JAYNE MANSFIELD BIOGRAPHY & FILMOGRAPHY:
Jayne Mansfield was one of America's leading blond symbols of the 1950's. She was an American born actress who worked on film, television and stage. Jayne had quite a successful career, although it did not last as long as some of the others involved in the entertainment industry during the era.
Jayne Mansfield was born on April 19th, 1933 in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania with the birth name Vera Jayne Palmer. She was an only child of parents, Herbert William and Vera Palmer. She was raised during her early years in Phillipsburg, New Jersey. Her father was a lawyer, who, unfortunately passed away in a car accident, when Mansfield was only three years old.
Her mother found employment as a school teacher following his death. When Mansfield mother remarried the family relocated to Dallas, Texas.
Jayne became interested in acting at a young age and following High School she went on to study drama at the University of Dallas as well as the University of Texas at Austin. She married Paul Mansfield in 1950 and at the young age of seventeen, Jayne became pregnant and put her studies on hold to care for her daughter, Jayne Marie Mansfield, born November 8th, 1950.
When her husband had to serve a year in the US army, she was living at Camp Gordon, Georgia. After he finished his service, Jayne entered a Miss. California contest and won. Her husband was never too fond of her acting aspirations and he was hoping the birth of her daughter would have discouraged her pursuing a lifestyle in this industry. She did some stage work in Texas, appearing on, "Death of a Salesman". To further her career, in 1954 after for years of marriage, her husband decided to keep the relationship strong, he would move with his wife and daughter to Los Angeles and see if a career in the entertainment industry was a possibility for Jayne.
Upon arrival in Los Angeles, Jayne enrolled at the University of Los Angeles and studies drama.
In 1955, Jayne posed nude in an issue of Playboy which was the first step to launching her successful career. She was becoming well known for her platinum-blonde hair, hourglass figure and fairly endowed cleavage, however, her cleavage actually were considered a problem and she lost certain job opportunities due to them.
Soon Jayne was working on films with her first role on, "Hell on Frisco Bay" (1955) follwed by a role as an extra in the film, "Underwater" (1955). She then received a chance at a supporting role in the film, "The Female Jungle" (1955) and here Warner brothers Studio's took notice to her and signed her to a six month contract. Warner Bros. ultimate goal was to make Jayne Mansfield their Marilyn Monroe. Marilyn, as signed to 20th Century fox and was pulling in millions for them, and Warner Brothers wanted to be able to compete.
Jayne went on next to take a role in, "The Burglar" (1955), this film was relased two years later when jayne's popularity and career was at it's prime. Sadly, this film did not create any revenue at the box office. Warner Brothers had her do another film under contract with them, "Illegal" (also 1955).
After her contract expired, Jayne went to to do some more stage work with a role on, "Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter", (1955) and the paly was quite successful. She then retruned back to Los Angeles again, this time sighning a six year contract with Warner Brothers rival, 20th Century Fox. Her first role was on, "The Girl Can't Help it" (1956). 20th Century chose to sign Mansfield because they were trying to create another Marilyn Monroe. When she was cast in, "The Wayward Bus" (1957) she was trying to get away from her typecast image as the "airhead blonde" and be taken as a serious acctress, and luckily the film did have some great success.
In 1957, Jayne Mansfield was awarded a Golden Globe for the New Star of the Year-Actress for her performance on the, "Wayward Bus". Her career was at an all time high with another starring role in, "Kiss Them for Me" (1957), sadly this film was a disapointment at the box office and it turned out to be her final starring role in a Hollywood film.
Even though she remained well liked and received by critics and the public, decent roles were no longer being offered to Mansfield as she entered into the 1960's. Jayne continued to work though, but mostly overseas in Europe on lower budget films.
In 1962, Fox Studios approached Mansfield and offered her a role in, "It Happened In Athens", however, again the film was a disapointment and Fox then decided it was time to release Mansfield from her contract.
Work was still being offered to Manfield, with a role on a film, "Promises! Promises!" (1963) which was the first time she would appear nude on film as a maninstream actress. The film received great reviews and helped Mansfield's career receive a boost landing her on the Top 10 lists of Box office Attractions for that year.
She did some teleivsion work in 1966 touring with Bob Hope show for the USO. She also appeared in various shows such as, "The Ed Sullivan Show", "The Jack Benny Program", "The Steve Allen Show", "Down You Go" and "The Jackie Gleason Show".
She went on to work on another low budget film which was not well received and again it was back to an up and down career for her. In 1967, again she was approached by Fox Studio's to make a cameo appearance in, "A Guide for the Married Man" which she received seventh billing for.
Not only was she a talented actress, Mansfield was also fluent in five languages and was a trained pianist and violinist. She did not limit herself to film and stage alone either, she was also involved in recording music and working on television.
Due to her lack of decent roles in films, Mansfield worked in Las Vegas headlining at the Dunes in an act called, "The House of Love" where she received a salary of $35,000 per week. Even though, her film roles were not getting any better, Mansfield still felt she deserved a high paying salary. When she took her nightclub act on the road travelling all around the world, she demanded $8000 to $25,000 per week depending on the circumstances.
Mansfield also released a album called, "Jayne Mansfield: Shakespeare, Tchaikovsky & Me" where she recited Shakespeare sonnets and poems of famous poets. This was not a success and critics felt it was a sad try at trying to increase her popularity.
Jayne Mansfield not only had ups and downs in her professional career, but her personal life as well. On January 28th, 1950 she had secretly married Paul Mansfield and despite him trying to support her career goals, the couple split on January 8th, 1958. Only a couple days later, Jayne married her second husband, an actor and body builder, Miklós Hargitay, but again in 1963, her marriage ended in divorce, leaving her with three children from this marriage and one from her first. Not waiting too long to enter into her third marriage, on September 24th, 1964 she married an Italian born film director, Matt Cimber and less then a year later the couple split. She too had another child with Cimber, a son, Antonio Raphael Ottaviano born October 17th, 1965.
On June 28th, 1967 while Jayne Mansfield was leaving a event in Biloxi, Mississippi she was in a car accident with three of her children riding in the back seat. Upon impact of a tractor trailer, all the adults died instantly and the children survived. Her funeral was held on July 3rd in Pen Argyl, Pennsylvania. She is interred in Fairview Cemetery.
Jayne Mansfield recevied a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her contribution to the Motion Picture Industry and she also in her total career spanned appeared in about 2500 newspaper photographs and was a household name. In 1980, "The Jayne Mansfield Story" aired on CBS and was nomitated for three Emmy Awards.
1955 Hell on Frisco Bay
1955 The Female Jungle
1955 Pete Kelly's Blues
1956 The Girl Can't Help It
1957 The Burglar
1957 The Wayward Bus
1957 Will Success
1957 Spoil Rock Hunter?
1957 Kiss Them for Me
1958 The Sheriff of Fractured Jaw
1960 The Challenge
1960 Too Hot to Handle
1961 The Loves of Hercules
1961 The George Raft Story
1962 Lykke og krone
1962 It Happened In Athens
1963 Homesick for St. Pauli
1963 Promises! Promises!
1964 L'Amore Primitivo
1964 Panic Button
1964 Dog Eat Dog
1965 The Loved One
1966 The Las Vegas Hillbillys
1966 The Fat Spy
1967 A Guide for the Married Man
1967 Mondo Hollywood
1968 The Wild, Wild World of Jayne Mansfield
1968 Single Room Furnished