Jayne Mansfield was an American actress, entertainer, and singer during the ’50s and ’60s. Although her career was fairly short-lived, Mansfield undoubtedly made an impact during her time in the entertainment industry. Keep scrolling to learn more about her…
Meet Jayne Mansfield
Vera Jayne Palmer, a.k.a. Jayne Mansfield was born on April 19th, 1933 in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania although her family moved to Dallas by the time she turned three years old. Considering that Jayne’s father was an attorney turned musician, it doesn’t come as such a shock that she took an interest in music at such a young age. By the time Mansfield was seven years old, she had already learned the violin. When she was 12 years old, Mansfield took ballroom dance lessons and it wasn’t long after that she began learning the piano as well as the viola.
More Than Just Beauty
Considering that Hollywood basically dubbed Jayne as the stereotypical “dumb blonde” bombshell — along with Marilyn Monroe — during the ’50s and ’60s, this lesser-known fact may actually come as a surprise to some people. Not only did she embody beauty and talent but Mansfield was also extremely gifted intellectually. That’s right — this gal was beauty and brains! Unapologetically intelligent, the actress possessed an I.Q. score of 163 and actually spoke five languages including English, French, Spanish, German, and Italian.
A Trip to Hollywood
When Jayne turned 13 years old, her mother — a former schoolteacher — took her on a trip to Hollywood. They shared a mother-daughter date at the famous Hollywood Brown Derby and Mansfield even spotted one of her favorite national radio stars. After getting his autograph, she knew that she wanted to become a star and even exclaimed to her mother that someday, people would be asking for her autograph. Although it took a few more years to get there, Mansfield was on her way to stardom…
In 1949, when Jayne was 16 years old, she met Paul Mansfield at a party on Christmas Eve. They were both popular students at Highland Park High School in Dallas. In May of 1950, Jayne was 17 years old and Paul was 20 when they got married just six months before Jayne gave birth to their first child — Jayne Marie Mansfield. Shortly after that, both Jayne and her husband enrolled in Southern Methodist University to study acting until 1951 when Jayne moved to LA for a short time to attend a summer semester at UCLA.
UCLA & Miss California Contest
Mansfield left her daughter and husband back in Texas for a summer to study at the University of California Los Angeles’ School of Theater, Film, and Television — a top-tier program. While she was enrolled there, Mansfield thought it would be fun to enter the Miss California contest. She hid her marital status and unsurprisingly ended up winning the local round. It wasn’t long, though, before she withdrew from the competition altogether as Paul found out and forced her to resign.
University of Texas
By 1952, Jayne had moved back to Austin, Texas to live with her husband and their child. There, she studied dramatics at the University of Texas. In order to make ends meet while she was enrolled in classes, Mansfield worked as a nude art model, sold books door-to-door, and worked as a receptionist at a dance studio. She even joined a popular campus theatrical society — Curtain Club — that included lyricist Tom Jones, composer Harvey Schmidt, and actors Rip Torn as well as Pat Hingle.
Camp Gordon in Georgia
It seemed as though Jayne was finding her place at the University of Texas, that is until Paul was called to the United States Army Reserve for the Korean War in early 1952. Because of this, Paul was stationed in Georgia. Jayne ultimately followed her hubby and ended up spending a year at Camp Gordon, which is a United States Army training facility. While she was there, the actress participated in a small local-theater production of Anything Goes, a 1934 musical.
Jayne’s First Notable Appearance
In 1953, Jayne moved back to Dallas from Georgia. It was during that time that she became a student of actor Baruch Lumet — father of director Sidney Lumet and founder of the Dallas Institute of Performing Arts. It was during this time that she made her first notable appearance in a production of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman with the players of the Knox Street Theater, headed by Lumet. Mansfield’s performance in the show was so outstanding that she attracted Paramount Pictures to audition her.
Paramount Pictures & Warner Brothers
In April of 1954, Jayne auditioned at both Paramount Pictures and Warner Brothers. Lumet trained Mansfield for her first test in which she performed a sketch from Joan of Arc for casting director Milton Lewis who told the actress that she was wasting her obvious talents. He had Mansfield come back a week later to perform the piano scene from The Seven Year Itch but after she failed to impress, the struggling actress came to the conclusion that she would have to go blonde as she was naturally a brunette.
