Mariska Hargitay's mother Jayne Mansfield

As the longtime star of Law & Order: SVU, Mariska Hargitay is famous in her own right. But Hargitay’s mom, a 1950s Hollywood icon, might be even more well-known than the SVU actress. Keep reading to learn all about Mariska Hargitay’s mom.

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (known as Law & Order: SVU or just SVU), is NBC’s crime drama created by Dick Wolf’s Wolf Entertainment. It’s the first spin-off of Law & Order and follows a group of specially trained detectives in the New York City Police Department that investigate sexually related crimes. Hargitay has portrayed Commanding Officer (and former Detective) Olivia Benson of the Manhattan Special Victims unit since the very first season in 1999. “I read the script and I just—I knew in my gut that I had to do this role. I had never been so excited about it,” the actress told The Late Show with Stephen Colbert in May 2019. “And the thing that was interesting is that my agent called me, and he said, ‘Maris, you know it’s very dark subject matter. I don’t know if it’s your thing. I don’t know if it’s going to be your bag, it’s super dark.’ I read it and just, you know, chills. And I knew I had to do it.”

The actress is married to actor Peter Hermann, who is best known for his role in Younger. The couple met on the set of SVU in early 2002. They dated for about two years, then got married in Santa Barbara, California, in 2004. They have three children: son August Miklos Hermann, 17, daughter Amaya Josephine Hermann, 12, and son Andrew Nicholas Hermann, 11. (Amaya and Andrew are both adopted.) “Our family is so perfect, or at least perfect for me,” she told People in March 2018. “The beauty is that families are made in so many different ways, and that was my reality as a child. Growing up, my family was made in such an inter­esting and unique way, and now I have that with my own family, and so I under­stand it. It’s been amazing.”

Want to know about Mariska Hargitay’s mom, Jayne Mansfield? Keep reading to learn more about the late actress and Playboy model.

Who is Mariska Hargitay’s mom, Jayne Mansfield?

Mariska Hargitay's mother Jayne Mansfield

Who is Mariska Hargitay’s mother, Jayne Mansfield? Jayne Mansfield was an American actress, Playboy playmate and nude model who was a sex symbol in the 1950s and early 1960s. She appeared in several hits on Broadway and the box office, including the play Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? and the film adaptation of the same name. Her other notable roles include The Girl Can’t Help It, The Wayward Bus, Too Hot to Handle and Promises! Promises!

Mansfield was married three times — all of which ended in divorce. She first married public relations professional Paul Mansfield (she took his last name and used it throughout her career), and they had one daughter, Jayne Marie Mansfield, in November 1950. The “Blonde Bombshell” met her second husband, actor and body builder Mickey Hargitay, as the Mae West Revue in 1956, where Mickey was performing. They got married in January 1958, but divorced in 1964 after having three children, including Mariska, Zoltan Hargitay and Mickey Hargitay Jr. Finally, Jayne  married director Matt Climber in 1965 and divorced him in 1966 (they had one son, Antonio).

How did Mariska Hargitay’s mom, Jayne Mansfield, die? 

Jayne Mansfield with Kids, including Mariska Hargitay

How did Mariska Hargitay’s mom, Jayne Mansfield, die? Mansfield was killed in a car crash in 1967, along with her boyfriend at the time, Sam Brody, and their driver, Ronald B. Harrison. Mansfield was on her way to New Orleans from Biloxi, Mississippi, where she was performing an engagement at a local nightclub. While in route New Orleans for a TV appearance, an Electra hit their trailer-truck from behind. A thick white fog that was used to spray mosquitoes may have obscured the driver’s view. Mariska (who was only three years old) and her brothers were in the car at the time, but miraculously survived the fatal accident.

In an interview with People in March 2018, Mariska also opened up about losing her mother at a young age. “The way I’ve lived with loss is to lean into it. As the saying goes, the only way out is through,” she told the publication. “In my life, certainly I’ve tried to avoid pain, loss, feeling things. But I’ve learned instead to real­ly lean into it, because sooner or later you have to pay the piper. I’m not saying it’s easy, and it certainly hasn’t been for me. There’s been a lot of darkness. But on the other side things can be so bright.” The actress added: “Someone once said about [remembering] my mother: ‘All you have to do is look in the mirror.’”

In honor in what would have been her mother’s 90th birthday, the actress shared an Instagram post with a photo of her late mother. “Happy birthday Mama. We live to love you more each day,” she wrote in the caption. After her mother’s death, the actress was raised in Los Angeles by her dad and her stepmother, Ellen Siano, along with her two brothers and three half siblings. Her father passed in 2006 due to a long illness.

Law & Order: SVU airs on Thursdays at 9 p.m. on NBC.

Ever wonder who the stars of your favorite Law & Order series are dating in real life? Wonder no more, because the gallery below will answer that very question!