The Life And Loves Of Jayne Mansfield, The Biggest Actress Of The ’50s and ’60s

Published on 05/24/2020
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Jayne Mansfield was one of the biggest stars of the ‘50s and ‘60s. Even though she had a fairly short career, there is no denying the fact that she had a huge impact on the entertainment industry. Taken too soon, this gorgeous actress left an unparalleled legacy on the industry. Read on to learn more about the fascinating life of this talented performer!

Meet Vera Jayne Palmer

Jayne Mansfield was born on the 19th of April 1933 in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. In those days, she went by the name Vera Jayne Palmer. At the age of three, however, her family decided to relocate to Dallas. Her dad was an attorney-turned-musician, so we are not shocked to hear that she developed a love for music at a very young age. At the age of seven, she was already playing the violin. Five years after that, she started to take ballroom dance lessons. Not long after this, she started to learn the piano and the viola as well. As you can see, she was born to perform.

Meet Vera Jayne Palmer

Meet Vera Jayne Palmer

More Than Just A Pretty Face

This is likely going to come as a shock to most people because Jayne was typecast as just another “dumb blonde.” Mind you, this is not true at all! It was true that she was gorgeous and talented but let us not forget that she was also intelligent. Yes, beauty and brains are not mutually exclusive at all. We will have you know that her IQ was 163. On top of that, she spoke English, French, Italian, Spanish, and German.

More Than Just A Pretty Face

More Than Just A Pretty Face

Her First Trip To Hollywood

She was 13 years old when her mother took her to Hollywood. The two of them spent a mother-daughter bonding session at Hollywood Brown Derby. This was the moment that Jayne noticed her favorite national radio star! She asked him for his autograph and knew that she also wanted to be a star. The young girl even told her mother that there would come a time when people would ask her for an autograph. As well all know, this ended up being a reality for her!

Her First Trip To Hollywood

Her First Trip To Hollywood

Her First Husband

On Christmas Eve of 1949, Jayne was 16 years old when she and Paul Mansfield first met at a party. They were popular students at Highland Park High School. Five months after that, the two of them got married when she was 17 years old and he was 20. In November 1950, the couple welcomed their first kid into the world: Jayne Marie Mansfield. Not long after this, Jayne and Paul started studying acting at Southern Methodist University. She stopped in 1951 when she had to move to LA to go to UCLA for a summer term.

Her First Husband

Her First Husband

Winning The Miss California Pageant

Mansfield had to leave her husband and daughter in Texas so that she could go to the School of Theater, Film, and Television at the University of California Los Angeles. During her time at the prestigious institution, she thought that it was going to be fun to try her luck at the Miss California competition. She kept mum on her marital status and won the local round. Soon after that, however, she had to withdraw from the pageant. Paul learned of it and made her resign.

Winning The Miss California Pageant

Winning The Miss California Pageant

Attending The University of Texas

In 1952, she moved to Austin, Texas so that she could be with her family. While living there, she enrolled in the dramatics program at the University of Texas. She posed as a nude art model, worked a reception job at a dance studio, and sold books to make ends meet. Aside from that, she also joined Curtain Club, a popular theatrical society on campus. The club also included the likes of composer Harvey Schmidt, lyricist Tom Jones, and actors Pat Hingle and Rip Torn.

Attending The University of Texas

Attending The University of Texas

Living In Camp Gordon, Georgia

It looked like she was finally coming into her own at the University of Texas. However, things changed when Paul had to serve in the Korean War as part of the United States Army Reserve in early 1952. He was stationed in Georgia, and Jayne followed him there. She spent a year at a United States Army training facility called Camp Gordon. While she was living there, she got to join a small local production of the 1934 musical Anything Goes.

Living In Camp Gordon, Georgia

Living In Camp Gordon, Georgia

Her First Notable Performance

The year after that, she returned to Dallas. It was around this time that she got to train under Baruch Lumet, the actor father of Sidney Lumet. He also happened to be the Dallas Institute of Performing Arts founder. This was how she caught the eye of industry people when she joined a production of Death of a Sales with the Knox Street Theater under the direction of Lumet. As a matter of fact, her performance had been so good that Paramount Pictures asked her to audition for them!

