Jayne Mansfield in Pictures: A Beloved Hollywood Bombshell

circa 1955: American actress and sex symbol Jayne Mansfield (1933 - 1967).
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Jayne Mansfield was born Vera Jane Palmer on April 19, 1933 in Bryn Mawr, Penn., and at age 3, after the death of her father, moved to Dallas, Texas. She was eager to be in Hollywood like her idol Shirley Temple and took lessons in ballroom dancing, violin, piano and viola, as well as Spanish and German. At age 16, she met 20-year-old Paul Mansfield during a high school Christmas Eve party. They married secretly that January despite knowing each other less than a month and, after Jayne got pregnant, had a public ceremony in May. They later moved to Los Angeles to further Jayne’s career.

The couple fought constantly about Jayne’s ambition and possible infidelities, and both decided to divorce. The process lasted from 1955-58, during which Jayne decided to keep Mansfield as her professional name and began a long tradition of appearing in Playboy magazine. Her 1955 appearance as the Playmate of the Month not only increased subscriptions but also launched her career, as Warner Bros. took notice and offered Mansfield a seven-year contract and the rest is movie history! Take a look back at the star’s life in some of these rare photos.

Posing as ‘Working Press,’ 1956

American film actor and sex symbol Jayne Mansfield (1933 - 1967) purses her lips and holds a camera while dressed in a bathing suit and a paper hat labelled 'Working Press,' 1956.

APA/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Vera Jane Palmer (1933 - 1967) better known as Jayne Mansfield, an American actress in the passenger seat of a limousine.

Express Newspapers/Getty Images

Mirror Magazine Cover, 1955

Jayne Mansfield Mirror Magazine Cover 8/28/1955

via King Features Syndicate

Little lunch break on the set of  Too Hot To Handle, 1959

11th August 1959: Hollywood sex symbol Jayne Mansfield (1933 - 1967) breaks for lunch during the shooting of 'Too Hot To Handle' on Lambeth Pier.

Keystone/Getty Images

With Bob Hope, 1957

Jayne Mansfield with Bob Hope in 1957

via King Features Syndicate

Other Marriages & Death

Mansfield met bodybuilder Mickey Hargitay in 1956, and over the next eight years of their relationship, they starred in several films together (including Promises! Promises!, where Mansfield was the first American actress to appear nude in a starring role). The couple had three children, including the youngest, actress Mariska Hargitay. After their divorce in 1964, she married and divorced again within two years and began living with her divorce attorney, Sam Brody. Sadly 0n June 29, 1967, Brody, Mansfield and their driver were involved in an accident with a tractor-trailer as her children slept in the back seat. Though it was rumored Mansfield was decapitated, that is untrue; she died of head trauma at age 34. All three children survived with minor injuries.

Tying the knot with strong man Mickey Hargitay, 1958

Jayne Mansfield; 1958; Mickey Hargitay; wedding

via King Features Syndicate

On shoulders of Mickey Hargitay at costume party, 1956

Actress Jayne Mansfield wearing a leopard print bikini, sitting on the shoulder of her husband Mickey Hargitay, at a Hollywood costume party, December 1st 1956.

Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

With her daughter, Jayne Marie, also known as Mariska, 1958

23rd July 1958: Hollywood sex symbol Jayne Mansfield (1933 - 1967) leaves London's Waterloo Station with her daughter Jayne Marie. She is catching the SS Queen Elizabeth boat train to New York, having finished work on the comedy western 'The Sheriff of Fractured Jaw' in Britain.

Reg Birkett/Keystone/Getty Images

Poses looking at a mirror, 1963

Jayne Mansfield poses looking at a mirror in 1963

via King Features Syndicate

Meeting Queen Elizabeth II, 1957

Jayne Mansfield meeting Queen Elizabeth II in 1957

via King Features Syndicate

Back to her natural brunette, 1965

circa 1965: Hollywood film star Jayne Mansfield (1932-1967), formerly Vera Jane Palmer, in unfamiliar guise as a brunette. She had a short career as a kind of living parody of Marilyn Monroe in films such as 'The Girl Can't Help It' (1956), and 'Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?' (1957).

Hulton Archive/Getty Images



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May 2020

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