logo
Getty Images
Getty Images

Mariska Hargitay's Brother Was Bitten by a Lion in Neck When Their Mother Posed for Cameras

Joe Akins
Nov 18, 2021
05:20 A.M.

Jayne Mansfield was one of the most popular stars of the '50s and one of the earliest sex symbols in Hollywood. However, she was left stunned after a visit to the zoo left her son with a bite to the neck.

Advertisement

Jayne Mansfield was an American actress who rose to fame in the 1950s and 1960s for her stunning curves and cinematic performances. Mansfield was a raving beauty and one of the earliest sex symbols of her time.

After being cast in films like "Kiss Them for Me," "The Sheriff of Fractured Jaw," and "It Takes a Thief," her career took off. In the 1960s, she had a career slowdown, though she continued to act in minor roles in cinema and theater.

Jane Mansfield in a photo shoot with her son. Zoltan Hargitay | Photo: Getty Images

Jane Mansfield in a photo shoot with her son. Zoltan Hargitay | Photo: Getty Images

Mansfield was killed in an automobile accident on June 29, 1967, at 34 years old. Before her death, she was involved in a bizarre accident in a zoo. Here is a look at her life and the unusual zoo accident.

EARLY LIFE

Advertisement

The actress was born Vera Jayne Palmer in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, on April 19, 1933. Her father, Herbert, was an attorney and pianist, while her mom, Vera, had previously worked as a schoolteacher.

Mansfield suffered a childhood tragedy when her father died of a heart attack while driving with the family when she was three years old. Mansfield later stated that the incident marked a turning point in her life.

Advertisement

To finance herself and her daughter, Mansfield's mother went back to teaching, and in 1939 she married Harry Peers, a sales engineer. The family relocated to the city of Dallas, Texas.

Mansfield was raised in a middle-class family and was later an above-average student, thanks to her strict mother, who enjoyed being her tutor.

Mansfield was also a natural-born performer and excelled in anything involving the arts. She took singing, dancing, and violin classes and was fond of standing in her driveway, playing her violin for passers-by.

Jayne Mansfield, Mickey Hargitay, and their children in London in 1959 | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Jayne Mansfield, Mickey Hargitay, and their children in London in 1959 | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

MARRIAGE AND CAREER

Mansfield was a stunning beauty. A few months after her 16th birthday, she found Paul, who was four years her senior. The duo met at a Christmas party and fell in love right away.

Advertisement

In January 1950, a few months before Mansfield graduated from Highland Park High School, they married secretly. Their daughter, Jayne Marie, was born later that year.

Following her marriage to Paul, Mansfield furthered her education at Southern Methodist University. She then studied drama at the University of Texas in Austin, participating in local productions such as Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman."

Jayne Mansfield for the film "Kiss Them for Me" in 1957 | Source: Wikimedia Commons

Jayne Mansfield for the film "Kiss Them for Me" in 1957 | Source: Wikimedia Commons

Seeing that her acting talents were fit enough for Hollywood, Mansfield had her heart set on relocating to Los Angeles. She aimed to pursue a career in acting, hoping to become a star in the City of Angels.

Her early years in Hollywood did not go as planned and were filled with disappointments. She had failed auditions for Paramount and Warner Bros and was forced to work as a candy seller at a movie hall to help support herself.

Advertisement

Mansfield also pursued a career in modeling alongside her hopes of becoming an actress. She enrolled for several modeling jobs, but she was considered too seductive for 1954 viewers and was often kept out of the spotlight.

Jayne Mansfield at the Dorchester Hotel in London in September 1957 | Source: Getty Images

Jayne Mansfield at the Dorchester Hotel in London in September 1957 | Source: Getty Images

Despite this, Mansfield made her television debut the next year with a role in the "Lux Video Theatre" series.

Mansfield's marriage to Paul failed as she attempted to get into the movie business. They divorced in 1955, but she opted to keep his last name which she became known as in her career.

Mansfield demonstrated a no-holds-barred approach to self-promotion. She went out of her way to set herself apart from the plethora of slender blonde starlets vying for stardom in Hollywood at the time.

Advertisement
Jayne Mansfield circa 1955 | Photo: Getty Images

Jayne Mansfield circa 1955 | Photo: Getty Images

The model/actress made pink her signature color, wearing it, driving a pink automobile, and finally purchasing a pink-themed home dubbed the Pink Palace.

Mansfield's private life took a dramatic and widely publicized turn after her 1955 divorce from Paul, which sometimes overshadowed her acting career.

She married Mickey Hargitay, the winner of the Mr. Universe Competition, in 1958 and had three children, one of them was Mariska, a future actress. The marriage turned out to be a disaster like all her relationships.