Her First Notable Performance

Her First Notable Performance

Trying Out For The Big Studios

In April 1954, she auditioned not only at Paramount Pictures but also at Warner Brothers. She was trained by Lumet for the first test, where she had to perform a Joan of Arc sketch for Milton Lewis, a casting director. She was told that she was wasting her talents. Lewis told Mansfield to return the following week, this time to do the piano scene in The Seven Year Itch. She did not impress this time, but she reached the conclusion that it was time for her to dye her brown hair blonde.

Trying Out For The Big Studios

Trying Out For The Big Studios

They Decided To Move To California

While she was busy auditioning for these film studios, her husband came back from his duty. He decided to move to California when he realized that Jayne was still interested even though they already had a child. The couple moved to Van Nuys, Los Angeles but left their daughter with her grandparents in the meantime. They stayed in a small apartment but took their pets with them. At the time, they had a Great Dane, two chihuahuas, three cats, a rabbit, and a poodle that they dyed pink!

They Decided To Move To California

They Decided To Move To California

Dying Her Hair Platinum Blonde

While at Los Angeles, Jayne turned her hair into a platinum blonde color. This was how she became a “blonde bombshell” and joined the likes of Betty Grable, Mamie Van Doren, and Marilyn Monroe. The stereotype was defined by a curvaceous figure, light hair, and a bimbo personality. If you watch projects from the ‘50s, you are going to find these personalities everywhere. It is not a reach to call it a cult since it was repeated consistently from that moment onwards.

Dying Her Hair Platinum Blonde

Dying Her Hair Platinum Blonde

Her Phenomenal Figure

Her hourglass figure had become the subject of many conversations. The public and media were both so fascinated that the press routinely published her measurements. They said that her bust had been a huge force in the rise of the ‘50s brassieres. There are also claims that she and Marilyn Monroe helped the rise of the bikini. By the ‘60s, however, people started to like waif-like features of celebrities such as Audrey Hepburn and Twiggy. Despite this, people are still drawn to her voluptuous figure up to this day.

Her Phenomenal Figure

Her Phenomenal Figure

Taking On Various Odd Jobs

She had to move to California for the first screen test, but this was only the beginning for her. She had to pay the bills and put her name out there as much as she could, so she took on several odd jobs. She did not just teach dance and sell popcorn at the Stanley Warner Theater, but she also landed a modeling job with Blue Book Model Agency on the site. She did photography for Esther Williams’ Trail Restaurant too.

Taking On Various Odd Jobs

Taking On Various Odd Jobs

She Was The Playmate Of The Month

Hugh Hefner started to publish Playboy in the ‘50s. It was a runaway hit thanks to its early features of people like Bettie Page, Marilyn Monroe, and Jayne Mansfield. In February 1955, she was discovered by Hefner himself and was the Playboy Playmate for that month. She got to appear in the magazine a few more times, and this exposure helped her get her foot in the door. It did not take long before the offers started to come one after the other…

She Was The Playmate Of The Month

She Was The Playmate Of The Month

Going Through Relationship Problems

After a couple of marital woes, Jayne and Paul wanted to dissolve the marriage. It had something to do with her infidelities and high ambitions. The process turned out to be very long. In February 1955, she filed for separation. In August the following year, Paul filed for custody of their daughter and said that Jayne was not fit to be a mother thanks to her nude photos in Playboy. By 1958, the two of them were officially divorced. However, Jayne decided to still use the last name “Mansfield.”

Going Through Relationship Problems

Going Through Relationship Problems

Time To Start Afresh

This was a totally new experience for her. Even though she was no longer with Paul, Jayne knew that it was going to give her a fresh start. She was also determined to give their child the best possible life. Paul also had to start over and returned to Dallas. Jayne got to keep their daughter, with whom she lived in Los Angeles. Sadly, it had been quite a challenge for one of the most famous poster girls to find some semblance of normality.

Time To Start Afresh

Time To Start Afresh

The Early Days Of Her Career

Even though her first marriage met its end, her career had only just begun. In 1955, Jayne got her film debut by taking on a supporting part in Female Jungle. It was a low-budget drama movie that they finished in only a span of 10 days. In February of that year, her publicist and manager James Bryon landed her a seven-year deal with Warner Brothers. It was how Jayne snagged two films. One of them was only a small role, while the other did not get released for two years.

The Early Days Of Her Career

The Early Days Of Her Career

On The Broadway Stage

In 1955, she got to work on a noir film called The Burglar. It was the film adaption of the novel by David Goodis that was produced by Louis W. Kellman, who said that he discovered the actress. During the filming, Mansfield also landed the role of Rita Marlowe in a New York Broadway production of a comedy called Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? by George Axelrod. Only weeks after the news came out that she was going to be in it, Warner Brothers made the decision to drop her.

