The Latest

THE LATEST

THE LATEST THINKING

THE LATEST THINKING

The opinions of THE LATEST’s guest contributors are their own.

For Emmy- Winning TV Star Mariska Hargitay, Life Truly Imitates Art

Marion Charatan

Posted on June 16, 2019 16:05

0 user

The actress is making it her life's work to help victims of rape, domestic abuse, and child abuse-- just as her character Lieutenant Olivia Benson does in Law and Order Special Victims Unit.

Mariska Hargitay by all accounts had a rough start. If you don’t know the name, she is the daughter of the late Jane Mansfield.

Hargitay stars in one of my all-time favorite TV shows Law and Order SVU (Special Victims Unit). In fact, I often binge watch on lazy Saturday afternoons for hours at a time. As Lieutenant Olivia Benson, Hargitay is compassionate and tough at the same time, highly relatable, likeable, and a role model for all hard-working women and men who are juggling careers and family.

Getting back to her roots, Hargitay's late mother, Jayne Mansfield, was a beautiful 1950s sex symbol often compared to the legendary Marilyn Monroe.  Her father was Hungarian-born, Mickey Hargitay, a former Mr. Universe.

Born on January 23, 1964, in Santa Monica, CA, the young Mariska was exposed early on to the Hollywood high life. However, her life changed dramatically when her mother, who had by then had divorced her father, was killed in a terrible car accident on US Route 90, east of New Orleans, LA. Mansfield's boyfriend Sam Brody and the driver also died instantly. Mariska, just three and a half, was sleeping in the back seat of the car. She survived but was left with a zig-zag scar on one side of her head. Her older brothers Miklós and Zoltán only had minor injuries. After her mother's death, the young girl and her brothers were raised by her dad Mickey and his third wife, flight attendant Ellen Siano whom Hargitay regards highly.

On surviving the car accident, Hargitay observed in a 2009 Redbook article, "losing mother at such an early age is the scar of my soul. But I feel like it ultimately made me into the person I am today. I understand the journey of life. I had to go through what I did to be here."

The actress, who speaks 5 languages including Hungarian, went on to study theater at UCLA. She won the title of Miss Beverly Hills in 1982 and discovered she loved to act. The acting, I would bet, provided a respite from the low self-esteem the award-winning actress says she endured for years. Actors say it can be very cathartic to get out of yourself and become other people. I believe performance is medicine for depression and anxiety.

The actress is going into her 21st season on Law and Order SVU. She makes $450,000 per episode. Her cast mates have included Christopher Meloni, Ice T, and Kelli Giddish. Hargitay met her husband of 15 years, actor Peter Herrman, on SVU. Together, they have 3 children.

Mariska Hargitay set up The Joyful Heart Foundation in 2004 to "empower survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse, and to shed light into the darkness that surrounds these issues." Mariska Hargitay's off- screen commitment to helping victims is a stunning example of life imitating art. To date, the actress/activist's foundation has raised $180 million.

 

 

Marion Charatan

Posted on June 16, 2019 16:05

Comments

comments powered by Disqus

These Olympics are good for Brazil and good for humanity, a needed tonic. Watch Usain Bolt or Simone Biles and feel uplifted.

THE LATEST THINKING

Video Site Tour

The Latest
The Latest

Subscribe to THE LATEST Newsletter.

The Latest
The Latest

Share this TLT through...

The Latest