Jayne Mansfield in 1954 in Los Angeles, California in 1954 | Photo: Getty Images

Jayne Mansfield in 1954 in Los Angeles, California in 1954 | Photo: Getty Images

Advertisement

THE ZOO ACCIDENT

Mansfield and her children paid a visit to Jungleland when her then 6-year-old son, Zoltan, was attacked by a lion in the zoo. Mansfield was taking pictures when the attack occurred.

According to reports, Mansfield saw the huge lion grab her toddler by the neck and roll him on the ground. The actress was said to have screamed in fear of what would have become of her son. The zoo manager and animal expert joined forces to free Zoitan by prying the lion's jaws apart.

The lion was then returned to a cage and placed in a 14-day quarantine by the Ventura County Animal Control Department. Medical professionals immediately took Zoltan to a hospital, where he underwent brain surgery before regaining consciousness.

Advertisement

Six years after the incident, Zoltan was awarded $10,000 after his family sued the zoo. The boy and the now-bankrupt amusement park Jungleland reached an out-of-court settlement, which the Ventura County Superior Court authorized.

HER DEATH

In 1967, Mansfield was killed in a terrifying car accident that has remained a dark history in Hollywood. As she made her way to a TV program in New Orleans, the 34-year-old diva drove down a short country path near a swamp in a 1966 Buick Electra.

The road ahead was abruptly blocked by heavy insect repellent, preventing Mansfield's driver from recognizing a slow-moving truck approaching from behind. Mansfield, her boyfriend Sam Brody, and their driver Ronnie Harrison were all killed instantaneously when the vehicles collided.

Advertisement

Mansfield's three children from her second marriage to Mickey Hargitay, Mariska, Zoltan, and Miklos Jr, who were all sleeping in the rear, miraculously survived the crash with only minor injuries.

Several theories believe someone had orchestrated Mansfield's death as reports revealed she had suffered several accidents before the 8th one that claimed her life.

MANSFIELD LOVED BEING A MOM

Actress Mariska still recalls her late mom with fondness more than five decades after her sad death. But, according to the actress, her mother's biggest regret would have been not growing old with her kids.

Mariska Hargitay from the series "Law & Order: SVU" attends a photocall during the 58th Monte Carlo TV Festival on June 17, 2018 | Photo: Getty Images

Mariska Hargitay from the series "Law & Order: SVU" attends a photocall during the 58th Monte Carlo TV Festival on June 17, 2018 | Photo: Getty Images

Mansfield had her way of balancing her demanding career and being there for all her kids. Despite her many sides, she enjoyed being a mom and was a big part of her children's lives.

Advertisement
info
Please fill in your e-mail so we can share with you our top stories!
By subscribing, you agree to our Privacy Policy
Advertisement
info

news.AmoMama.com does not support or promote any kind of violence, self-harm, or abusive behavior. We raise awareness about these issues to help potential victims seek professional counseling and prevent anyone from getting hurt. news.AmoMama.com speaks out against the above mentioned and news.AmoMama.com advocates for a healthy discussion about the instances of violence, abuse, sexual misconduct, animal cruelty, abuse etc. that benefits the victims. We also encourage everyone to report any crime incident they witness as soon as possible.

Related posts

Joanne Woodward Turns 94: Inside Her Private Life after Retreating from Public Eye Due to Alzheimer's

February 29, 2024

Mariska Hargitay Shows Rarely-Seen Son at 17 & Fans Are Divided over Whether He's a Copy of Mom or Dad

May 03, 2024

Mariska Hargitay Showed Off Her Three Rarely-Seen Children, One of Whom Has Grown Taller than Her

May 04, 2024

5 Celebrities Who Faced the Death of Their Partners & How They Got through It

March 19, 2024

Jennifer Gray Turns 64: Divorce, Cancer & the Car Accident That Affected Her Neck

March 25, 2024

7 Beauties of the Past: How Famous Actresses Have Changed over Decades

April 16, 2024

Inside Charo's Elegant Home Where She Found Her Husband of 40 Years Dead: 'He Was an Amazing Man'

February 14, 2024

Barbara Rush Died: Her Last Photos & Personal Life as Granny of Twins

April 02, 2024

This Girl Became a Star - The 'Product of 13 Divorces,' Her Dad Left Her Mom for 17-Year-Old Actress

May 01, 2024

How Paul Walker Would Look Today If Not for Tragic High-Speed Car Accident: Photos via AI

February 06, 2024

5 Amazing Stories of Celebrities Who Found the Love of Their Life after 40

January 25, 2024

Robyn Bernard Found Dead in Open Field: 3 Other 'General Hospital' Stars with Tragic Fates

March 15, 2024

Debra Winger, Who Had Brain Hemorrhage & Was Paralyzed on One Side, Looks Unrecognizable – Her Transformation

May 20, 2024

Paul McCartney Became Father to Child Who Was 'A Kind of Miracle' whom He Raised Without Nanny

February 18, 2024