On The Broadway Stage

On The Broadway Stage

She Thoroughly Enjoyed It

It is no secret that Jayne Mansfield did not stay at Warner Brothers for a very long time. Despite this, the actress was glad to have spent the start of her career at the film studios. She did not just enjoy meeting the people in the company, but she also enjoyed walking around the studio and holding picnics in the gardens. Take a look at this photo, which shows the actress with her chihuahua. How cute is that?

She Thoroughly Enjoyed It

She Thoroughly Enjoyed It

Bit Parts In Film Projects

It was a crazy year full of various twists and turns, but she also got to lock down on several minor film roles while she was with Warner Brothers. In 1995, the actress worked really hard and got to star in three movies that the studio produced. We are talking about Pete Kelly’s Blues, Hell on Frisco Bay, and Illegal. Even though these are not the biggest titles you will find on her filmography, they helped her make ends meet.

Bit Parts In Film Projects

Bit Parts In Film Projects

Meeting Her Second Husband

Even though she was dropped by Warner Brothers, she was still able to rack up acting jobs and men. In May 1956, she met Mickey Hargitay. He eventually went on to be her second husband! The blonde bombshell saw him at a New York City nightclub called Latin Quarter. As part of the chorus line, he was performing in Mae West’s show. He was also a bodybuilder who brought home the Mr. Universe crown in 1955. It was pretty much a given that Mansfield would fall for him right away!

Meeting Her Second Husband

Meeting Her Second Husband

Working For 20th Century Fox

Not only did he steal her heart in May 1956, but the actress also snagged a six-year deal with 20th Century Fox. At the time, she was under a Broadway contract and kept performing in Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter until September. It was her first big stage performance, and her performance landed her critical acclaim and popularity among the members of the public. She brought home a Golden Globe and a Theater World Award for her performance as well!

Working For 20th Century Fox

Working For 20th Century Fox

Her First Starring Role On The Big Screen

When her contract with Broadway was over, she moved on by bringing Jerri Jordan to live in a 1956 Frank Tashlin film called The Girl Can’t Help It. When it was released, it became one of the biggest financial and critical successes of the year. Soon after that, Fox promoted her as “Marilyn Monroe king-sized” in an attempt to bring Monroe back to the studio to finish the rest of her contract. In the same year, Mansfield snagged a TV gig by playing the lead role in The Bachelor.

Her First Starring Role On The Big Screen

Her First Starring Role On The Big Screen

She Got Tons Of Publicity

It is common knowledge that she had one of the strongest drives in the industry back then. Jayne Mansfield wanted to get as much exposure as she could, so she gave up her privacy and let photographers take as many photos as they wanted. With the help of her publicist and his team, she was able to appear in around 2,500 newspaper photos. On top of that, there were around 122,000 newspaper copy lines about her written from September 1956 to May 1957.

She Got Tons Of Publicity

She Got Tons Of Publicity

Her Career Was Going Strong

Jayne Mansfield had another busy but fruitful year in 1957. For one thing, she snagged a role in the film adaptation of John Steinbeck’s 1947 novel The Wayward Bus. Her incredible performance earned her yet another Golden Globe. Around this time, she also got to make her first British TV appearance in which she played the piano and violin, as well as recited Shakespeare. However, this was not the best part of the year for the talented performer just yet.

Her Career Was Going Strong

Her Career Was Going Strong

Going On Tour

She spent a lot of time portraying Rita Marlowe in Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? on the Broadway stage. It made sense for Frank Tashlin to cast the actress in the 1957 big screen adaptation of the show! Soon after that, Fox launched her North American tour, as well as her 40-day country tour across 16 countries in Europe. While on there, she also got to attend the film premiere in London and even met Queen Elizabeth II. The actress told Her Majesty, “You are so beautiful.” The Queen then answered, “So are you.”

Going On Tour

Going On Tour

A Power Couple

After coming back from her European tour, she got engaged to Mickey. At the time, it did not look like life could be better for her. He also made his film debut by taking on a small part in Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? It did not take long before they became one of the most popular love teams around. The couple did stage show tours and made headlines for their unbelievable performances. One example would be the show in which Hargitay tossed her around and spun Mansfield in circles!

