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<Archive Obituary> Jayne Mansfield (June 29th 1967)

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Bill Schenley

Jun 29, 2007, 1:13:29 AM6/29/07
Jayne Mansfield Dies in New Orleans Car Crash;

Actress Parlayed Physical Attributes Into Film Career

Appeared on Broadway in 1955 in 'Rock Hunter'


FROM: The New York Times (June 30th 1967) ~
Special to The Times


Jayne Mansfield, the actress, was killed instantly
early this morning when the car in which she was
riding hit the rear of a trailer truck on U.S. 90.

Killed with the 34-year-old actress were Samuel
S. Brody, 40, of Los Angeles, her lawyer and
companion, and Ronald B. Harrison, 20, of
Mississippi City, Miss., a driver for the Gus Stevens
Dinner Club in Biloxi, Miss., where Miss Mansfield
was appearing.

Their auto plowed beneath the truck's trailer as it
approached a mosquito-fogging machine. The driver
apparently did not see the truck because of the thick
white chemical used to spray mosquitoes, the police

Three of Miss Mansfield's children, apparently
sleeping on the rear seat were injured. They were
Mickey Hargitay Jr., 8, who suffered cuts and a
broken arm, Zoltan Hargitay, 6, who received cuts
and bruises, and Marie [1] Hargitay, who had head
cuts and may require plastic surgery.

The children were taken to Charity Hospital by a
passing motorist but were transferred to Ochsner
Foundation Hospital at the request of Miss Mansfield's
former husband, Mickey Hargitay, who telephoned
from Los Angeles. Mr. Hargitay arrived this afternoon
to be with his children, who were later told of their
mother's death.

Miss Mansfield had been playing the engagement in
Biloxi, 80 miles from New Orleans, since June 23.
She had left the club after an 11 P.M. performance
Wednesday and was on her way to New Orleans for
a television appearance at noon Thursday.

A Figure on Display

"To establish yourself as an actress," Jayne Mansfield
once told an interviewer, "you have to become well
known. A girl just starting out, I would tell her to
concentrate on acting, but she doesn't have to go around
wearing blankets."

Miss Mansfield didn't. Her statuesque figure, topped
by flowing, platinum-blonde tresses and a provocative
smile, was cheerfully and generously displayed in films,
in newspaper and magazine photographs and on

The strategic avalanche of publicity made her one of the
best-known glamour symbols of the last 10 years. Her
unusual dimensions, 40-18-35, certainly helped.

"I've got to be a movie star. I've just got to make it,"
she told an interviewer soon after arriving in Hollywood
in 1954. "I've got to be a movie star." It took a while for
her to succeed, but off-screen she played the role to the

She resided in a huge, pink mansion off Sunset Boulevard
that became a tourist attraction, happily splashed for
photographers in a heart-shaped pool and drove a pink
car around the movie capital.

Her actual screen career consisted of about a dozen films,
few of them memorable. She invariably played the role of
a none-too-bright blonde who was victimized by unsavory

Vera Jayne Palmer was born on April 19, 1933, in Bryn
Mawr, Pa., the daughter of a lawyer. Her father died when
she was 6 and she and her mother moved to Dallas. She
later enrolled in Southern Methodist University, where she
met and was married to a fellow student, Paul James
Mansfield. She was 16 at the time and the following year,
her daughter Jayne Marie was born. The Mansfield's
moved to Los Angeles and the young wife began making
the studio rounds.

She had little success. As a candy vendor in a movie
theater, she got a small part in one television play that lead
to a bit role in a film called "Female Jungle."

After hiring an agent and a publicity manager, she went
on a promotional trip to Florida to help publicize a film
titled "Underwater."

Photographs of the blonde Miss Mansfield in a red bathing
suit all but put Jane Russell, the star of the movie, out of

"I wanted to be a movie star ever since I was 3," Miss
Mansfield said. "They told me I'd be another Shirley
Temple, but I guess I outgrew it."

A deluge of revealing photographs soon flooded
Hollywood and caught the eye of George Axelrod,
playwright, who was casting "Will Success Spoil Rock
Hunter?" for Broadway.

Miss Mansfield's playing of a voluptuous dumb movie star
who captivates a milquetoast screenwriter, played by
Orson Bean, was largely responsible for the comedy's
run of 452 performances on Broadway. It opened in
October, 1955, at the Broadhurst Theater.

During her nightly appearances, memorable for one
scene in which she appeared only in a white towel, the
baby-faced actress also managed to perfect an enticing,
soft-voiced coo punctuated with squeals.

Her publicity campaign continued and she returned to
Hollywood in triumph. Previously, she had been seen
briefly in "illegal," "Pete Kelley's Blues" contract at 20th
Century-Fox, where she did the movie version of "Rock
Hunter," and "The Wayward Bus," "The Girl Can't Help
It" and "Kiss Them for Me."

Her perfromance in the 1957 version of John Steinbeck's
"The Wayward Bus," in which she played a wistful
derelict, was generally conceded to have been her best

In 1958, the actress divorced her first husband and was
married to Mickey Hargitay, a former Mr. Universe.
The wedding was attended primarily by a small army of
press representatives. In 1963, Miss Mansfield obtained
a Mexican divorce from Mr. Hargitay, by whom she had
three children.

Her third husband was Matt Cimber, a director, to
whom she was wed in 1964. They were divorced last
year. The actress was awarded custody of their child,
Octabiano, now 2.

Two of Miss Mansfield's children were in the news
recently. Last year Zoltan was mauled by a lion as the
actress posed for pictures in a California animal
compound. Two weeks ago, Jayne Marie went to the
police and reported mistreatment at home. She was put
in protective custody of juvenile authorities and released
to relatives.
(My favorite Jayne Mansfield photo)
(w/Mickey Hargitay)

Jayne Mansfield in art:

The Death of Jayne Mansfield:
(Kind of creepy ... in a voyeuristic way)

[1] Mariska Hargitay

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