Hargitay in 1964.
January 6, 1926
|Died||September 14, 2006
Los Angeles, California, US
|Spouse(s)||Mary Birge (1948–1956)
Jayne Mansfield (1958–1964)
Ellen Siano (1967–2006) (his death)
Miklós "Mickey" Hargitay (January 6, 1926 – September 14, 2006) was an actor and Mr. Universe 1955. Born in Budapest, Hungary, he was married to Jayne Mansfield, and the father of actress Mariska Hargitay. During their marriage, Hargitay and Mansfield made four movies together, Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957), The Loves of Hercules (1960), Promises! Promises! (1963), and L'Amore Primitivo (1964).
Early life and sports career
Born and raised in Hungary, Hargitay performed in an acrobatic act with his brothers. He also played soccer and became a champion speed skater. An underground fighter during World War II, Hargitay fled Hungary after the war and moved to the United States. He settled in Cleveland, where he met and married his first wife, Mary Birge (with whom he also had an acrobatic act and one child, Tina, born in 1949) and worked as a plumber and carpenter. He was inspired to begin bodybuilding after seeing a magazine cover of Steve Reeves, famed for playing Hercules. Hargitay became NABBA Mr. Universe in 1955. After winning Mr. Universe, he joined Mae West's muscleman revue at New York's Latin Quarter, where he met Jayne Mansfield, his wife from 1958 to 1964. He is the first recipient of the Joe Weider Lifetime Achievement Award. In May 2006, he received the Muscle Beach Hall of Fame Award from the Muscle Beach Historical Committee.
Hargitay's first film role came when Jayne Mansfield demanded he be cast in her newest movie, Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957). The two had met the year before at The Mae West Show at the Latin Quarter. When Jayne noticed Mickey performing, she told the waiter, "I’ll have a steak and that tall man on the left." The two fell head over heels in love and were never seen apart. 20th Century Fox didn't want Hargitay in Rock Hunter, because they hated Mansfield's view of Hargitay as her "only" lover; Fox liked their sex symbols to be single. But when Jayne told the studio that she would turn the film down, they gave in and allowed Hargitay to appear in a bit part.
In 1960, Jayne and Mickey would play the lead roles in The Loves of Hercules. The film was shot in Italy, and to this day hasn't been released in US movie theaters. (Available on Netflix under the title; Hercules vs Hydra.) Over the next few years Mickey and Jayne, together, would appear in, Promises! Promises! (1963) and L'Amore Primitivo (1964). In 1965, Mickey, only, would have the lead role in Bloody Pit of Horror. There was a part in the film written for Mansfield, but the two divorced before filming on the feature began.
Hargitay's final acting appearance was in an episode of his daughter Mariska's series, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. In the episode "Control" (2003), Hargitay played a man on a subway station escalator who witnesses the aftermath of a brutal assault. Mariska's character, Olivia Benson, is later seen interviewing him.
His first marriage was to Mary Birge. Together they had a daughter Tina Hargitay (b. 1949). They divorced on September 6, 1956.
Hargitay and Mansfield married on January 13, 1958. They had three children: Miklós Jeffrey Palmer Hargitay (b. December 21, 1958), Zoltán Anthony Hargitay (b. August 1, 1960), and Mariska Magdolna Hargitay (called Maria, b. January 23, 1964). Hargitay remodeled much of his and Mansfield's Beverly Hills mansion, "The Pink Palace", building its famous heart-shaped swimming pool. In November 2002, the house was razed by developers. Its previous owner had been Engelbert Humperdinck.
In May 1963, Mickey and Jayne divorced in Juarez, Mexico. The divorce was ruled invalid, and the two reconciled in October 1963. After Mariska's birth, Mansfield sued for the Juarez divorce to be declared legal and won. The divorce was recognized in the United States on August 26, 1964. After Mansfield's death in a car crash on June 29, 1967, Hargitay sued Jayne's estate for over $5,000 to support the children; in their divorce decree, she had agreed to pay child support and to give him approximately $70,000 in cash and property.
Hargitay married again in September 1967 to Ellen Siano, his wife until his death.
Hargitay's nephew and godson Eddie Hargitay is also an actor.
|“||"Walter Winchell once said that what [President] Eisenhower did for golf, Mickey Hargitay did for bodybuilding, because he brought it to the forefront," Gene Mozee, a bodybuilding historian and writer for Iron Man magazine, told The Times on Monday. "Back in those days, bodybuilding was thought of as a freakish, unusual activity that wasn't popular with the general public," Mozee said. "At that time, athletic coaches discouraged lifting weights, thinking you'd become muscle bound. And along came Mickey Hargitay, a great all-around athlete."||”|
|1957||Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?||Bobo Branigansky||Film Debut; First Film with wife, Jayne Mansfield|
|1957||Slaughter on Tenth Avenue||Big John|
|1960||The Loves of Hercules||Hercules||Co-starring Mansfield; Aka: Gli amori di Ercole (Italy; original title)|
|1963||Promises! Promises!||King Banner||Co-starring Mansfield|
|1964||L'Amore Primitivo||Hotel Bell Captain||Last film co-starring Mansfield; Aka: Primitive Love (US); not released in the US until 1966|
|1964||La vendetta dei gladiatori||Fabius|
|1965||Uno straniero a Sacramento||Mike Jordan||Aka: Stranger in Sacramento (US)|
|1965||Sheriff Won't Shoot||Allan|
|1965||Bloody Pit of Horror||Travis Anderson||Was to co-star with Mansfield, but the two divorced before filming began|
|1966||Three Graves for a Winchester||Ringo Carson|
|1966||7 Golden Women Against Two 07||Mark Davis||Aka: Sette donne d'oro contro due 07 (Italy; original title)|
|1970||Ringo, It's Massacre Time||Mike Wood|
|1971||Lady Frankenstein||Captain Harris|
|1972||Delirio caldo||Herbert Lyutak|
|1973||Riti, magie nere e segrete orge nel trecento...||Jack Nelson||Final film appearance|
|2003||Law and Order: Special Victims Unit||Grandfather||Guest Star; Episode "Control"|
References and footnotes
- Cohen, Sandy (September 19, 2006). "Actor Mickey Hargitay Dies at Age 80". Washingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2011-07-28.
- Gene Mozee (February 2007). "Mickey Hargitay(In Memoriam)". Ironman Magazine. Retrieved April 10, 2011.
- "FilmVilág". Emir.hu. 1990-12-03. Retrieved 2011-07-28.
- http://www.dianamystery.com/Jayne_pink_palace2.jpg Jayne Mansfield Pink Palace
- McLellan, Dennis (2006-09-19). "Mickey Hargitay, 80; Bodybuilder Popularized the Sport - Los Angeles Times". Latimes.com. Retrieved 2011-07-28.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mickey Hargitay.|
- "Actor Mickey Hargitay dies at 80". BBC. 2006-09-19. Retrieved 2006-12-20.
- Silverman, Stephen M. (2006-09-19). "Mariska's Dad Mickey Hargitay Dies at 80". People Magazine. Retrieved 2006-12-20.
- "Mickey Hargitay, Father Of Mariska, Dies". Access Hollywood. 2006-09-18. Archived from the original on 2007-12-05. Retrieved 2007-09-29.