A Power Couple

A Power Couple

Joining The Touring Team Of The Bob Hope Show

In November 1957, one of her nightclub acts made an appearance in a special episode of The Perry Como Show. Jayne Mansfield also made a guest appearance on several episodes of The Bob Hope Show. Through the project, she got to tour the United States Pacific Command with Bob Hope for 13 days. She was accompanied by the comedian himself, of course. Aside from that, the actress appeared in game shows as a regular panelist on Down You Go, a team captain on The Match Game, and a special mystery guest on What’s My Line? as well.

Joining The Touring Team Of The Bob Hope Show

Joining The Touring Team Of The Bob Hope Show

Another Baby On The Way

Even though she snagged a big part in Kiss Them for Me, the 1957 film was a flop at the box office. This basically became one of the final attempts made by 20th Century Fox to bring her forward. Despite this, she still got a lead role in The Sheriff of Fractured Jaw the following year. It was a Western comedy that became her final mainstream success on the big screen. She had to reject Columbia Pictures when she was offered to star in Bell, Book, and Candle because she was pregnant. It was her second child, but it was the first one between her and Hargitay.

Another Baby On The Way

Another Baby On The Way

Tying The Knot With Mickey

Only days after the divorce from her first husband was finalized, Jayne Mansfield and Mickey Hargitay tied the knot at the Wayfarers Chapel in California in January 1958. It was a gorgeous chapel built entirely with glass, so the press and public were able to watch the wedding. The actress looked gorgeous in a gown made by a costume designer from 20th Century Fox. It was a pink skintight number made of sequins and boasted a 30-yard pink tulle flounce.

Tying The Knot With Mickey

Tying The Knot With Mickey

Her Supposed Oscars Orchestral Performance

In 1958, she was slated to do a live orchestral performance at the 31st Academy Awards ceremony. However, it was canceled by Jerry Wald, a show producer who wanted to ensure that everything ran on time. The show was over with 20 minutes to spare, so host Jerry Lewis needed to find out how to use up the extra time. At any rate, Jayne Mansfield was meant to play violin alongside other celebrities. Aside from her, Jerry Lewis was meant to be conductor, Fred Astaire was supposed to play drums, Jack Benny playing first violin, Dick Powell playing the trumpet, Robert Mitchum playing woodwind.

Her Supposed Oscars Orchestral Performance

Her Supposed Oscars Orchestral Performance

On The Set With Her Husband

Mickey Hargitay got to play the male lead to his wife in L’Amore Primitivo and The Loves of Hercules. On top of that, he played a major supporting character in Promises! Promises! He also got to play the lead in many of his wife’s nightclub acts such as The House of Love and The Tropicana Holiday. The couple became even more popular thanks to their personal appearances in TV shows such as Bob Hope Christmas Specials.

On The Set With Her Husband

On The Set With Her Husband

Their Various Business Holdings

When the couple is not performing together, they spent much of their time working on several joint business holdings. The list includes Jayne Mansfield Productions, Eastland Savings and Loan, and the Hargitay Exercise Equipment Company. They also penned an autobiographical called Jayne Mansfield’s Wild, Wild World, which had 32 pages of film photographs printed on glossy paper. We know that it sounds busy enough as it is, but she was also making a lot of TV appearances back then.

Their Various Business Holdings

Their Various Business Holdings

Zoltan Hargitay

Around this time, Mickey Hargitay and Jayne Mansfield had a second child. They welcomed little Zoltan Hargitay to the world on August 1, 1960. Based on the photo below, it looked like the actress had no problems raising a modern family! She was raising children she had with the different men but held down a stable relationship with her current husband. However, they had no idea at the time that the future had many twists and turns for the entire family. This was especially true for Zoltan, as you will later learn.

Zoltan Hargitay

Zoltan Hargitay

Bringing Home The Bacon

Many of the most memorable performances Jayne made in TV dramas include Burke’s Law, Kraft Mystery Theater, Alfred Hitchcock Presents The Red Skelton Hour, and Follow The Sun. This is thought to mark the beginning of a “new and dramatic Jayne Mansfield.” It pretty much helped her career go to the next level. At that point, she was making $20,000 per episode of TV shows. This is the same as $177,000 in today’s currency! This is not bad at all.