The Family Moves to California
Around the time that Mansfield was auditioning for the film studios, Paul returned from reserve duty. It was then that he decided to move the family to California as he quickly realized that motherhood hadn’t discouraged Jayne’s interest in acting. Paul and Jayne moved to Van Nuys, Los Angeles while little Jayne Marie stayed with her grandparents for a while. They lived in a small apartment with all of Jayne’s pets including a Great Dane, three cats, two chihuahuas, a poodle dyed pink, and a rabbit.
When she got to LA, Mansfield had her hair bleached and colored platinum blonde, which is when she became one of the early “blonde bombshells” — along with Marilyn Monroe, Betty Grable, and Mamie Van Doren — a stereotype defined by a combination of curvaceous physique, light-colored hair, and a perceived lack of intelligence. While this stereotype took over the screen during the ’50s, it has become a cult in that it has been consistently repeated from that era on.
Mansfield’s natural hourglass figure was a subject of much conversation. In fact, the media and public were so intrigued that newspapers would routinely publish her body measurements. It has been said that Mansfield’s bust was a major force behind the development of 1950s brassieres. Others have claimed that it was Mansfield, along with Marilyn Monroe, who made the bikini popular. While ideals of the 1960s may have shifted to appreciate the slim waif-like features made popular by actress Audrey Hepburn and supermodel Twiggy, Mansfield’s figure was so incredible that it’s still talked about today…
Jayne’s Odd Jobs
Although Jayne moved to California after landing her first screen test, the struggle wasn’t over yet. In order to make ends meet and get her name out there as much as possible, Jayne ended up working a variety of odd jobs. Not only did she sell popcorn at the Stanley Warner Theater and teach dance but she also got a part-time modeling gig with Blue Book Model Agency, and worked as a photographer for Esther Williams’ Trails Restaurant.
Playboy Playmate of the Month
When editor Hugh Hefner began publishing Playboy in the ’50s, the magazine became an instant success because of its early playmates including Mansfield, Marilyn Monroe, Bettie Page, and more. In February of 1955, Mansfield was discovered by Hugh Hefner and became the Playboy Playmate of the Month. With that title, Jayne appeared in the magazine several times and it was these photographs that helped launch her to stardom. It was then that more and more offers began to roll in…
Marital Woes & Divorce
After a series of marital woes — including Jayne’s high ambitions as well as her infidelities — Jayne and Paul decided to dissolve the marriage though it was a gruelingly long process. In February of 1955, Jayne filed for separation. In August 1956, Paul sought custody of Jayne Marie alleging that Jayne was an unfit mother because she shot nude for Playboy Magazine. By 1958, Paul and Jayne were divorced although she decided to hold onto “Mansfield” as her professional name.
It was a completely new experience for Jayne Mansfield. Despite no longer being with Paul, she was determined to start afresh and give her daughter as good of a life as possible. Paul was also trying to start over, having moved back to Dallas, Texas. As for Jayne, she held onto their daughter, who stayed with her in Los Angeles. Trying to find some sort of normality while being one of the biggest poster girls of the ’50s/’60s would prove to be quite the challenge.
Although Jayne’s first marriage was ending at this point, her career was only just beginning. She made her film debut in 1955 as a supporting role in Female Jungle, a low-budget drama that was completed in only 10 days. By February that same year, James Byron — Jayne’s manager and publicist — negotiated a seven-year contract with Warner Brothers. This deal ultimately landed Jayne two films, one of which with an insignificant role and another that was unreleased for two years.
In 1955, Mansfield was working on a crime thriller film noir called The Burglar, Paul Wendkos’s film adaptation of David Goodis’ novel. The movie was produced by Louis W. Kellman, who claimed to have discovered Mansfield. While filming, the blonde bombshell also accepted the part of Rita Marlowe in the New York Broadway production of George Axelrod’s comedy Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? After it was announced that Mansfield would be in the production, it took no more than two weeks for Warner Brothers to drop her.
