Remembering Jayne Mansfield on What Would Have Been Her 90th Birthday

KISS THEM FOR ME, Jayne Mansfield, 1957
Everett Collection
Everett Collection

While Jayne Mansfield was one of the most iconic Playboy Playmates, she was so much more. Unfortunately, her life was cut much too short after she passed away after a car accident at the age of 34. Today we celebrate her birthday on April 19th, as she would have been 90 today!

Inspired by stars like Shirley Temple, Mansfield (born Vera Jayne Palmer) studied drama at the Univeristy of Texas at Austin after marrying Paul Mansfield at just 17 years old. In 1955, they moved to New York City and she appeared in 400+ shows of the Broadway production Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? They moved to Los Angeles just a year later and she was inspired to dye her hair blonde after an audition went wrong. It helped her image and Mansfield was signed with 20th Century Fox in a six-year contract in an effort to replace Marilyn Monroe after her troubles began.

Celebrate Jayne Mansfield’s birthday today

THE GIRL CAN'T HELP IT, Jayne Mansfield, 1956

20th Century Fox Film Corp./Everett Collection

Prior to signing a contract with 20th Century Fox, she appeared in the early issues of Playboy and was named Playboy’s Playmate of the Month in 1955, which led to her earning the lead role in The Girl Can’t Help It. As her career became more and more successful, she divorced her first husband and married Mickey Hargitay in 1958.

THE FAT SPY, Jayne Mansfield, 1965

Everett Collection

However, she was often cast as a “dumb blonde” in films and people thought she was that way in real life. Yet, she proved herself as a star in films and on Broadway. Some of her most memorable films include The Wayward Bus (1957) and Too Hot to Handle (1960). Mansfield was also the first extremely famous actress to have a nude starring role in a film. The movie was Promises! Promises! (1963) and photos from the movie set appeared in the June 1963 issue of Playboy. Hugh Hefner had to appear in Chicago city court after publishing the photographs.

THE GIRL CAN'T HELP IT, from left: Tom Ewell, Jayne Mansfield, 1956

20th Century Fox Film Corp./Everett Collection

Toward the end of her life, she married movie director Matt Cimber. They separated in 1966 and their divorce was pending at the time of her death. Mansfield was heading to New Orleans for a television interview when she was in a fatal car accident. Mansfield died, along with her boyfriend Sam Brody and driver Ronnie Harrison. Three of her five children Miklós, Zoltán, and Mariska (Hargitay, best known for her role in Law & Order: SVU) were unharmed. Mariska shared a heartfelt birthday greeting for her mother Instagram account.


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A post shared by Mariska Hargitay (@therealmariskahargitay)

Tell us, what is your favorite film starring the beautiful Jayne Mansfield?

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