Bringing Home The Bacon

Bringing Home The Bacon

Now A Household Name

Thanks to the media attention that she was getting, Jayne Mansfield earned household name status in no time. By 1960, she would top press polls in words in print. Not only that, but she also became the most photographed celebrity in Hollywood at the time! However, the press was not always kind to her. It is hard to please everyone, after all. Sadly, the actress had to deal with bad press like any other celeb as well. Let us see what dirt they had on her in those days…

Now A Household Name

Now A Household Name

Her Intentional Wardrobe Malfunctions

Jayne Mansfield received the same press exposure that the other stars did, but that was not all. She had a reputation for her wardrobe malfunctions and clothing that would burst at the seams. If you need an example, you do not need to go further than the low-cut dress she wore to a dinner that was hosted by Paramount Pictures. Held at the Romanoff’s restaurant in Beverly Hills, it was meant to welcome Sophia Loren to the Hollywood scene. Let us just say that things took for a worse when the actress started to take the reins of her publicity without getting professional advice.

Her Intentional Wardrobe Malfunctions

Her Intentional Wardrobe Malfunctions

Even More Media Attention

The actress once went to Silver Springs, Florida for the promotion of Underwater, her upcoming movie. She intentionally put on a too-small bikini that a friend lent her. The red top came off as she dove into the swimming pool and created a media frenzy in the process. It was around that time that she also donned a dress that kept dropping to her waist in just one evening. This kept happening when she was at a movie party, as well as later when she was at a nightclub.

Even More Media Attention

Even More Media Attention

Her Contract Was Not Renewed

Compared to her time at Warner Brothers, things were much better for Jayne Mansfield at 20th Century Fox. In 1962, her deal with the studio expired. Sadly, the studio did not have good news for the actress because it did not renew her contract. It meant that she was out of work and desperately needed to look for something to do. She had no choice but to try new ventures such as making appearances on TV shows and guest-starring in various TV shows.

Her Contract Was Not Renewed

Her Contract Was Not Renewed

Appearing In A New Show

When 1962 rolled in, Jayne Mansfield had been making ends meet by appearing in TV shows such as The Alfred Hitchcock Hour. If you are not familiar with it, this was an anthology series covering thrillers, dramas, and mysteries. She appeared in an episode titled “Hangover.” It revolved around a man who forgot what happened the previous day and needed to figure out what took place. You should check it out because we will not tell you any further than that!

Appearing In A New Show

Appearing In A New Show

She Pulled More Risky Stunts

Soon, Jayne Mansfield tried to pull riskier stunts. There was a time when she arrived topless at a Mardi Gras party in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She also shimmied out of a polka-dot dress when she was at a nightclub in Rome in June 1962. Only three years after she made her debut in Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?, the actress became known as one of the most controversial stars of the decade. At that point, however, the media condemned these little stunts of her.

She Pulled More Risky Stunts

She Pulled More Risky Stunts

She Had A Number Of Affairs

She was already one of the biggest and most scandalous stars when the marriage between her and Mickey started to fall apart. By 1962, she was having an affair with Enrico Bomba, an Italian production manager and producer. The year after that, she embarked on another one with Nelson Sardelli, a singer that she claimed she wanted to marry when the divorce was finalized. Even though the divorce went through in 19623, the actress learned that she and Mickey were expecting their third child!

She Had A Number Of Affairs

She Had A Number Of Affairs

Pushing More And More Boundaries

By now, you can probably tell that Jayne Mansfield was the sort of person who pushed boundaries in nearly every aspect of her career. This was most evident when she starred in the movie Promises! Promises! Viewers felt intrigued by this decision since she showed a lot of skin over the course of the movie. As you can imagine, this was a first in Hollywood history. In those days, censorship organizations thought that it was explicit content and banned the footage across the globe.

Pushing More And More Boundaries

Pushing More And More Boundaries

Bad Timing For A Pregnancy

After she and Mickey got divorced, she found out that there was a bun in the oven. Her career would have been in danger if she was an unwed mother, so they announced that they were married still. About the same time, she was picked to play the late Marilyn Monroe in a 1964 romantic comedy film called Kiss Me, Stupid opposite Dean Martin. However, she had to turn this down thanks to her pregnancy. The role eventually went to actress Kim Novak.

