Mickey Hargitay: Jayne Mansfield's Mr. Universe And Love Of Her Life

By | January 3, 2020

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Left: Mickey Hargitay on the cover of a bodybuilding magazine. Right: Jayne Mansfield and Hargitay in 1956 at the Makeup Artist Ball in Los Angeles. Sources: Worthpoint.com; Earl Leaf/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Fact: Mickey Hargitay was Jayne Mansfield's husband and father of Law & Order: SVU actress Mariska Hargitay. We can't tell Mickey's story without bringing up his famous wife -- Hargitay was an acclaimed bodybuilder and acrobat, and minor celebrity in his own right, but when you're married to Jayne Mansfield that becomes your claim to fame. Together, Mickey Hargitay and Jayne Mansfield were a Hollywood Tarzan and Jane, flexing in skimpy leopard-skin patterned outfits and performing feats of physical prowess, and, later, gazing lovingly into each other's eyes as they fawned over their children for the magazine photographers or paparazzi who followed them. They were beautiful people, always of interest to American celebrity-watchers in the late '50s and early '60s.

From Euro-Bodybuilder To Stateside Star

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Mickey and Jayne. Source: IMDB

There is an unlikely yet familiar story of a European Mr. Universe turned actor but, in this case, we're not talking about the guy who became governor of California. Long before Arnold Schwarzenegger went from musclehead to Terminator to politician, another completely ripped European made the transition from male eye candy to silver screen sensation. The original Mr. Universe turned actor, Mickey Hargitay, even caught the eye of one of Hollywood’s uber-sex symbols of the time, Jayne Mansfield.