Enjoying Every Moment
It is common knowledge that Jayne Mansfield’s time at Warner Brothers did not last that long. Nevertheless, the actress was more than happy to enjoy every second she had at the huge film studios. Not only did she enjoy fraternizing with everyone involved at the company, but she loved nothing more than walking around the grounds of the studio and even having picnics in their gardens. In this photo, she can be seen relaxing with her chihuahua.
Minor Film Roles
During this crazy year that was full of twists and turns, Jayne Mansfield managed to lock down a number of minor film roles while under contract with Warner Brothers. In 1955, Mansfield was working really hard and managed to appear in three movies produced by the studio. These included the likes of Illegal, Pete Kelly’s Blues, and Hell on Frisco Bay. While they might not be the most recognizable titles in her filmography, they certainly helped to pay the bills.
Hey Mickey, You’re So Fine
Although her Warner Brothers contract was dropped, Mansfield still managed to rack up the acting gigs…and the men. In May of 1956, Mansfield met the man that would soon become her second husband, Mickey Hargitay. The blonde-haired beauty spotted her hunk at the Latin Quarter nightclub in NYC where he was performing as a member of the chorus line in Mae West’s show. Hargitay was a bodybuilder who had won the Mr. Universe competition in 1955. Naturally, Mansfield fell for Hargitay immediately…
20th Century Fox
The same month that Hargitay stole Mansfield’s heart — May of 1956 — the actress also happened to sign a six-year contract with 20th Century Fox. At this point, the actress was still under contract to Broadway and continued playing Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? on stage until September that same year. That was her first major stage performance, garnering her critical attention as well as public popularity. Her performance earned her both a Theater World Award and a Golden Globe.
Jayne’s First Starring Film Role
After her Broadway contract was up, Mansfield undertook her first starring film role as Jerri Jordan in Frank Tashlin’s 1956 film The Girl Can’t Help It. Upon its release, this film became one of the year’s biggest successes both financially and critically. It wasn’t long before Fox began promoting Mansfield as “Marilyn Monroe king-sized” as an attempt to coerce Monroe to return to the studio and finish out her contract. That same year, Mansfield also landed her television gig as the leading role on NBC’s TV-Movie The Bachelor.
It’s no secret that Mansfield’s drive for publicity was one of the strongest in Hollywood. In order to gain as much exposure as possible, the actress essentially gave up all privacy, not to mention the fact that her doors were always open to photographers. Thanks to Byron — Mansfield’s publicist until the end of ’61 — and his team, Mansfield appeared in about 2,500 newspaper photographs. She also had about 122,000 lines of newspaper copy written about her between September of ’56 and May 1957.
The Wayward Bus & British Television
1957 was quite a busy yet fruitful one for Mansfield. Not only did she land a dramatic role in The Wayward Bus — a drama film based on the 1947 novel of the same name by John Steinbeck — but her performance ultimately won her another Golden Globe. At this point, Jayne had also made her first appearance on British television in which she recited from Shakespeare and played the piano as well as the violin. Still, the best was yet to come…
Considering that Mansfield spent so much of her time playing Rita Marlowe in the Broadway show Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?, it only made sense that director Frank Tashlin cast her in his 1957 film adaptation of the show. Immediately, Fox launched its new icon with a North American tour and 40-day, 16-country tour of Europe. During the tour, Mansfield attended the premiere of the film in London and had the chance to meet Queen Elizabeth II. Mansfield told the Queen, “You are so beautiful,” to which Her Majesty replied, “So are you.”
When Jayne returned from the 40-day tour, she and Mickey got engaged! At this point, life couldn’t have been any better for Mansfield. Hargitay made his first film appearance with Mansfield playing a small role in Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? Immediately after, the couple became one of the most popular publicity and performing teams around. They toured widely in stage shows, making headlines for their shocking performances — in one show, Hargitay tossed Mansfield around his waist and spun her in wide circles.
