Best known for her golden and Emmy award-winning roles in the NBC drama series Law and Order: Special Victims Unit (SVU), Mariska Hargitay is one American actress every producer would want to work with.
The American actress with German and Hungarian ethnic origin was crowned Miss Beverly Hills in 1982 but her journey into acting started after she had a small role in a horror comedy film, Ghoulies. Learn more about the accomplished entertainer below.
Mariska Hargitay Biography
Hargitay was born on January 23, 1964, as Mariska Magdolna Hargitay. The California native was raised a Roman Catholic and she attended Marymount High School, where she became active as a member of the student government, a cheerleader, and an athlete. After her graduation in 1982, her passion for acting led her into attending the UCLA School of Theater Film and Television where she learned more about acting. But then, this journey was short lived as she abandoned her studies to begin her career as an actress starting with a one-hour adventure TV drama series Downtown. She gained more roles in the 1988 Primetime soap opera Falcon Crest and the 1992 comedy-drama crime series Tequila and Bonetti.
Between 1997 and 2007, Mariska Hargitay saw more acting roles that helped her rise to stardom. Some of the films she featured include Prince Street, Baywatch, Freddy’s Nightmares, Thirtysomething, Leaving Las Vegas, and of course the drama series In the Heat of the Night. Additionally, her voice was featured in True Crime: New York City, a 2005 video game. Hargitay’s major hit, however, was with the 1999 NBC police procedural TV drama series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit where she acted as Detective/Lieutenant Olivia Benson, the sex crime investigator.
Aside from making her more popular in the entertainment industry, the TV series also earned her a number of awards and nominations. They include the Gracie Allen Awards for Best Female Lead; Golden Globe Award for best performing actress; and Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actress, and many more. She also produced and directed a few episodes of the drama series. Mariska Hargitay’s hard work and dedication have paid off a great deal. It is said that she is worth $50 million and that she pockets a whopping $450,000 as salary per episode of the series.
This actress is fluent in five languages including Spanish, Hungarian, English, French, and Italian.
Her Family – Father, Mother, Brothers, and Sisters
Mariska Hargitay has a beautiful family consisting of her father Mickey Hargitay – a Hungarian-born bodybuilder and former Mr. Universe; her mother Jayne Mansfield who was an actress and her siblings (two brothers Zoltan Hargitay and Miklos ‘Mickey’ Hargitay).
Mickey and Jayne were divorced twice in May 1963 and in 1964 but only the later was declared as valid and that was after Jayne petitioned the court to rule the divorce legal. After their separation, Jayne went ahead to marry American film producer and director Matt Cimber while Mickey married Tina Hargitay. His third marriage was with Ellen Siano. Following her parent’s separation, Mariska now has three half-siblings- one (Tina Hargitay) from her father’s second marriage and two (Jayne Marie Mansfield and Antonio Raphael Ottaviano Cimber) from her mother’s first and third marriages, respectively.
Mariska Hargitay was with her mother when she saw her die in a ghastly motor accident. That was on June 29, 1967, when, with her brothers, she joined her mother and her boyfriend Sam Brody and together, they were on their way between New Orleans and Bay St. Louis, Mississippi when they got involved in a car accident. While Mariska and her brothers escaped with some minor injuries, Jayne and Brody were killed. After the death of their mother, they were left in the custody of their father who took care of them.
Mariska is married to actor Peter Hermann whom she met while starring in Law & Order: SVU. Hermann was also starring in the series as Defense Attorney Trevor Langan. The 1.76-meter tall beautiful actress married the 1.96-meter tall American writer, actor, and producer on August 28, 2004. The two were married in Santa Barbara, California and on June 28, 2006, they welcomed their first child, August Miklos Friedrich Hermann.
Mariska had her son via an emergency cesarean section. Her other two children- a girl, Amaya Josephine, and a boy, Andrew Nicolas Hargitay Hermann were adopted. Mariska Hargitay is not involved in any external relationship as she has been faithful to her husband just as he has been faithful to her.