Jayne Mansfield, born on April 19, 1933, and died on June 29, 1967, was an American film, theater, and television actress. She was also a nightclub entertainer, a singer and one of the early Playboy Playmates. She was a major Hollywood sex symbol during the 1950s and early 1960s, while under contract at 20th Century Fox. Take a look below for 30 more interesting and awesome facts about Jayne Mansfield.
1. She was known for her well-publicized personal life and publicity stunts, such as wardrobe malfunctions.
2. Although her film career was short lived, she had several box office successes and won a Theater World Award and a Golden Globe.
3. Mansfield has success in the role of fictional actress Rita Marlowe, both in the 1955 and 1956 Broadway version and the 1957 Hollywood film version of Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?
4. Her other major movie performances were in The Girl Can’t Help It, The Wayward Bus and Too Hot to Handle.
5. In the sexploitation movie Promises! Promises!, she became the first major American actress to have a nude starring role in a Hollywood movie.
6. Mansfield took her professional name from her first husband, public relations professional Paul Mansfield.
7. She was married and divorced three times and has had five children.
8. She was allegedly intimately involved with many men, including Robert and John F. Kennedy, her attorney Samuel S. Brody, and Las Vegas entertainer Nelson Sardelli.
9. On June 29, 1967, she died in a car accident in New Orleans at the age of 34.
10. Mansfield was the only child of Herbert William Palmer, who was of German and English ancestry, and Vera Palmer, of English origin.
11. She inherited more than $90,000 from her maternal grandfather, which is worth about $763,000 today, and more than $36,000 from her maternal grandmother, Beatrice Mary Palmer, in 1958, which is around $305,000 today.
12. She spent her early childhood in Phillipsburg, New Jersey, where her father was an attorney practicing with future New Jersey governor Robert B. Meyner.
13. In 1936, her father died of a heart attack and in 1939, her mother married sales engineer Harry Lawrence Peers, and the family moved to Dallas, Texas, where she was known as Vera Jayne Peers.
14. She was the Playboy Playmate of February in 1955.
15. Mansfield was the mother of Jayne Marie Mansfield, who appeared in Playboy Magazine in 1976, following her mother’s footsteps.
16. Producer Louis W. Kellman always said that he “discovered” Jayne Mansfield. He gave the then little known actress her first starring role as Gladden in The Burglar, after seeing the normally jaded and unflappable film crews “overheated” reaction to her on the set of Pete Kelly’s Blues, in which she had a small role.
17. Following her untimely death, she was interred at Fairview Cemetery in Plainfield, Pennsylvania.
18. She turned down the role of Ginger Grant on Gilligan’s Island, which then went to Tina Louise.
19. She was a classically trained pianist and violinist.
20. Mansfield made Mr. Blackwell’s West Dressed List in 1961 with Marilyn Monroe, Sophia Loren and Shirley MacLaine. She also made the list in 1964.
21. She initially divorced Mickey Hargitay on May 1, 1963; she divorced him again in Juarez, Mexico. On August 26, 1964, the California Superior Court recognized the Mexican divorce pronouncement.
22. She was arrested for indecent exposure during her nightclub act in Burlington, Vermont in 1963.
23. Mansfield claimed to have an I.Q. of 163, even though she didn’t have exceptional grades in school.
24. Her son, Zoltan Hargitay, was critically injured by a supposedly tame lion while visiting the Jungleland Zoo in Thousand Oaks, California, but made a full recover.
25. Her, as quoted in the book, Jayne Mansfield and the American Fifties, was, “To feel satisfied with myself; to know that I have arrived. To be liked. To be a big personality. The real stars are not actors or actresses. They’re personalities. The quality of making everyone stop in their tracks is what I work at.”
26. Contrary to popular belief, she wasn’t decapitated in the car crash that killed her. Her death certificate, issued in New Orleans, Louisiana, lists, “crushed skull with avulsion of cranium and brain,” as the immediate cause of death; her other injuries included, “closed fracture of right humerus” and “multiple lacerations of hands and lower extremities.”
27. The late model Buick that Jayne was killed in was locked in a garage for decades, in the same shape it was in after the crash. The owner, who was a huge fan, displayed it at various shows over the years, and it was sometimes billed as Jayne Mansfield’s death car. The car was sold at auction in 1999 for $8,000. Reportedly, the car still has the blood stains on the seats.
28. After her death, an extension was added to the rear bumper of semi trailers to keep cars from driving under the truck. They were colloquially called Jane Mansfields.
29. Her death is the subject of the Siouxsie and the Banshees song “Kiss Them for Me,” the title of which is taken from her 1957 movie.
30. Though her film career seemed to have fallen from grace in the mid and late 1960s, her nightclub act was huge, earning her $8,000 to $17,000 weekly.