The Bob Hope Show Touring Team
In November of 1957, one of Mansfield’s nightclub acts was featured in a special episode of NBC’s The Perry Como Show. After that, she made guest appearances on a few episodes of The Bob Hope Show touring team. With this project, Mansfield toured United States Pacific Command areas with Bob Hope for the United Service Organizations for 13 days appearing as a comedian. The actress also appeared on a number of game shows including Down You Go as a regular panelist, The Match Game as a team captain, and What’s My Line? as a special mystery guest.
Although Mansfield landed another starring role in Kiss Them for Me (1957), the film ended up being a box-office flop, essentially marking it one of the last attempts by 20th Century Fox to publicize the actress. Still, the production company ended up giving her a leading role the following year in The Sheriff of Fractured Jaw, a western comedy that would ultimately be Mansfield’s last mainstream film success. She turned down Columbia Pictures’ offer to play in the romantic comedy Bell, Book, and Candle due to the fact that she was pregnant with her second child — Mansfield and Hargitay’s first.
Jayne Gets Married a Second Time
Days after her divorce from Paul Mansfield was finalized, in January of 1958, Jayne and Mickey got hitched at the Wayfarers Chapel in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. The chapel, entirely built from glass, made it easy for the public and press to view the wedding. Mansfield looked stunning in a wedding gown designed by a 20th Century Fox costume designer. It was a sensationally pink, skintight dress made of sequins, completed with a 30-yard flounce of pink tulle.
Academy Awards Orchestral Performance
In 1958, Mansfield planned to appear in a live orchestral performance for the 31st Academy Awards. The performance was ultimately canceled by show producer Jerry Wald who wanted to make sure that the ceremony ran on time. In the end, the show ended 20 minutes early, forcing host Jerry Lewis to figure out how to fill in the extra time. In any event, Mansfield was supposed to play violin in an ensemble that included Dick Powell on trumpet, Jack Benny on first violin, Robert Mitchum on woodwind, Fred Astaire on drums, and Jerry Lewis as the conductor.
Jayne & Mickey
Onscreen, Mickey was Mansfield’s male lead in her Italian ventures — The Loves of Hercules and L’Amore Primitivo, plus a major supporting role in Promises! Promises!. On stage, Mickey was the lead in most of Jayne’s nightclub acts from The Tropicana Holiday to The House of Love, and more. The pair was also popular for their personal appearances on television shows such as Bob Hope Christmas Specials. Aside from performing together, though, you may find this next fact pretty interesting…
When they weren’t performing together, Mansfield and Hargitay spent their time maintaining a number of joint business holdings. This included the Hargitay Exercise Equipment Company, Jayne Mansfield Productions, and Eastland Savings and Loan. Together, Hargitay and Mansfield also co-wrote the autobiographical book — Jayne Mansfield’s Wild, Wild World — that contained 32 pages of black-and-white photographs from the film printed on glossy paper. If that wasn’t enough, around this time, Jayne had also been making quite a few appearances on TV…
It was around this time that Jayne Mansfield and Mickey Hargitay welcomed their second child into the world. On August 1, 1960, Zoltan Hargitay was born and based on this photo alone, it appeared that Jayne was managing to keep a modern family together pretty well. She was bringing up children from different fathers while also managing to hold down a pretty stable relationship with Mickey. As the years passed though, twists and turns would continue to come their way, especially for Zoltan…
Rolling in the Dough
Some of Jayne’s most notable performances in television dramas included episodes of Burke’s Law, Alfred Hitchcock Presents The Red Skelton Hour, Kraft Mystery Theater, and a 1962 episode of Follow the Sun — which was considered the start of a “new and dramatic Jayne Mansfield.” There’s no doubt that Mansfield’s career had absolutely skyrocketed. At this point, she was earning $20,000 per episode for television performances (the equivalent of $177,000 in 2019). If we’re being honest here, that ain’t too shabby…
Because of all the successful media blitz Jayne had been receiving, the actress quickly became a household name. By 1960, Mansfield not only topped press polls for more words in print than anyone else in the world, but she was also regarded as the world’s most-photographed Hollywood celebrity. Naturally, though, with the good press also comes the bad. After all, you can’t please everyone! In any event, there’s no denying that Mansfield definitely had her fair share of bad press, as well, making headlines for different publicity stunts…
Aside from the standard press exposure that all Hollywood stars receive, Mansfield was known to make the news on a regular basis for publicity stunts in which she was known for wearing malfunctioning dresses or clothing that would strategically yet suddenly burst at the seams. How about the infamous, low-cut dress Mansfield wore to dinner at the exclusive Beverly Hills Romanoff’s restaurant hosted by Paramount Pictures to officially welcome Italian actress Sophia Loren to Hollywood? Things only got worse when Mansfield took charge of her own publicity without professional advice.
