Mariska Hargitay life and biography

Mariska Hargitay picture, image, poster

Mariska Hargitay biography

Date of birth : 1964-01-23
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Nationality : American
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2011-09-15
Credited as : actress, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Emmy Award

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Mariska Hargitay is an American actress, best known for her role as New York City sex crimes Detective Olivia Benson on the NBC television drama Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, a role that has earned her multiple awards and nominations, including an Emmy and Golden Globe.

The daughter of actress Jayne Mansfield and actor/bodybuilder Mickey Hargitay, 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, a role that led to her founding the Joyful Heart Foundation, which provides support to women who have been sexually abused.

Hargitay was born at St. John's Hospital in Los Angeles, California, the daughter of actress and 1950s-era sex symbol Jayne Mansfield. Her father was the Hungarian-born former Mr. Universe Mickey Hargitay. Her first and middle names are Hungarian and refer to Mary Magdalene (Mariska is a diminutive of Mary). Her family name means "of Hargita". Hargitay was raised Roman Catholic. She has two half-sisters, Jayne Marie Mansfield and Tina Hargitay; two brothers, Miklós and Zoltán Hargitay; and a half-brother, Antonio Ottaviano (also known as Tony Cimber), a former director whose works include the female wrestling show Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling.

Hargitay has appeared on numerous other television programs including: Freddy's Nightmares, Ellen, All American Girl, Baywatch, Cracker, Gabriel's Fire, In the Heat of the Night, JoJo's Circus, The Single Guy, Wiseguy, and thirtysomething. Her voice is featured on the 2005 video game True Crime: New York City. Hargitay also had a minor role ("Hooker in Bar") in the 1995 film Leaving Las Vegas, and briefly replaced Gabrielle Fitzpatrick in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie, though the footage was deemed unusable.

Since 1999, Hargitay has portrayed Det. Olivia Benson, the female lead in the drama series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. "As a woman, it's gratifying to play such a multilayered part," she stated on her official website. "Olivia is not only a competent, street-smart cop, she's also an empathetic woman who can respond emotionally to victims of terrible crimes without compromising her professionalism." As a result of her casting, Hargitay has been named as the "highest paid TV actress", receiving $500,000 per episode, working today in the Guinness Book of World Records 2008 Edition.

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