Bad Timing For A Pregnancy

Bad Timing For A Pregnancy

Giving Birth To Mariska Hargitay

Jayne Mansfield gave birth to the youngest of her kids with Mickey: Mariska Hargitay. If this name sounds familiar to you, it is probably because she is also an award-winning Hollywood star. She is best known for playing Captain Olivia Benson in the hit police procedural Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. The younger woman has been portraying this role ever since the NBC drama debuted in September 1999. To this day, it is the longest-running American live-action series! We have no doubt that her mother would be proud of her if she were still alive.

Giving Birth To Mariska Hargitay

Giving Birth To Mariska Hargitay

Getting Married For The Third Time

In August 1964, the divorce between Mickey and Jayne was recognized in an official capacity. Even though the court decreed that he was the legal guardian of the children, they still lived with the actress. The month after that, Mansfield tied the knot with an Italian-born director by the name of Matt Cimber. They started seeing each other while they worked on a stage production of Bus Stop. When the two of them were married, he started to manage her career. However, this is not exactly a good thing because he guided her through some tasteless projects…

Getting Married For The Third Time

Getting Married For The Third Time

It Was Not All Bad

Even though there are not plenty of information on the internet about their short marriage, we do know that it led to one good thing at the very least. Shortly before they went their own ways, the couple had a kid in 1965. They called him Antonio Raphael Ottaviano, although he was better known under the name Tony Cimber. Matt decided to raise the baby boy with Christy Hilliard Hanak, who was his third wife.

It Was Not All Bad

It Was Not All Bad

Going Through Yet Another Divorce

It did not take long before their marriage started to disintegrate. Some of the factors that came into play would be her open infidelities, substance abuse, and disclosure that she had only been happy with Nelson Sardelli, her former lover. In July 1965, the couple decided to split up only ten months after their wedding. However, their son was only born three months after that. In the same year, Jane Mansfield started to look at a musical career.

Going Through Yet Another Divorce

Going Through Yet Another Divorce

Working With Jimi Hendrix

You might be surprised to hear this, but rock icon Jimi Hendrix played bass and added lead vocals for the actress on two songs: “As The Clouds Drift By” and “Suey.” This happened during his days as a session musician. The tracks were released by London Records as 45-rpm singles. Steven Roby, a Hendrix historian, said that this happened because the musician and the actress were managed by the same person. Apart from this, Jayne also recorded a German song called “Wo ist der Mann.” It was a big hit!

Working With Jimi Hendrix

Working With Jimi Hendrix

Appearing In Variety Shows

Jayne Mansfield was a very talented woman. She did only record music, but she also showed off her instrumental skills on a number of variety shows such as The Jack Benny Program, and The Steve Allen Show. She was also on The Jackie Gleason Show when it was the second-highest-rated show in the US back in the ‘60s. One of the biggest appearances that she made took place in The Ed Sullivan Show. She showed off her violin skills with a six-person band.

Appearing In Variety Shows

Appearing In Variety Shows

She Turned Down Gilligan’s Island

In 1964, she was asked to play Ginger Grant on the hit TV sitcom Gilligan’s Island. We are sure that you have at least heard of this show, which revolves around seven castaways trying to live on an island after they got shipwrecked. Even though her career was starting to fade, she decided to turn it down. After all, the role was the epitome of the stereotype she wanted to get rid of. In the end, this part went to Tina Louise. The actress got wide recognition for her performance in the role.

She Turned Down Gilligan’s Island

She Turned Down Gilligan’s Island

The Fiasco At Jungleland USA

Jayne Mansfield started making headlines once more in November 1966. This was different because it had something to do with Zoltan, her son. The story revolved around the lion attack that he suffered when they were at Jungleland USA in Thousand Oaks, California. Among other things, the young boy had a skull fracture, puncture wounds, and a slash on his left cheek. The good news is that he was able to recover after this, although he had to undergo major operations to do so.

The Fiasco At Jungleland USA

The Fiasco At Jungleland USA

Starring In The Las Vegas Hillbillys

Matt Cimber cast Jayne Mansfield in a film called Single Room Furnished. She had to play three separate characters in it! After they were done shooting the movie, she was cast in a low-budget comedy called The Las Vegas Hillbillys opposite Ferlin Husky and Mamie Van Doren. This was her first country and western project! Together with the cast and country musicians, she promoted it on a 29-day tour across major cities in the United States. She just had one condition prior to filming…

Starring In The Las Vegas Hillbillys

Starring In The Las Vegas Hillbillys

She Asked For One Condition

Before she worked on The Las Vegas Hillbillys, she said that she did not want to “share any screen time with the drive-in’s answer to Marilyn Monroe.” She had been talking about Mamie Van Doren! Even though characters were in one scene together, the actresses actually had to film their parts separately and had to be edited later on. Around the same time, her wardrobe was full of shapeless clothes that were in vogue during the ‘60s. This helped her conceal her weight gain after her fifth birth.

