Jayne Mansfield was a phenomenal individual that was taken down by death in the prime of her life and career. She was a talented actress, who was majorly cast as a ‘sex symbol’ – a role she cultivated and perfected. She was dubbed the Hollywood ‘smartest dumb blond’ as she was said to have an IQ of 163 and spoke 5 languages (English, French, German, Italian and Spanish). With her hourglass figure, breathy baby talk, captivating sashay, and cleavage-revealing outfits, Jayne left behind a large number of followers and a lasting impact on popular culture.
Growing Up in Pennsylvania
Jayne Mansfield was born on the 19th of April, 1933 in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania as Vera Jane Palmer to parents Herbert William Palmer and Vera Jeffrey Palmer. She was an only child and although she had a humble beginning, she lived a life that elevated the status of her family in American history.
Growing up, Jayne Mansfield desired to become a Hollywood star and she worked on her dream right from her high school years at Highland Park High School where she engaged in extracurricular activities such as learning the violin, piano, and ballroom dance.
After she completed her high school, she headed over to UCLA for a summer semester before relocating to the University of Texas at Austin where she studied dramatics.
While she at the school, she worked as a nude model and was also a member of the school’s theatre society. Having developed a reputation for her beauty and attractive looks, she got her biggest exposure via Playboy magazine, which featured her as the Playmate of the Month.
It was the biggest media exposure she had at the time, and with the aid of her appearance in Playboy, Jayne Mansfield career got a significant boost and began to appear in films and TV shows, going on to star in thirty-five movies and TV shows while she was alive, including appearances in The Girl Can’t Help It, which earned her a Golden Globe award.
In addition to her acting career, Jayne Mansfield was also a singe, she recorded a number of soundtracks and released two albums before her death at the age of 34.
The Moments That Stood Out In Her Career
Despite being a versatile and talented actress, Jayne was cast in the ‘sex symbol’ stereotype almost throughout her career. While under Twentieth Century-Fox, she featured in several critically and financially successful roles.
Some of the major wins and achievements include a Golden Globe Award and Theatre World Award for Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? Jayne received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in February 1960.
She received a Silver Mask award by Italian film, radio, and TV journalists in 1962. She also received the Oscar of the Two World Award.
Jayne was named second top Playboy Playmates of all time and was the first American actress to appear nude in a mainstream American movie. She was posthumously inducted into the Texas Film Hall of Fame in 2008.
Her Love Life Was Filled With Multiple Fractured Marriages
One of the major causes of controversy in Jayne’s life among other things was her tumultuous marriages and relationships. Asides her marriages, she was known to have multiple sexual partners and was unapologetic about it as she reiterated in several interviews that she loved sex.
Jayne was legally married 3 times and birthed 5 children during these unions. Her marriages were plagued by accusations of infidelity which intermittently led to dissolution.
Her First Marriage Was To Paul Mansfield (1950-1958)
Jayne met Paul at a Christmas eve party in 1949. They quickly fell in love and were secretly married by January 28th of 1950. They had another wedding in Fort Worth, Texas in May of the same year and Jayne who was 17 was already 3 months pregnant. She had the baby (Jayne) on the 8th of November 1950.
Jayne’s aspiration of becoming an actress didn’t wane after the birth of her daughter as her husband hoped. She was determined to make it big in the movie industry and they moved to Los Angeles in 1954 for better acting prospects.
Their marriage was plagued with several rows around her infidelity and ambitions. They decided to dissolve their marriage in 1955 and it was a long and bitter divorce proceeding before it was finalized on the 8th of January 1958.
Marriage To Miklos Hargitay (1958 – 1964) Also Ended Due To Infidelity
Jayne met Mickey Hargitay – her second husband while performing at a nightclub in May 1956. Their match seemed to have been made in ‘Hollywood heaven’ as they appeared to be the perfect couple. Mickey proposed to her in an elaborate affair in November 1957, with a 10-carat diamond ring worth $5,000 then. They were married a few days after her divorce from her first husband was finalized in January 1958. Their wedding which took place at a unique glass chapel was an elaborate and very public affair. Mickey who was a well-celebrated bodybuilder appeared alongside his wife as the male lead both in movies and on stage. They made several appearances on TV shows and had several business holdings together.
During the course of their marriage, she had two well-publicized affairs with Enrico Bomba and Nelson Sardelli in 1962 and 1963. Their divorce was a well-drawn out public spectacle and was finalized in 1964. Their union produced three children – Mickey Jr (1958), Zoltan (1960), and Mariska (1964).
Open Infidelity Crashed Her Marriage To Matt Cimber (1964 – 1966)
Jayne met Matt Cimber who is an Italian born film director during the time he directed one of her stage production. They were married in 1964. Their marriage began to collapse as she carried on with her open infidelities and alcohol abuse. Another major issue that led to their marriage collapse was Jayne’s admission to Matt that she wasn’t happy being with him. They separated in July 1965 and filed for divorce in July 1966. She had one son with Matt – Tony Cimber (1965).
Over the course of her marriages, Jayne Mansfield had five children, one with her first husband, Paul Mansfield, three with her second husband, Mickey Hargitay, and her fifth child with Matt Climber named Tony Climber.
She Was Killed In a Tractor-Trailer Crash
An unfortunate auto-accident truncated what could have been a long and successful career. However, as at the time of the unfortunate accident that led to her death, Jayne’s alcoholism had degenerated into drunken brawls. She moved in with her attorney boyfriend, Sam Brody who was in the car with her during the accident on the 29th of June 1967.
According to reports, after an engagement at the Gus Stevens Supper Club in Mississippi where she made 2 appearances, she left for New Orleans in the company of Sam Brody, her driver -Ronnie Harrison, and 3 of her children (Miklos, Zoltan, and Mariska). Their vehicle crashed at very high speed into the rear of a tractor-trailer that had suddenly slowed down behind a truck that was spraying mosquito fogger.
While the 3 children asleep in the rear seat survived with minor injuries, the 3 adults in the front seat died instantly. Her funeral was held in Pennsylvania at Pen Argyl on July 3 and she was interred in the Fairview Cemetery. The crashed car was saved and collected by a private collector in Florida. It became a major roadside attraction in the 1970s.