Sunday, January 29, 2012

Jayne Mansfield and Mickey Hargitay

Mansfield met her second husband Mickey Hargitay, an actor and bodybuilder who had won the Mr. Universe competition in 1955, for the first time at The Mae West Show at New York City's Latin Quarter nightclub, telling the waiter asking for her order, "I'll have a steak and that tall man on the left." In November 1957, shortly before her marriage to Hargitay, Mansfield bought a 40-room Mediterranean-style mansion formerly owned by Rudy Vallee at 10100 Sunset Boulevard in Beverly Hills. Mansfield had the house painted pink, with cupids surrounded by pink fluorescent lights, pink furs in the bathrooms, a pink heart-shaped bathtub, and a fountain spurting pink champagne, and then dubbed it the Pink Palace. Hargitay, a plumber and carpenter before getting into bodybuilding, built a pink heart-shaped swimming pool. Mansfield decorated the Pink Palace by writing to furniture and building suppliers requesting free samples. She received over $150,000 ($1,170,463 in 2012 dollars) worth of free merchandise while paying only $76,000 ($593,034 in 2012 dollars) for the mansion itself, a large sum nonetheless when the average house cost was under $7,500 ($585,231 in 2012 dollars) at the time.
Mansfield and Hargitay married on January 13, 1958 at the Wayfarers Chapel in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. The unique glass chapel made public and press viewing of the wedding much easier. Mansfield wore a transparent wedding gown, adding to the occasion's publicity aspect. Mansfield and her husband toured widely for stage shows, where her leopard-spot bikini became a topic of discussion and newspaper coverage. During this marriage she had two children, Miklós Jeffrey Palmer Hargitay (born December 21, 1958) and Zoltán Anthony Hargitay (born August 1, 1960). The couple divorced in Juarez, Mexico in May 1963. After the 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 Magdolna Hargitay was born January 23, 1964, after the actual divorce but before California ruled it valid. Mansfield's third child also became an actress, best known for her role as Olivia Benson in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. After her birth, Mansfield sued for the Juarez divorce to be declared legal and won. The divorce was recognized in the United States on August 26, 1964. 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.

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