Burst of Media Attention
When she had an appearance in Silver Springs, Florida to promote her upcoming film Underwater!, Mansfield purposefully wore a too-small red bikini that was lent to her by a friend. Her top ended up coming off when she dove into the pool, creating a burst of media attention. Around the same time that year, Mansfield also wore a dress that fell down to her waist continuously during a single evening — once at a movie party and later at a nightclub.
Unlike her terrible chapter with Warner Brothers, Jayne Mansfield managed to see out her contract with studio 20th Century Fox, which expired in 1962. However, this still marked bad news for the actress as the studio ultimately decided not to renew her contract. This put Mansfield out of work and she desperately needed to do something to keep things going. She ended up resorting to new ventures like appearing on game shows and a variety of TV shows.
New Show, New Look
By the time 1962 came around, Jayne Mansfield was trying her luck in a variety of TV shows, including The Alfred Hitchcock Hour. Naturally, it was an anthology series that covered a variety of dramas, thrillers, and mysteries. Jayne starred in an episode called “Hangover.” The episode was about a man who forgets what happened the day before and has to work out what happened, which proves to lead to devastating results.
It wasn’t long before Mansfield pulling even riskier stunts. At one point, she showed up topless to a Mardi Gras party while visiting Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In June of 1962, Mansfield shimmied out of her polka-dot dress while out at a Rome nightclub. In just three years since making her Broadway debut in Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?, Mansfield managed to become the most controversial star of the decade. It was at this point that the world’s media were quick to condemn Mansfield’s stunts.
Jayne had become one of Hollywood’s hottest and most controversial stars when her marriage to Mickey began falling apart. By 1962, Mansfield had a well-publicized affair with an Italian producer and production manager named Enrico Bomba. A year later, Mansfield had yet another affair with singer Nelson Sardelli, who she said she planned to marry after her divorce from Mickey was finalized. Although they got divorced in 1963, Mansfield discovered that she was pregnant with hers and Mickey’s third child together…
Pushing the Envelope
It should become increasingly clear that Jayne Mansfield was always one to push the boundaries at virtually every stage of her career. In 1963, this had never been truer when she starred in the movie Promises! Promises! Many moviegoers were intrigued by the move, especially since it showed Mansfield practically bare all in the movie, a history-making moment in Hollywood history. At the time, censorship organizations considered the content to be explicit and as a result, the footage was banned worldwide.
Another Pregnancy & Another Divorce
After her divorce, Mansfield discovered that she was pregnant again. Since being an unwed mother would have endangered her career, she and Hargitay announced that they were still married. Around the same time, Mansfield was chosen over several other actresses to replace the recently deceased Marilyn Monroe in Kiss Me, Stupid — a 1964 romantic comedy that would also star Dean Martin — but she ultimately turned down the role because of her pregnancy. In the end, actress Kim Novak took the part.
In January 1964, Mansfield gave birth to Mariska Hargitay — the youngest of her three children with Mickey. Does the name ring a bell at all? Well, like her mother, Mariska is an award-winning actress in Hollywood. She’s best known for her portrayal as New York Police Department Captain Olivia Benson on the NBC drama Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Mariska has starred on the series since it started in September of 1999. Today, it’s the longest-running U.S. live-action series. We think it’s safe to say that Jayne would be very proud of her little girl…
Third Time’s a Charm
In August of 1964, less than a year after Mariska’s birth, Mickey and Jayne’s divorce was officially recognized. Although a court decree made Hargitay the guardian of their three children, they continued to live with Mansfield. Just a month later in September ’64, Mansfield married Matt Cimber, an Italian-born film director. The two had become involved with each other when he directed her in a stage production of Bus Stop, which costarred Hargitay. During the course of their marriage, Cimber began managing Jayne’s career and guided her through a series of increasingly tasteless projects.