She Asked For One Condition

She Asked For One Condition

Dating Her Attorney

Around the same time, Jayne Mansfield started to go on a downward spiral. Aside from her substance abuse and club brawls, she was also doing cheap burlesque performances. She was living with Sam Brody, her attorney-turned-boyfriend by July 1966. It was not a healthy relationship at all. They did not just get physically violent with each other, but he also mistreated her eldest daughter. With this in mind, we are not shocked to hear that Beverly Brody, his wife, filed for divorce.

Dating Her Attorney

Dating Her Attorney

Going Back To The Stage

Despite everything that was going on, it looked like she was always on some kind of stage. In 1996, Jayne Mansfield was going through a lull in her career. Many actors have to deal with this, but it made her go back to the theater. The photo below was taken backstage after she finished a performance in a Gentlemen Prefer Blondes production. We think that it is sweet that her ex Mickey Hargitay went to Westbury and gave her flowers after the show!

Going Back To The Stage

Going Back To The Stage

It Was Her Last Role

A lot of people will agree that her publicity antics and personal problems had a bad effect on her career. Even though she dealt with a few setbacks, there is no doubt that she was one of the most visible celebs of the ‘60s. In early 1967, she filmed what became her last role. She had a cameo in a comedy film called Guide for the Married Man. Directed by Gene Kelly, it starred Walter Matthau, Robert Morse, and Inger Stevens. In the opening credits, Mansfield is listed as a technical adviser.

It Was Her Last Role

It Was Her Last Role

The Beginning Of The End

In the summer of 1967, she and Brody went to Biloxi, Mississippi. They were accompanied by three of her kids: Mariska, Miklos, and Zoltan. They made this trip because she was scheduled to perform at a nightclub there. She had two separate appearances at the Gus Stevens Supper Club on the evening of June 28. After finishing these prior engagements, the actress had to head off to New Orleans. After all, she had TV appearances scheduled over there for the following day!

The Beginning Of The End

The Beginning Of The End

The Tragic Incident

As soon as she was done performing, the family was back on the road. Ronald B. Harrison, who was a driver for the nightclub, had been driving that 1966 Buick Electra that carried Jayne Mansfield, Sam Brody, and the children. After a few hours on the highway, they reached a dark stretch of road and approached a machine that was pumping out a thick fog to get rid of mosquitos. It was that moment when he hit the trailer-truck. Mansfield, Brody, and Harrison died on the spot. The children, who had been asleep in the backseat, survived and only suffered minor injuries.

The Tragic Incident

The Tragic Incident

She Was Taken Much Too Soon

Jayne was only 34 years old at the time of her passing. Despite this, we cannot deny that her legacy lives on. She continued to be one of the biggest icons in Hollywood as late as the mid-‘80s. CBS also released a documentary called The Jayne Mansfield Story in 1980. Loni Anderson brought the late actress to life, while Arnold Schwarzenegger played Mickey Hargitay. Eight years later, the archival footage of the show was used in a TV documentary. A&E also featured her in a different TV show with the title Dangerous Curves in 1999.

She Was Taken Much Too Soon

She Was Taken Much Too Soon

Her Pink Palace

Jayne Mansfield had a crumbling estate, which included the Pink Palace. The actress purchased this mansion in 1957 and renovated it to suit her liking. She painted the entire house pink and added cupids surrounded by fluorescent lights in the same color. Aside from that, she refurbished the bathrooms with a pink heart-shaped bathtub and pink fur. Mickey, her second husband, had been a carpenter and plumber before he took up bodybuilding. He was to one who built her pink heart-shaped swimming pool!

Her Pink Palace

Her Pink Palace

How Things Could Have Been

The photo below was taken in 1949. This was back when Jayne Mansfield was only a young girl who had no idea what life had in store for her. It was taken one year before she and Paul Mansfield eloped! At the time, they had just finished high school and looked like their relationship was going to stay blissfully happy. If things went differently for her, maybe everything would have worked out between them. However, it looked like her chaotic whirlwind of an acting career had different plans for her.

How Things Could Have Been

How Things Could Have Been

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