Question: I have been wondering ever since Mariska Hargitay first appeared on Law & Order: SVU if she is the daughter of Mickey Hargitay and Jayne Mansfield? I can't seem to find an answer. Can you tell me if she is? Thank you.


Answer: She is indeed, Patricia. Born in 1964 to the title-winning weight lifter (Mr. Universe, Mr. World, Mr. America) and the legendary blonde bombshell, the actress was in the car with her mom and her two siblings when a tragic accident near New Orleans took Mansfield's life in 1967. In fact, early in Hargitay's career, her mom's image helped influence her acting choices — in the other direction. "I played lots of tomboys, wearing flannel shirts, jeans and boots," she told The Los Angeles Times last year. "On some unconscious level, I was shying away from those sexual roles because of my mother. But as I got older, I changed my mind. I now look forward to doing all kinds of parts, including those that are sexual and sensual."

You may also have seen her as a girlfriend to Dr. Greene (Anthony Edwards) on ER or in films like Lake Placid and Leaving Las Vegas. But for now the lady's got herself a hit and, to my mind, deserves it for the combination of intelligence and no-nonsense intensity she brings to the part.