Something Good Came Out of It
While there aren’t too many pieces of information surrounding her short marriage to Matt Cimber, there definitely was one good thing that came out of it. In 1965, not too long before they decided to call the quits, Jayne and Matt welcomed a child into the world – Antonio Raphael Ottaviano. However, he was generally referred to as Tony Cimber. It turns out that Matt would go on to raise Tony with his third wife Christy Hilliard Hanak.
Jayne Gets Divorced…Again
It wasn’t long before Mansfield’s marriage to Cimber began to unravel in the wake of her substance abuse, open infidelities, and her disclosure to Cimber that she had only found happiness with her former lover, Nelson Sardelli. By July of 1965, 10 months after getting married, Mansfield and Cimber separated although their son — Mansfield’s fifth child — wasn’t born until October of that year. During 1965, the same year that the divorce was finalized, Mansfield explored a musical career…
Collaborated With Jimi Hendrix
This may come as a surprise but rock ‘n’ roll legend Jimi Hendrix actually played bass and added lead in his session musician days for Mansfield on two different songs — “As the Clouds Drift By” and “Suey” — which were released as a 45-rpm single by London Records. According to Steven Roby, Hendrix historian, this collaboration occurred because both Mansfield and Hendrix shared the same manager. Aside from that, the actress also recorded “Wo ist der Mann,” a German song that received much praise upon its release.
Mansfield was a woman of many talents. Not only did she record her own music but she also performed her instrumental skills (i.e. violin, piano) on several different variety shows including The Jack Benny Program, The Steve Allen Show, and The Jackie Gleason Show — during the mid-’60s when the show was the second-highest-rated program in the United States. One of Mansfield’s more notable appearances on a variety show was on The Ed Sullivan Show where she played violin with a six-person backup band.
In 1964, Mansfield was offered the role of Ginger Grant on the up-and-coming television sitcom Gilligan’s Island — the comic adventures of seven castaways as they attempt to survive on an island on which they had been shipwrecked. While her acting roles were beginning to fade, Mansfield ended up turning down the role as it epitomized the very stereotype she wished to rid herself of. Eventually, the part would go to Tina Louise who gained wider recognition for her portrayal as Ginger.
It was November of 1966 when Mansfield made headlines again. This time, though, it was about Mansfield’s son — Zoltan. He made news when a lion attacked him while he and his mother were visiting Jungleland USA in Thousand Oaks, California. While her acting roles were beginning to fade, Mansfield ended up turning down the role as it epitomized the very stereotype she wished to rid herself of. Eventually, the part would go to Tina Louise who gained wider recognition for her portrayal as Ginger.
The Las Vegas Hillbillys
In 1966, Cimber cast Mansfield in Single Room Furnished, a film that required the actress to portray three different characters. After that movie wrapped, Mansfield was cast opposite Mamie Van Doren and Ferlin Husky in the low-budget comedy The Las Vegas Hillbillys. Her first-ever country and western film, Mansfield — accompanied by Husky, Don Bowman, and other country musicians — promoted the film through a 29-day tour of major cities throughout the United States. Before filming began, though, Mansfield had one condition…
Mansfield vs. Van Doren
Before filming The Las Vegas Hillbillys, Mansfield said that she would not “share any screen time with the drive-in’s answer to Marilyn Monroe,” referring to actress Mamie Van Doren. Though their characters did share one scene during the film, Mansfield and Van Doren actually filmed their parts at different times to be edited together later. During this period of time, Mansfield’s wardrobe relied on the shapeless styles of the ’60s in order to hide her weight gain after the birth of her fifth child — Tony.
