Jayne Mansfield Biography

Jayne Mansfield was a well known American actress. This biography of Jayne Mansfield provides detailed information about her childhood, life, achievements & timeline.

Quick Facts

Birthday: April 19, 1933

Nationality: American

Famous: Died Young Actresses

Died At Age: 34

Sun Sign: Aries

Born in: Bryn Mawr

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Spouse/Ex-: Matt Cimber (m. 1964–1966), Mickey Hargitay (m. 1958–1964), Paul Mansfield (m. 1950–1958)

father: Herbert William Palmer

mother: Vera Jeffrey Palmer Peers

children: Jayne Marie Mansfield, Mariska Hargitay, Mickey Hargitay Jr., Tony Cimber, Zoltan Hargitay

Died on: June 29, 1967

place of death: Slidell

Cause of Death: Car Accident

More Facts

education: Highland Park High School, University of California, Los Angeles, University of Dallas, University of Texas at Austin, Southern Methodist University

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Jayne Mansfield was a popular American actress who acted in films, theatre and television. Apart from that, she was a nightclub entertainer and a singer. Her first big break on stage was “Will success spoil Rock Hunter?” which received huge success. Later, she made several stage appearances and performed in nightclubs .W. Kellman, the producer of the film ‘’The Burglar”, was the first to offer her a dramatic role and she got recognition for her acting ability in this type of role. Her performance in the film “The Wayward Bus” established herself as a serious actress by breaking her image of ‘blonde bombshell’. After the success of “The Girl Can’t Help It”, 20th Century Fox bought her out of her contract with Broadway for a whopping $100,000 and started promoting her. Her first lead role on television was “The Bachelor”. “Kiss Them for Me” was her last starring role in a mainstream Hollywood studio film. She returned to European films with her performance in “The George Raft Story”. Her film “Promises! Promises!” was banned in Cleveland for its obscene content, but it received huge success elsewhere and her name was on the Top 10 list of box-office attractions for the year of 1963.

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Childhood & Early Life
  • Jayne Mansfiled, whose original name was Vera Jayne Palmer, was born in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania as the only child of Herbert William, a German by birth and Vera Jeffrey Palmer, a British.
  • Her father was an attorney in Phillipsburg, New Jersey, where she spent her early childhood. She lost her father at the age of three. After her father’s death, her mother married again and moved to Dallas, Texas.
  • In 1950, she completed her graduation from Highland Park High School. She learnt to play violin, piano and viola in school. Besides these, she also studied Spanish and German during this time.
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  • In 1950, she received an offer for a role in Prehistoric Women, a B-grade film. After that, she studied acting at Southern Methodist University, Texas. In 1951, after shifting to Austin, Texas, she studied dramatics at the University of Texas.
  • Around 1951, she worked as a nude model for art classes, sold books and served as receptionist to earn her livelihood. At the same time, she won several beauty contests.
  • In 1952, she returned to Dallas and became a student of Baruch Lumet, a Jewish actor. Under Lumet, she made her first stage appearance through “Death of a Salesman” in 1953.
  • In 1954, she moved to Los Angeles and studied Theatre Arts at UCLA. During this time, she participated in the Miss California contest. In this year, she acted in a series on CBS under Lux Video Theatre. Later, she returned to Texas to complete her studies at Southern Methodist University.
  • Her work as a model for the February 1955 issue of “Playboy” increased the circulation of the magazine and caught the attention of media and Hollywood as well.
  • Her first major performance was for Broadway play “Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?” In 1956, she acted in the film “The Girl Can’t Help It”. After the film got success, 20th Century Fox bought her out of her Broadway contract.
  • In 1957, she acted in a film “The Burglar” whose producer was Louis W. Kellman. In this film, she proved her acting prowess in a dramatic role. She also acted in “Oh! For a man in UK”.
  • “The Sheriff of Fractured Jaw” under 20th Century Fox, was her last mainstream successful film. In 1959, she acted in “The Challenge” and “Too hot to Handle”. After 1959, she did not get any meaningful roles in films.
  • Due to her inability to fulfil her contract with Fox, she was loaned out to several English and Italian studios for a number of low-budget films. In 1962, she played a role in “It Happened in Athens” which was a box office failure.
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Major Works
  • In 1957, she acted in “The Wayward Bus”, adapted from John Steinbeck’s novel. Her notable performance in this film established her as a serious actress. Produced by 20th Century Fox, this film won a Golden Globe award.
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Awards & Achievements
  • Her first noteworthy role on stage, “Will success spoil Rock Hunter”, under Broadway production, won a Theatre World Award as the most promising actress.
  • In 1957, she received a Golden Globe in the category of New Star of the Year—Actress for her performance as a ‘wistful derelict’ in the film “The Wayward Bus”, released in the same year.
Personal Life & Legacy
  • She had illicit relationship with several persons. She married three times. In 1950, she got married to Paul James Mansfield with whom she had a daughter namely Jayne Marie Mansfield. They got divorced in 1956.
  • In 1958, she married former Mr. Universe Mickey Hargitay. With this marriage, she had three children namely Miklos, Zoltan and Mariska. In 1963, she divorced Mickey.
  • In 1964, she tied the nuptial knot for the third time with Matt Cimber, a film director of Italian origin. They had a son. Due to her infidelities and alcoholism; they filed for divorce in 1966.
  • In the year 1966 she started living with her attorney Sam Brody. She died in a car accident. Her funeral took place in Pen Argyl, Pennsylvania.
  • Her nightclub career acted as source of inspiration for a number of films, documentaries and a musical album. For her contribution as a singer, she became an inspiration for punk-rock musicians.
  • 20th Century Fox signed a six-year contract with this talented actress by replacing none other than Marilyn Monroe. After signing the contract, Fox promoted her as ‘Marilyn Monroe king-sized’.

1. Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957)

  (Romance, Comedy)

2. The Girl Can't Help It (1956)

  (Comedy, Music)

3. Illegal (1955)

  (Film-Noir, Thriller, Crime, Drama)

4. A Guide for the Married Man (1967)

  (Comedy, Romance)

5. The Wayward Bus (1957)


6. The Burglar (1957)

  (Drama, Film-Noir, Thriller)

7. Hell on Frisco Bay (1955)

  (Film-Noir, Drama, Crime, Thriller)

8. Pete Kelly's Blues (1955)

  (Music, Crime, Drama)


Golden Globe Awards
1957 Most Promising Newcomer - Female The Girl Can't Help It (1956)

See the events in life of Jayne Mansfield in Chronological Order

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Article Title
- Jayne Mansfield Biography
- Editors, TheFamousPeople.com
- TheFamousPeople.com
Last Updated
- September 13, 2017
Jayne Mansfield

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