|Mariska Hargitay Biography|
The daughter of actress Jayne Mansfield and actor/bodybuilder Mickey Hargitay, Hargitay is a former beauty queen who made her film debut in the 1985 horror-comedy film Ghoulies, and her major television debut in the 1986 adventure drama series Downtown. She appeared in numerous roles in film and television shows throughout the late 1980s and 1990s before being cast as Olivia Benson, a role that led to her founding the Joyful Heart Foundation, which provides support to women who have been sexually abused.
Hargitay was born at St. John's Hospital in Los Angeles, California, the daughter of actress and 1950s-era sex symbol Jayne Mansfield. Her father was the Hungarian-born former Mr. Universe Mickey Hargitay. Her first and middle names are Hungarian and refer to Mary Magdalene (Mariska is a diminutive of Mary). Her family name means "of Hargita". Hargitay was raised Roman Catholic. She has a half-sister, Jayne Marie Mansfield; two brothers, Miklós and Zoltán Hargitay; and a half-brother, Antonio Ottaviano (also known as Tony Cimber), a former director whose works include the female wrestling show Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling.
Hargitay's parents had divorced in May 1963, but a judge later found their Mexican divorce invalid. They had reconciled a few months before Hargitay's birth in January 1964, but soon separated again; in August 1964, the Mexican divorce was ruled legal. A few weeks later, Mansfield married the director Matt Cimber, who had directed her in a 1964 production of the William Inge play Bus Stop. On June 29, 1967, Mansfield was killed in an automobile accident on a stretch of U.S. Highway 90 between New Orleans and Slidell, Louisiana. Her boyfriend, Sam Brody, and the driver were also killed. Asleep in the back of the vehicle, Hargitay, then three and a half years old, was left with a zigzag scar on one side of her head. Her brothers Miklós and Zoltán were also in the car, but escaped with minor injuries. After the death of their mother, the three siblings were raised by their father and his third wife, Ellen Siano. Hargitay dislikes comparisons with her famous mother and at age 18 said, "My dad was Mr. Universe," she says, "so it would be fun for me to be Miss Universe."
|Mariska Hargitay Biography|
In 1982, after Hargitay was crowned Miss Beverly Hills USA, she then competed in the Miss California USA pageant the following year, placing fourth runner-up to Julie Hayek who was later crowned Miss USA. In 1984, she appeared in Ronnie Milsap's music video for She Loves My Car. A year later she had a small role in the horror film, Ghoulies. Hargitay said in 1986 that she never thought about doing television until a role for the one-hour adventure drama series Downtown was offered. In 1988, she had a recurring role as Carly Fixx in the soap opera Falcon Crest. She portrayed police officer Angela Garcia in the 1992 series Tequila & Bonetti, and appeared in an episode of the fourth season of Seinfeld. Two years later, Hargitay portrayed Didi Edelstein, the sexy next-door neighbor, in the 1995 sitcom Can't Hurry Love, which starred Nancy McKeon. In 1997, Hargitay played detective Nina Echeverria on the drama series Prince Street, and had a recurring role as Cynthia Hooper during the fourth season of ER.
|Mariska Hargitay Biography|
In January 2007 she and her son, August, appeared in a Got Milk? advertisement.
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Casting for the lead characters of NBC police procedural television drama series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit occurred in the spring of 1999. Dick Wolf, along with officials from NBC and Studios USA, were at the final auditions for the two leads at Rockefeller Center. The last round had been narrowed down to six finalists. For the female lead – Detective Olivia Benson – Samantha Mathis, Reiko Aylesworth, and Hargitay were being considered. For the male role – Detective Elliot Stabler – the finalists were Tim Matheson, John Slattery, and Christopher Meloni. Meloni and Hargitay had auditioned in the final round together and after the actors left, there was a moment of dead silence, after which Wolf blurted out, "Oh well. There's no doubt who we should choose – Hargitay and Meloni." The duo, who Wolf believed had the perfect chemistry together from the first time he saw them together, were his first choice. Garth Ancier, then head of NBC Entertainment, agreed, and the rest of the panel assembled voiced their assent. Hargitay trained as a rape crisis advocate to prepare for the role of Benson.
During the last months of her pregnancy in 2006, she took maternity leave from SVU, and was temporarily replaced by Connie Nielsen.
In May 2009, after the show's tenth season, Hargitay and Meloni's contract expired when they were reportedly making $375,000–$385,000 per episode. During negotiations in April for a new contract, the duo attempted to go after back-end profits as other high-profile Law and Order actors had done in the past. It was rumored that NBC threatened to replace Hargitay and Meloni if they persisted in their demands. However two months later it was officially reported that both their contracts had been renewed for two more years. Hargitay returned for a twelfth season and began filming her first scenes in June and July 2010. On May 14, 2011, Hargitay closed a new deal for her thirteenth season. Initial reports indicated that she would appear in only the first 13 episodes, but NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt clarified later that August that she would be in every episode of the season.
Hargitay has said she would return to the show for its 14th season, stating to Harry Connick, Jr., "I can't leave this show, I'm having too much fun."
Original Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mariska_Hargitay