Attorney Turned Boyfriend
It was also around this time that Jayne had begun falling into a pit of despair — substance abuse, club brawls, and performing at cheap burlesque shows. By July ’66, Mansfield was living with her attorney turned boyfriend, Sam Brody and it was a toxic relationship, to say the least. Not only did they get into physical fights with each other but Brody also constantly mistreated Mansfield’s eldest daughter. It really comes as no surprise that Sam’s wife, Beverly Brody, filed for divorce…
Back on Stage
It seemed like Jayne Mansfield was never too far away from a stage of some kind. In 1966, the talented actress was facing something of a lull in her Hollywood career, which is something a lot of actors face. So she decided to turn her attention back to theater. This photo was taken backstage after Mansfield had and performed in a production of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Ex-husband Mickey Hargitay ended up showing up at the Westbury and greeting her with flowers.
Her Last Role
Many would agree that Mansfield’s personal life and publicity antics undoubtedly affected her career. Although she did have a few career setbacks, there’s also no doubt that she remained a highly visible celebrity during the 1960s. In early 1967, Mansfield filmed what would unknowingly be her last role — a cameo in the Gene Kelly-directed bedroom farce comedy film, Guide for the Married Man starring Inger Stevens, Walter Matthau, and Robert Morse. The opening credits even listed Mansfield as one of the technical advisers.
June 28th, 1967
It was the summer of 1967. Mansfield and Brody took a trip to Biloxi, Mississippi with three of her children — Miklós, Zoltán, and Mariska — as she had arrangements to perform at a local nightclub. On the evening of June 28th, Mansfield had two different appearances at the Gus Stevens Supper Club. As soon as she finished up with these standing engagements, she knew she had to be off to New Orleans, Louisiana for television appearances that were scheduled for the very next day.
A Fatal Accident
Once Mansfield was done performing, it was time to get on the road. Ronald B. Harrison — a driver for the nightclub — was driving Mansfield, the children, and Sam Brody in a 1966 Buick Electra. After a couple of hours on the highway, Harrison reached a dark stretch of road as they were approaching a machine releasing a thick fog to spray mosquitos. That’s when the Electra hit the trailer-truck from behind. Mansfield, Harrison, and Brody all died instantly while the kids, who were asleep in the rear seat, survived with minor injuries.
A Life Taken Too Soon
Jayne may have only been 34 years old when she passed away but there’s no denying that she left a mark on the world. As late as the mid-’80s, Mansfield had remained one of the biggest Hollywood icons. In 1980, CBS released The Jayne Mansfield Story — starring Loni Anderson playing the title role and Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mickey Hargitay. In 1988, Mansfield’s story, as well as her archival footage, were used in a television documentary. In 1999, A&E featured her life in another television series called Dangerous Curves.
The Pink Palace
Mansfield left behind a crumbling estate including the Pink Palace — after her signature color. The legendary actress bought the mansion in 1957 before renovating it to her liking. Not only did Mansfield have the whole house painted pink with cupids surrounded by pink fluorescent lights but she also refurbished the bathrooms with pink fur and a pink heart-shaped bathtub. Her second husband, Mickey — who was a plumber and carpenter before taking up bodybuilding — built the pink heart-shaped swimming pool in the backyard.
A Lasting Impact on Popular Culture
Aside from the Pink Palace — which was ultimately demolished in 2002 – Mansfield left behind her five children, a large number of followers, and an undoubtedly lasting impact on popular culture. Naturally a brunette, Mansfield made waves in the industry not only with her talent but also with her undeniably striking figure. While her career may have been short-lived and her life taken too soon, we can all agree on the fact that Mansfield’s memory will undoubtedly live on forever…
Things Could Have Been So Different
This photo was taken all the way back in 1949 when a young Jayne Mansfield didn’t see any signs of fame. It was taken a year before she eloped with 20-year-old Paul Mansfield. They had recently graduated from high school and for a while, it looked like they would stand the test of time. Had things gone a little differently for Jayne, things might have worked out between her and Paul. However, the chaotic whirlwind of her Hollywood career had other plans.