Mariska Hargitay is an American actress, famous for her active role as Detective Olivia Benson in drama series, Law and Order which attracted multiple awards including a Primetime Emmy Award and Golden Globe awards. Born on 23 January 1964 in Santa Monica California to former Mr Universe, bodybuilder and actor Mickey Hargitay and actress and 1950s sex symbol Jayne Mansfield.

As someone already used to life in the spotlight, Mariska had a huge career in the entertainment industry ahead of her. First, she was crowned Miss Beverly Hills USA back in 1982 and a year after, she came in the fourth place to Julie Hayek in the quest for Miss USA. She also featured in Ronnie Milsap’s music video and later landed a role in the horror film Ghoulies.

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Mariska Hargitay was a student at Marymount high school – a Catholic Secondary school where she was active in cheerleading, student government, sports and the theatre programme. After graduation from high school, she enrolled at UCLA school of theatre film and became a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma. However, she left before completing her degree to focus on her acting career.

Movie Career 

Hargitay had a television role with one-hour adventure drama series, Downtown and also appeared as Carly Fixx in the soap opera Falcon Crest. She played police officer Angela Garcia in 1992 series Tequila and Bonetti. Mariska replaced Gabrielle Fitzpatrick as Dulcea in Mighty Morphin power rangers when Gabrielle had a surgery but her part was detached immediately Gabrielle recovered. She has also appeared on numerous television programmes including, The Single Guy, Wise Guy, All American Girls and many others.

Playing roles in action movies comes with certain risks. During the filming of SUV, Hargitay suffered a partially collapsed lung after taking a fall during a stunt on set in 2008. After a surgery and following complications from the injury, she missed one episode of the movie‘s tenth season. However, she returned to continue with the rest of the season including the 13th episode but with a much higher pay. By August 2012, Hargitay and co-actor Meloni were earning approximately $400,000 – $500,000 per episode.

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Mariska Hargitay’s Net Worth

Hargitay was earning between $400,000 to $500,000 per episode as of 2012 for every episode of the movie SUVnot to mention her fat paychecks in Law & Order. Her evaluated total assets are estimated to between $30 million to $45 million.

She is the founder of joyful heart foundation which provides support for sexually abused women.

Family Members

Coming from a not so large family, the star has two older sibings, Miklos and Zoltan, as well as three half-siblings, Jayne Marie Mansfield, Antonio Cimber and Tina Hargitay, from her parents’ previous marriages. Hargitay and her two brothers Miklos and Zoltan survived the accident that took the life of their famous mother. She sustaining minor injuries with only a zigzag scar on the side of her head. Their father Mickey Hargitay and his third wife Ellen Siano raised them afterwards.

Other members of her family include Amaya Josphen Hargitay (sister), Mickey Hargitay Jr (brother), Tina Hargitay (sister), Venico Cimber (stepbrother).

It isn’t surprising that Mariska inherited her interest in Hollywood from her mother Jayne Mansfield who was an American film, theatre, and television actress during her short time on earth. She was also a nightclub entertainer, a singer, and one of the early Playboy Playmates.

For most of her time in entertainment, she was better known for being a Hollywood sex symbol during the 1950s and early 1960s, under contract at 20th Century Fox, Hargitay’s mother was famous for her well-publicized personal life and publicity stunts, such as wardrobe malfunctions. Mansfield as was the name she took from her first husband, Paul Mansfield. Jayne became the first major American actress to have a nude starring role in a Hollywood motion picture.

Hargitay’s parents, Mickey Hargitay and Jayne Mansfield were like the power couple in acting and modelling in the 1950s. Both got married in 1958 leading to the birth of Mariska Hargitay in January 1964. Shortly after her birth, the Law & Order actress witnessed her parents’ divorce. Her mother filed the lawsuit for separation, after which she married Matt Cimber who was her director in the 1964 production of the William Inge plays Bus Stop.

Jayne Mansfield died at age 34, (on June 29, 1967) in an auto accident at the very peak of her career, leaving behind five children including Mariska Hargitay and her siblings. As an adult, Hargitay never liked to be compared to her mother, rather she wanted to become Miss Universe like her father.

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Mariska Hargitay’s Husband and Children

Mariska Hargitay

Hargitay got married to a fellow actor Peter Hermann who she met on the set of law and order. Their marriage ceremony was held precisely on August 28, 2004, in Santa Barbara.

The power couple gave birth to their first son, Miklos Friedrich Hermann on June 28, 2006. Rather than birthing more children, Peter and Mariska chose to adopt two kids in 2011, Amaya Josephine a girl and Andrew Nicolas a boy.