Mariska Magdolina Hargitay was born on January 23, 1964. Her parents were actress/sex symbol Jayne Mansfield and Mickey Hargitay, who was a former Mr. Universe. She is the sister of Zoltan Hargitay and (Miklos) Mickey Hargitay Jr., and half-sister of Jayne Marie Mansfield (Jayne's daughter from her first marriage), Antonio Raphael Ottaviano Cimber a.k.a. Tony Cimber (from her mother's third marriage), and of Tina Hargitay (from her father's first marriage).
Mariska’s first appearance in the spotlight was a tragic one. In June 1967, when Mariska was three years old, her mother was killed in a car accident along with the car’s driver (Mansfield's boyfriend, attorney Sam Brody). Mariska and her two brothers were asleep in the back seat of the car and escaped major injury. She does have a zigzag scar on the side of her head as a reminder of the accident, of which she has no real memory.
Mariska had varied television roles early in her career: “Downtown”, “Falcon Crest”, “Tequila & Bonetti”, and appeared in an episode of “Seinfeld”. The role where I first remember seeing her was her recurring role as Cynthia Hooper during the fourth season of ER.
Law & Order SVU gave Mariska probably the best role she’s ever had – Olivia Benson - a smart, streetwise yet caring detective working for “special victims.” This role has given Mariska some worthy acknowledgement of her talents, by bringing her Emmy nominations for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series in 2004, 2005, 2006 (she won in 2006), and her fourth consecutive nomination in 2007. She also received a Golden Globe in 2005 for the role as Best Actress in a Drama Series.
Mariska is married to Peter Hermann (who you might know as the sometimes annoying defense attorney on SVU, Trevor Langan), and they have one child, August Miklos Friedrich Hermann.
Mariska also founded The Joyful Heart Foundation, who helps survivors of sexual assault.
Have a great birthday, Mariska!
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