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Mariska Hargitay Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (4)  | Trivia (34)  | Personal Quotes (6)  | Salary (6)

Overview (4)

Born in Santa Monica, California, USA
Birth NameMariska Magdolna Hargitay
Nicknames Bubbles
Marish
Maria
Mackie
Height 5' 7½" (1.71 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Mariska (Ma-rish-ka) Magdolna Hargitay was born on January 23, 1964, in Santa Monica, California. Her parents are Mickey Hargitay and Jayne Mansfield. She is the youngest of their three children. In June 1967, Mariska and her brothers Zoltan and Mickey Jr. were in the back seat of a car when it was involved in the fatal accident which killed her mother. The children escaped with minor injuries. Her father remarried a stewardess named Ellen, and they raised the three children and gave them a normal childhood. They also financially supported the children, since Jayne Mansfield's debt-ridden estate left no money for them.

Mariska majored in theater at UCLA. Her first motion picture feature was the cult favorite, Ghoulies (1985), where she gave a memorable performance as Donna. Unlike her mother Jayne, who had changed her name, her hair color, and did nude pictorials to become a star, Mariska took a very different approach on her journey to become a star. She rejected advice to change her name and appearance. And she refused to copy her mother's sexy image by turning down nude scenes in her next film Jocks (1986). She told casting directors that she was her own person when she held onto her dark locks and athletic figure, when they were expecting another blond, buxom Jayne Mansfield. Mariska continued with her acting classes and waited on tables, while she landed forgettable roles in short-lived television shows. She appeared a few times on the nighttime soap Falcon Crest (1981). She also appeared in the hit film Leaving Las Vegas (1995), credited as 'Hooker at the bar', and in the flop film Lake Placid (1999) as Myra Okubo. Her recurring role on the top-rated show ER (1994) in 1998 gave her career enough of a jolt to land her the starring role of Det. Olivia Benson in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999), the first spin off from the excellent franchise of Law & Order (1990). The hour-long show deals with sex crimes and the detectives who solve these cases. Mariska played Olivia as a tough, compassionate detective, who did action scenes and her own stunt work. She reaped the rewards from the hit TV show, after struggling and studying her craft for fifteen years. She became the highest paid actress on television, and she won Emmy and Golden Globe awards for her performance. The show also changed her personal life, since she met her husband actor Peter Hermann on the set and married him on August 28, 2004. That same year, she appeared in the television movie Plain Truth (2004), in which she played attorney Ellie Harrison. Mariska became an activist, when fans of her show who were abused, would write to her, and she founded a non-profit organization called "Joyful Heart Foundation" to help "survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse."

Mariska gave birth to her son August in 2006. But that tremendous joy was soon followed by tremendous sadness when her beloved father Mickey died just two months later at the age of 80. Mariska and her husband Peter adopted two children, a girl named Amaya, and a boy named Andrew, within a span of few months in 2011.

Mariska speaks English, Hungarian, French, Spanish, and Italian, and her husband also speaks several languages, including his native language German. They divide their time between New York and Los Angeles.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Debby -- The Binary Vixen

Family (4)

Spouse Peter Hermann (28 August 2004 - present)  (3 children)
Children Hermann, Amaya
Hermann, Andrew
Hermann, August Miklós Friedrich
Parents Mickey Hargitay
Jayne Mansfield
Ellen Hargitay
Relatives Eddie Hargitay (cousin)
Zoltan Hargitay (sibling)
Mickey Hargitay Jr. (sibling)
Jayne Marie Mansfield (half sibling)
Tony Cimber (half sibling)
Hargitay, Tina (half sibling)

Trivia (34)

