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Jayne Mansfield: Biography and Photos

Updated on February 24, 2014


Jayne put on violin concerts for the neighborhood from her driveway in Dallas as a child.

Her daughter, Jayne Marie Mansfield, was also a Playboy Playmate and was the first featured whose mother had been a playmate, too.

Jayne's daughter, Marisky Hargitay, has played Olivia Benson on the TV drama Law and Order SVU since 1999.

To make ends meet, Jayne worked as a nude model in art classes, sold books door to door and worked as a receptionist.

Jayne was referred to as "Broadway's Smartest Dumb Blonde."

Jayne's home had a heart shaped tub and swimming pool.

Her cenotaph on Hollywood Forever Cemetery has the wrong birth year.

She had an IQ of 163.

Known for her voluptuous figure and her highly publicized measurements of 40–21–35.

Semi trucks now have a bar going across the back rear portion of the trailer to prevent accidents like the one Jayne lost her life in. The bar is often called a Mansfield Bar.

Jayne with four of her children. From left: Mariska, Jayne, Zoltan, Miklos and Jayne Marie
Jayne with four of her children. From left: Mariska, Jayne, Zoltan, Miklos and Jayne Marie | Source
Mansfield's cenotaph in Hollywood with incorrect birth year.
Mansfield's cenotaph in Hollywood with incorrect birth year. | Source

Biography Of Jayne Mansfield

Jayne Mansfield was born Vera Jayne Palmer on April 19, 1933 in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. Her father, an attorney, suffered a fatal heart attack when Jayne was only three years old. After that, her mother remarried and relocated the family to the Dallas area. She was reported to have a very high IQ and attended the University of Texas-Austin. From childhood, she studied violin, piano, viola, Spanish, German and ballroom dance.

At the tender age of 16, she married the 21 year old Paul Mansfield and had her first child, a girl they named Jayne Marie Mansfield, a year later. The couple was married for four years when they decided to separate and, when Jayne signed a seven year contract with Warner Bros. in 1955, they finalized their divorce.

From the years of 1955 to 1958 and once more in 1960, Jayne also appeared in Playboy with portions of her breast showing. The nude modeling and exposure was nothing new to Jayne who had used her body to gain attention plenty of times before, including an 'accidental' slip of her bathing suit top while in the water at a press junket for Jane Russel's movie Underwater in 1955.

In 1955, Jayne's film career finally took off and she found herself in several B Movie roles and bit parts until she left Warner Bros. to work on Broadway in the play Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? with Walter Matthau. The play was so successful, it led to a film version in which Jayne was able to reprise her role for the big screen.

Many tried to bill Jayne as the next Marilyn Monroe and pigeon hold her as a blond bombshell. While she had no problem letting her assets work for her, she struggled trying to find her identity in Hollywood. By 1959, her career seemed to be in constant decline and she was often loaned out to foreign film companies for low budget pictures.

By 1958, she had remarried and was living in Hollywood with her new husband, Hungarian actor and former Mr. Universe, Miklos "Mickey" Hargitay. The couple had three children, Miklos Jr., Zoltan and Mariska. The two divorced in 1964 and afterward, Jayne had a brief marriage (1964-1966) to Matt Cimber, a film producer, director and writer with whom she had a fifth child named Antonio in 1965.

In 1963, Jayne was convinced to appear nude in a starring role in the movie, Promises, Promises. She was the first mainstream actress to do so and it helped to reignite her film career. After that, she was offered roles opposite Dean Martin and Mamie Van Doren and, in her last filmed role, Walter Matthau.

Her final film role was a cameo in the Walter Matthau, Robert Morse comedy, A Guide for the Married Man.

Throughout her career, Jayne could also be seen on television (with stars like Bob Hope and Barry Coe), performing in nightclubs and on Broadway and in several various print publications. If nothing else, Jayne knew how to get herself out there and how to be seen. She was an incredible marketer.

The pressures of stardom and the worries of losing the career she loved led Jayne to abuse drugs, diet pills and alcohol through the later part of her life. These self destructive tendencies carried on into other parts of her life, including her marriage to Mickey Hargitay. She had several affairs and was even suspected to have had a brief affair with John F. Kennedy.

Sadly, Jayne joined the list of starts who left us all to soon. She passed away at the age of 34 on June 29, 1967 in an automobile accident. Travelling to New Orleans on Highway 90, the car Jayne, her boyfriend, driver and three of her children were riding in slammed into the back of a tractor trailer and went underneath the truck at nearly 80 MPH. All three adults in the front seat were killed instantly, while the children in the back escaped with only minor injuries. Reports quickly surfaced that Jayne had been decapitated though those stories have since proven false. She did receive severe head trauma and was killed instantly but what onlookers and photographers at the scene probably saw was her blond wig that had flown from her head to the hood of the car. She is buried in Fairview Cemetery in Pen Argyl, PA and her cenotaph is in Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood.


Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?

Being Silly with her kids on the Merv Griffin Show in 1966



Jayne Mansfield starred in 26 movies in her lifetime in addition to several TV appearances and countless magazine publications.


Female Jungle as Candy Price

Pete Kelly's Blues as Cigarette Girl

Illegal as Angel O'Hara

Hell on Frisco Bay as Mario's Dance Partner


The Bachelor (TV Movie) as Robin

The Girl Can't Help It as Jerri Jordan


The Wayward Bus as Camille Oakes

The Burglar as Gladden with Edward G. Robinson

Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? as Rita Marlowe with Tony Randall and Joan Blondell

Kiss Them For Me as Alice Kratzner with Cary Grant


The Sherriff of Fractured Jaw as Kate with Bruce Cabot


Playgirl After Dark as Midnight Franklin

It Takes A Thief as Billy

The Love of Hercules as Queen Deianira/Hippolyta


Monte Carlo (TV Movie)

The George Raft Story as Lisa Lang


It Happened in Athens as Eleni Costa


Homesick for St. Pauli as Evenyne

Promises... Promises! as Sandy Brooks with Tommy Noonan and Mickey Hargitay


Panic Button as Angela with Maurice Chevalier

Einer Frisst den abdersen as Darlene

Primitive Love as Dr. Jane


Single Room Furnished as Johnnie/Mae/Eileen

The Fat Spy as Junior Wellington with Phyllis Diller

The Las Vegas Hillbillys as Tawny


A Guide For Married Men as Girl with Harold

Documentary footage discussing the accident. Warning: Some of the scenes are graphic and/or may be hard to watch.


Jayne Mansfield was a beautiful starlet who had a passion for life and a zeal for fame. She was a devoted and loving mother and it is truly remarkable how much she achieved in just thirty-four years here on Earth. She will always be missed but lives on in her movies, photographs and appearances.


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    • To Start Again profile imageAUTHOR

      Selina Kyle 

      8 years ago

      Thanks, Kim!

      She was a very interesting lady. I found out quite a bit I didn't know while researching this hub. She was gorgeous and so smart, too.

      Thanks for stopping by! :)

    • ocfireflies profile image


      8 years ago from North Carolina

      Wow! This is such an interesting hub. My neighbor and I were just talking about her. My neighbor had a huge crush on her. I can see why.

      Voted Up!

      Best Always,



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