Mickey Hargitay

Hungarian-American actor and bodybuilder

Miklós "Mickey" Hargitay (January 6, 1926 – September 14, 2006) was an actor and Mr. Universe 1955. He was born in Budapest, Hungary. He was married to Jayne Mansfield. He is the father of actress Mariska Hargitay. During their marriage, Hargitay and Mansfield made four movies together. These were Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957), The Loves of Hercules (1960), Promises! Promises! (1963), and L'Amore Primitivo (1964).

Mickey Hargitay
Mickey Hargitay 1964.JPG
Hargitay in 1964.
Miklós Hargitay

(1926-01-06)January 6, 1926
DiedSeptember 14, 2006(2006-09-14) (aged 80)
Spouse(s)Mary Birge (1948–1956)
Jayne Mansfield (1958–1964)
Ellen Siano (1967–2006) (his death)

Early life and sports careerEdit

Hargitay was born and raised in Hungary. He was an acrobat in an act with his brothers. He was soccer player and a speed skater.[1] He was an underground fighter during World War II. Hargitay left Hungary after the war. He moved to the United States where he settled in Cleveland.

He married Mary Birge. He had an acrobatic act with her. They had one child, Tina, born in 1949. Hargitay worked as a plumber and carpenter. He begin bodybuilding after seeing a magazine cover of Steve Reeves.

Hargitay became NABBA Mr. Universe in 1955. He joined Mae West's muscleman show at the Latin Quarter nightclub in New York City. He married Jayne Mansfield in 1958. They divorced in 1964. He is the first to receive the Joe Weider Lifetime Achievement Award. In May 2006, he received the Muscle Beach Hall of Fame Award.

Acting careerEdit

Hargitay's first movie role came when Jayne Mansfield demanded he have a part 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 nightclub. When Jayne saw Mickey on the stage, she told the waiter, "I’ll have a steak and that tall man on the left."[2]

The two fell head over heels in love. They were never seen apart. 20th Century Fox didn't want Hargitay in Rock Hunter, because they hated Mansfield's idea 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 movie down, they gave in and let Hargitay appear in a bit part.

In 1960, Jayne and Mickey would play the lead roles in The Loves of Hercules. The movie was shot in Italy. It was never released in the United States. 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 movie written for Mansfield, but the two divorced before shooting began. Hargitay also acted in the 1988 movie, Mr. Universe.[3]

Hargitay's last 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.

Personal lifeEdit

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".[4] He built its famous heart-shaped swimming pool. In November 2002, the house was razed by developers.

In May 1963, Mickey and Jayne divorced in Mexico. The divorce was ruled invalid. The two reconciled in October 1963. After Mariska's birth, Mansfield sued for the Mexican divorce to be declared legal. She 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 Ellen Siano in September 1967. They were married until his death.


He died in Los Angeles on September 14, 2006, aged 80, from multiple myeloma. The Los Angeles Times noted in Hargitay's obituary:[5]

"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."

List of moviesEdit

Year Movie Title Role Notes
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)
1967 Cjamango Clinton
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 footnotesEdit

  1. Cohen, Sandy (September 19, 2006). "Actor Mickey Hargitay Dies at Age 80". Washingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2011-07-28.
  2. Gene Mozee (February 2007). "Mickey Hargitay(In Memoriam)". Ironman Magazine. Archived from the original on May 23, 2011. Retrieved April 10, 2011.
  3. "FilmVilág". Emir.hu. 1990-12-03. Archived from the original on 2011-07-21. Retrieved 2011-07-28.
  4. http://www.dianamystery.com/Jayne_pink_palace2.jpg Archived 2008-10-30 at the Wayback Machine Jayne Mansfield Pink Palace
  5. McLellan, Dennis (2006-09-19). "Mickey Hargitay, 80; Bodybuilder Popularized the Sport - Los Angeles Times". Latimes.com. Retrieved 2011-07-28.

Other websitesEdit