Mariska Hargitay Pays Tribute to Late Mother, Jayne Mansfield, on Her Heavenly Birthday

Mariska Hargitay was just three years old when her famous mother, Jayne Mansfield – an iconic actress in her own right – passed away on June 29, 1967. She might not have a lot of memories (if any) with her mother, but she has kept her mother’s spirit close to her heart ever since – even 56 years later. 

On April 19, Mariska took to Instagram to pay tribute to her mother on what would be her 90th birthday. She shared a vintage, black-and-white photo of Jayne wearing a white dress with pearl earrings. “Happy birthday Mama. We live to love you more each day,” the 59-year-old actress wrote in the touching caption.

Mariska – who was born on January 23, 1964 – is the youngest of three children between Mansfield and her then-husband, Mickey Hargitay. In 1967, Jayne was in a vehicle with her lawyer (Sam Brody) and her three kids when they were involved in a gruesome accident – killing the adults and injuring the kids. 

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Over the past 56 years, Mariska Hargitay has made it a point to ensure her mother’s legacy is as revered as it is remembered. She has talked about her mother in various interviews and often posts about her mother on social media. In a 2018 interview with PEOPLE, she talked about how she deals with grief.

“The way I’ve lived with loss is to lean into it,” she said in the interview – adding that it hasn’t been easy. “As the saying goes, the only way out is through. In my life, certainly I’ve tried to avoid pain, loss, feeling things. But I’ve learned instead to real­ly lean into it, because sooner or later you have to pay the piper.”

She praised her mother as an ‘amazing, beautiful, glamor­ous sex symbol,’ but was quick to note that she was much more than that. Not only did she have a 160 IQ (anyone higher than a 160 is considered a genius), but she played the violin, loved dogs, and had five children – she was way ahead of her time. 

Mariska also talked about her mother in a 2021 interview with Glamour, where she admitted to learning about crisis at a young age and learning that ‘s**t happens and there’s no guarantees.’ She called it her superpower and the ‘gift of having trauma early in life’ as she struggled to accept her mother’s death.

Mariska Hargitay Continues to Remember Her Mother and Father

On August 2, Mariska Hargitay celebrated the release of the new Barbie movie with a photo of her mother wearing a pink dress and sporting her signature platinum blonde hair – she died her hair that way to compete with Marilyn Monroe. There was no caption, but she did share a few hashtags with the photo.

On June 18 (Father’s Day), Mariska paid tribute to her father, Mickey Hargitay – who raised her after her mother’s death in 1967. “Always with me,” she wrote in the caption. Mickey made a career for himself as a bodybuilder and was Mr. Universe in 1955 before starring in four movies alongside Jayne Mansfield.

Mariska had a very close relationship with her father and even appeared in an episode of Law and Order: SVU alongside his daughter in 2003 – they shared a scene together. Unfortunately, her father passed away three years later after a battle with multiple myeloma – he allegedly had bone marrow cancer. 

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Much like her parents, Mariska Hargitay has enjoyed a successful career as an actress and has been a mainstay on Law and Order: SVU since 1999 – she also reprised her role as Olivia Benson in Law & Order: Organized Crime in 2021. You can watch her on Law and Order: SVU on NBC Thursdays at 9/8c.

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