Name: Mariska Magdolna Hargitay
Born: January 23, 1964, Los Angeles, CA
Occupation: Actress, producer
Years active: 1983-present
Spouse: Peter Hermann(m. 2004-present)
Children: August Hermann, Amaya Hermann
She's also one of my favorite actresses.
She is best known for her role as Det. Olivia Benson, a detective who works for the SVU or Special Victims Unit of the NYPD on Law and Order:SVU. Her character works for the Special Victims Unit, who takes care of the elderly, rape victims, molestation victims.
She is the daughter of 1950s era sex symbol and actress Jayne Mansfield. Her father is Hungarian-born former Mr. Universe Mickey Hargitay. She ahs 3 half sisters: Jayne Marie Mansfield and Tina Hargitay, 2 brothers: Miklos and Zoltan Hargitay, and a half brother: Antonio Ottaviano. Her parents divorced in 1963, but reconciled a few months before her birth. A few weeks later, she married Matt Cimber, who directed Mansfield in the movie Bus Stop. On June 29, 1967, Mansfield was killed in a car accident on a part of U.S. Highway 90 between New Orleans and Slidell, Louisiana. Mariska was in the back seat of the car and escaped with a zig zag scar on her head. Her brothers Miklos and Zoltan were also inteh acr but escaped with minor injuries. After the death of their mother, her and her siblings were raised by their father and his 3rd wife, Ellen Siano. While attending a Catholic secondary school, Marymount High School, she was active in cheerleading, student gov. athletics and theatre. After her graduation fmo high school in 1982, she enrolled in UCLA, and was also crowned Miss Beverly Hills USA that same year.
In 1984, she appeared in the video for Ronnie Milsap's She Loves My Car. When she appeared on the 1985 TV show Downtown, she never thought about TV. She has appeared in various TV shows, such as:
- Freddy's Nightmares
- All American Girl
- Gabriel's Fire
- In the Heat of the Night
- The Single Guy
- Her voice was also featured as Deena Dixon in the video game True Crime: New York City.
Casting for the police drama Law and Order:SVU began in the spring of 1999. There were quite a few options as to who would play the lead female role of Det. Olivia Benson and Det. Elliot Stabler. For the role of Benson, the options included Hargitay, Reiko Aylesworth, Smantha Mathis. For the role of Stabler, the options included Tim Matheson, John Slattery and Christopher Meloni. The producer of the show, Dick Wolf, then decided who it would be after all the other actors left, he decided it would be Hargitay and Meloni as Benson and Stabler. In order to prepare for her role, she trained as a rape crisis advocate. In 2006, she took maternity leave because she was pregnant with her son and was temporarily replaced by Connie Nielsen.
She can speak Hungarian, English, French, Spanish, Italian. On August 28, 2004, she met Peter Hermann, an acotr and producer she met on the set of Law and Order:SVU. On June 28, 2006, she gave birth to her son August Miklos Friedrich Hermann. In April 2011, she adopted a little girl named Amaya Josephine.
From her role as an SVU detective, this inspired her to start the Joyful Heart Foundation. This charity helps rape vicitms, victims of sexual abuse, child abuse, violence. While swimming with dolphins off the coast of Hawaii at age 15, is how she was inspired to do something related to this for her charity. In this charity, victims of all sorts get to swim with dolphins as a way to relax and cope with feelings.