1933 - 1967
Jayne Mansfield, the blonde bombshell who was described as a poor man’s Marilyn Monroe, died June 29, 1967. She was 34.
Mansfield was born Vera Palmer on April 19, 1933 in Phillipsburg, New Jersey. Her father, a lawyer, died when Jayne was three. Her mother remarried and the family moved to Dallas, Texas.
While in high school, Mansfield became enthralled with movie magazines, and decided she wanted to become an actress. Meantime, she got pregnant at 17 and married the father, Paul Mansfield, on May 6, 1950. Their daughter, Jayne Marie, was born in November.
Her marriage to Mansfield ended in 1954 when he told her it was either him or her Hollywood aspirations. She chose Hollywood.
Mansfield hired an agent in 1954. He told her she needed to get famous first, and then pursue an acting career. In 1955, after winning several beauty pageants, she was able to secure a movie contract with Warner Brothers, but the studio soon dropped her.
She then went to Broadway where she won the part of Rita Marlowe in Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter. Mansfield got great reviews.
At the same time, she continued to publicize herself all across the country. She would attend any event to gain access to the media, be it a mall, restaurant or other store opening.
She married Mickey Hargitay in 1958. Their marriage lasted six years. She and Hargitay had two children. Mansfield was signed by 20th Century Fox, and began appearing in a number of forgettable movies that highlighted her sexuality.
By the mid 1960’s, Mansfield’ career had been reduced to a nightclub act and appearances on television talk shows.
On June 29, 1967, Mansfield and her lawyer, Sam Brody, were killed in an auto crash in Mississippi. Her three children, riding in the back seat, escaped serious injury.
Mansfield is buried in Plainfield, Pennsylvania’s Fairview Cemetery.