georgia. Her life became easier with Paul's army allotment. Coming back from the Korean War in 1954, he took a job with a small newspaper in East Los Angeles, California, and lived in a small apartment in Van Nuys, Los Angeles, with Jayne and her pets — a Great Dane, three cats named Sabina, Romulus, and Ophelia, two chihuahuas, a poodle dyed pink, and a rabbit. While in California, she left Jayne Marie with her maternal grandparents and spent the summer semester at UCLA.
After a series of marital rows around Jayne's ambitions, infidelity, and animals, they decided to annul the marriage. It was a long process. In February 1955, Jayne filed for separate maintenance, and in August 1956, Paul filed for custody of their daughter Jayne Marie. Jayne divorced Paul Mansfield in California on October 21, 1956. Paul Mansfield divorced her in Texas on March 16, 1957, on the grounds of mental cruelty. They finally received their divorce papers on January 8, 1958. After the divorce, she decided to keep "Mansfield" as her professional name. Paul Mansfield remarried, settled into the public relations business and moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee—but failed to win custody suits over Jayne Marie or restrain her from traveling abroad with her mother. Two weeks before her mother's death in 1967, 16-year-old Jayne Marie accused her mother's boyfriend at that time, Sam Brody, of beating her. The girl's statement to officers of the Los Angeles Police Department the following morning implicated her mother in encouraging the abuse, and days later a juvenile court judge awarded temporary custody of Jayne Marie to Paul's uncle William W. Pigue and his wife Mary. Following her 18th birthday, Jayne Marie complained that she had not received her inheritance from the Mansfield estate or heard from her father since Jayne's death.
Mansfield met her second husband Mickey Hargitay at the Latin Quarter in New York on May 13, 1956, where he was performing as a member of the chorus line in Mae West's show. Hargitay was an actor and bodybuilder who had won the Mr. Universe competition in 1955. Mansfield immediately fell for him, which subsequently resulted in a squabble with West. In the ensuing row Mr. California, Chuck Krauser, beat up Hargitay. Krauser was arrested and released on a $300 bond ($3 000 in 2015 dollars).
Hargitay proposed to Mansfield with a $5,000 10-carat diamond ring on November 6, 1957 ($210 000 in 2015 dollars), right after she returned from her 40-day European tour. On January 13, 1958, days after her divorce from Paul was finalized, Mansfield married Hargitay at the Wayfarers Chapel in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. The unique glass chapel made public and press viewing of the wedding easy. Mansfield wore a sensational pink skintight wedding gown made of sequins with a 30-yard flounce.
Hargitay's first film appearance with Mansfield was a bit part in Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?. The couple became a popular publicity and performing team touring widely in stage shows, wherein Jayne's leopard-spot bikini became a topic of discussion and newspaper coverage. Hargitay's tossing her around his waist and spinning her in wide circles as a highlight of her shows made more headlines. On screen, he was Mansfield's male lead in her Italian ventures—The Loves of Hercules and L'Amore Primitivo, and a major supporting character in Promises! Promises!. On stage, he was the male lead in The Tropicana Holiday, The House of Love, French Dressing and other nightclub acts.
They were also popular for their personal appearances in television shows such as Bob Hope Christmas Specials. Mansfield and Hargitay had a number of business holdings, including the Hargitay Exercise Equipment Company, Jayne Mansfield Productions, and Eastland Savings and Loan. She co-wrote the autobiographical book Jayne Mansfield's Wild, Wild World with Hargitay. The book also contained 32 pages of black-and-white photographs from the film on glossy paper.
Mansfield's son Zoltan was in the news when a lion named Sammy attacked him and bit his neck while he and his mother were visiting the theme park Jungleland USA in Thousand Oaks, California on November 23, 1966. He suffered from severe head trauma, underwent three surgeries at Community Memorial Hospital in Ventura, California, including a six-hour brain surgery, and contracted meningitis. He recovered. Mansfield's attorney Sam Brody sued the theme park on her behalf for $1,600,000 ($11 317 000 in 2015 dollars). The negative publicity led to closure of the theme park.
In 1962, she had a well-publicized affair with Enrico Bomba, the Italian producer and production manager of her film Panic Button. Hargitay accused Bomba of sabotaging their marriage. In 1963, she had another well-publicized relationship with singer Nelson Sardelli, whom she said she planned to marry when her divorce from Mickey Hargitay was finalized. The couple divorced in Juarez, Mexico, in May 1963, where Nelson Sardelli accompanied Mansfield in her legal preparations. She had previously filed for divorce on May 4, 1962, but told reporters "I'm sure we will make it up." Their acrimonious divorce had the actress accusing Hargitay of kidnapping one of her children to force a more-favorable financial settlement.
After their divorce, Mansfield discovered she was pregnant. Since being an unwed mother would have killed her career, Mansfield and Hargitay announced they were still married. Mariska was born January 23, 1964, after the actual divorce but before California ruled it valid. Mariska later became an actress, best known for her role as Olivia Benson in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. After her birth, Mansfield sued to get the Juarez divorce declared legal and won. The divorce was recognized in the United States on August 26, 1964. Shortly after Mansfield's funeral, Mickey Hargitay sued his former wife's estate for more than $275,000 ($1.95 million in 2015 dollars) to support the children whom he and his third (and last) wife, Ellen Siano, would raise. Hargitay was appointed the guardian of Micky, Zoltan and Mariska by a court decree in June 1967, though they went on living with their mother. He married airline stewardess Ellen Siano in 1968, who accompanied him to New Orleans when he went to pick up his three children with Mansfield after her death. In January 1969, he lost his claim of $275,533 from Mansfield's estate to support the three children ($1 772 000 in 2015 dollars). Towards the very end of her life and some time after her divorce with Hargitay, Mansfield told her ex-husband, on a television talk show, she was sorry for all the trouble she gave him.
Mansfield became involved with her third husband Matt Cimber (a.k.a. Matteo Ottaviano, né Thomas Vitale Ottaviano), an Italian-born film director, when he directed her in a well-reviewed stage production of Bus Stop in Yonkers, New York costarring Hargitay. She married him on September 24, 1964, in Mulegé, Baja California Sur, Mexico. The couple separated on July 11, 1965, and filed for divorce on July 20, 1966. Cimber took over the management of her career during their marriage, and guided her through a series of increasingly tawdry projects like Promises, Promises and The Las Vegas Hillbillys. Her marriage to Cimber began to collapse in the wake of Mansfield's alcohol abuse, open infidelities and her disclosure to Cimber that she had only been happy with her former lover, Nelson Sardelli. Work on Mansfield's film, Single Room Furnished directed by Cimber (1966) was suspended.
Mansfield at the time had descended into alcoholism, drunken brawls and cheap burlesque shows. By July 1966, Mansfield started living with her attorney Sam Brody, who had frequent drunken brawls with her and mistreated her eldest daughter Jayne Marie. Sam's wife Beverly Brody filed a divorce suit naming Mansfield as the "41st other woman" in Sam's life. Cimber's divorce from the actress was pending when she was killed. The couple had one son, Antonio Raphael Ottaviano (a.k.a. Tony Cimber, born October 18, 1965). Mansfield's youngest child, Tony was raised by his father, Matt Cimber and his third wife, dress designer Christy Hilliard Hanak, whom he married on December 2, 1967. Tony Cimber later worked as an announcer for Married... with Children and a producer for Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling.