Olivia Benson on "Law and Order: SVU"
Mariska Hargitay is the daughter of actress Jayne Mansfield and actor/bodybuilder Mickey Hargitay. Hargitay's parents divorced in May 1963, but a judge later found their Mexican divorce invalid. They reconciled a few months before Hargitay's birth in January 1964, but soon separated again; in August 1964, her mother successfully petitioned the court to rule the Mexican divorce legal. A few weeks later, Mansfield married the director Matt Cimber. 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.
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 on "Law and Order: SVU", a role that led to her founding the Joyful Heart Foundation, which provides support to women who have been sexually abused.
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