Mariska Hargitay and Jayne Mansfield lived together for only three years and never got a chance to grow the kind of mother-daughter bond that comes only with time, but somehow the two have cut remarkably similar career paths in Hollywood decades apart.
Hargitay was three years old when her mother Jayne died in a car accident.
Though she grew up in the care of her father and his wife Ellen Siano, Mariska Hargitay followed her mother’s path into acting.
She was joined at a ceremony that included Dick Wolf, the creator of the Law & Order franchise.
“I love you, you’ve done an incredible job. You are one of the icons of television, and certainly, I think the female icon for millions of women not only here, but all around the world,” Wolf told Hargitay.
Mariska Hargitay was emotional at the ceremony, standing just feet from where her late mother had been honored.
“I am so moved by you and so grateful to all of you and you’re what, as I said, makes today possible,” an tearful Hargitay said.
Jayne Mansfield was one of the first sex symbols in Hollywood, a blonde bombshell who emerged in the mid 1950s with movies like The Girl Can’t Help It (1956), The Wayward Bus (1957), and Too Hot to Handle (1960).
Mansfield saw her career peak a few years before her death, but was still one of Hollywood’s most recognizable stars when the car she was riding in crashed on US Highway 90 in 1967. She was riding with lover Sam Brody, driver Ronnie Harrison and three of her children when the car struck the back of a tractor-trailer that had slowed suddenly behind another truck spraying mosquito fogger.
The three adults were killed instantly, and rumors circulated that Jayne Mansfield had been decapitated after pictures emerged of the top of the car sheared off. The rumors were not true, but the sudden and tragic death left a void in Hollywood.
Today Mariska Hargitay has followed Jayne Mansfield into acting, spending 14 years as Detective Olivia Benson on the hit show Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. She has also parlayed her acting fame for good causes, including efforts to raise awareness for domestic violence.