Daughter of Jayne Mansfield and Mickey Hargitay; younger sister of Zoltan Hargitay and Mickey Hargitay Jr., half-sister of Jayne Marie Mansfield (Jayne's daughter from her first marriage), Tony Cimber (from her mother's third marriage), and of Tina Hargitay (from her father's first marriage with Mary Birge, born 1949).
Replaced Gabrielle Fitzpatrick in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie (1995) as Dulcea, but her scenes were reshot with Gabrielle Fitzpatrick returning as Dulcea. In 2009, she said she was lucky enough to have a father who told her not to quit acting after that experience.
In June 1967, she and her two brothers were asleep in the back seat of a car when it smashed into the back of a trailer truck instantly killing her mother (Jayne Mansfield), the driver and Mansfield's boyfriend, attorney Sam Brody. Miraculously, the three children escaped with minor injuries. Mariska has a zig-zag scar down the side of her head from the crash and has no memory of the event.
Majored in theatre at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Won the Miss Beverly Hills 1982 pageant.
Became good friends with Maria Bello when she had a recurring role on ER (1994) in 1997-1998.
Her father was Hungarian, while her American-born mother was of seven eighths British Isles (English and Cornish), and one eighth German, ancestry. Mariska's maternal grandparents were Vera J. Palmer and Herbert W. Palmer.
On one occasion, she came upon a pregnant woman who collapsed while in New York City. When no one else came to the woman's aid, she lapsed into her character on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999) while aiding the victim.
One of People magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People in the World in 2005, 2006 and 2008.
She learned to swim at the age of two and later swam for her high school.
Founder and president of a non-profit organization to aid the victims of rape - The Joyful Heart Foundation.
Former sister-in-law of Dana Hargitay, ex-wife of her brother Miklos.
(August 28, 2004) Married Peter Hermann at California's Unitarian Historical Chapel.
First woman ever from the Law and Order franchise to receive award nominations and wins.
Gave birth, via C-section to her first child, a son, August Miklós Friedrich Hermann (10 lb., 9oz.), on June 28, 2006 at 3:21PM.
Spoke in 2007 for Girl Scouts of Greater New York Scholars Program about her career and how she became who she is.
Godmother of her Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999) co-star, Christopher Meloni's daughter Sophia.
(January 13, 2009) Suffered a partially collapsed lung, following a bad fall during a stunt.
Mariska and Peter Hermann adopted a baby girl, Amaya Josephine Hermann on April 7, 2011. Later the same year on October 19, 2011, they adopted a baby boy, Andrew Nicolas Hargitay Hermann.
She has played the same character (Detective Olivia Benson) on six different series: Law & Order (1990), Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999), Law & Order: Trial by Jury (2005), Chicago Fire (2012), Chicago P.D. (2014) and Law & Order: Organized Crime (2021).
She auditioned for the roles of Annie Porter in Speed (1994) and Jadzia Dax on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993).
Has a photograph of her mother, Jayne Mansfield, on her desk on the set of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999).
She can only remember two events from her life with her mother Jayne Mansfield, who died when Mariska was only three years old. One is when her mother served her breakfast, and the other is when she rubbed her head while they were in bed together.
In 1992, she was engaged to a studio executive, Lance Young, but later broke off the engagement.
When Jayne Mansfield was three years old, her father, who was thirty-four years old, died of a heart attack, leaving her with a shattering void in her life. In a eerie coincidence, when Mariska was three years old, her mother, who was thirty-four years old, died in a car crash. Mariska would later say that "losing my mother at such an early age is the scar of my soul".
She was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6328 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on November 8, 2013. Her star is right next to her mother Jayne Mansfield's star.
Aunt of Jianni Cimber (Tony's daughter), Brandon and Mickey Hargitay III.
Mariska trained with Joanne Baron in the two-year Meisner program.
She is a trained rape crisis counselor.
Directed Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999)'s 400th episode.
Is good friends with singer Taylor Swift, who named her pet cat Olivia Benson, in tribute to Mariska's character on SVU. Likewise, Hargitay also appeared in the music video for Swift's song, "Bad Blood", as "Justice".
With the premiere of SVU's 21st season in 2019, she broke the record for most seasons playing the same character (Olivia Benson) consecutively, after James Arness and Kelsey Grammer.
She remains the only original cast member of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999) to still be with the series. Christopher Meloni left the show after season twelve while Dann Florek and Richard Belzer both departed mid-way through season fifteen.
Born at 5:58 AM (PST).

Personal Quotes (6)

Everything has combined to make my life in New York an amazing experience. I told my manager a few years ago that I wanted to move here and try acting in the theater. Then this show came up. Now I'm in this show that means something to me and a lot of other people.
[Part of her 2005 Golden Globe acceptance speech] Fifty years ago, my mother stood on this stage accepting this award. She was fortunate enough to have my dad with her. Fifty years later, I'm fortunate enough to have my dad with me. I love you, Dad.
[on the disturbing aspects of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999)] When I read the script sometimes, it's like "Christ! Enough!". I can't sleep at night sometimes. There's the occasional script that just hammers you, that you can't shower off.
[on her mother Jayne Mansfield] I think that she was a woman who was way before her time, because I don't know how somebody can have five children and yet still be a sex symbol! She was just amazing.
[Her tearful acceptance speech when she received the Muse Award from the New York Women in Film in 2012] My mother was the actress Jayne Mansfield, and she died when I was just three years old. And so on this day when I find myself in this room full of powerful forces, personified as women, I miss her very much, and I wish she was here.
[on dealing with sexual offences] Society continues to misplace blame and shame on survivors - both women and men - on college campuses and everywhere else. That has to end. We must confront the myths and excuses that help perpetuate sexual assault. We must speak out about these issues boldly and often, because criminals thrive when we are silent, when we are reluctant to engage, when we insist that these issues are too murky to sort out.

Salary (6)

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999) $350,000 /episode (2007-08)
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999) $400,000 /episode (2009-10)
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999) $395,000 /episode (2010-11)
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999) $395,000 per episode (2011-2012)
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999) $385,000 per episode (2012-2013)
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999) $400,000 per episode (2013-2014)

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