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Jayne Mansfield was an American actress best known for her bombshell curves and roles in films during the 1950s and '60s.
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Jayne Mansfield was an American actress born on April 19, 1933 in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. She gained fame and pin-up status after suffering wardrobe malfunctions in front of photographers. She was offered roles in several films such as Kiss Them For Me (1957), The Sheriff of Fractured Jaw (1958) and It Takes a Thief (1960). She experienced a career lull in the 1960s, though she did act in small roles on film and stage. Mansfield died in a car accident on June 29,
1967 at the age of 34. Her daughter, Mariska Hartigay, is a well-known and respected television actress.
Jayne Mansfield was born Vera Jayne Palmer on April 19, 1933, in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. Mansfield's father, Herbert Palmer, was an attorney, and her mother, Vera Palmer, was a retired schoolteacher. Mansfield endured a childhood tragedy at the age of 3, when her father passed away from a heart attack at the age of 30. Her father's death came as a complete shock; he had attended a routine physical the very morning of his death and was proclaimed entirely healthy.
Reflecting back on the tragedy, Mansfield later said, "Something went out of my life... My earliest memories are the best. I always try to remember the good times when Daddy was alive." Mansfield's mother returned to teaching to support the family, and in 1939, with her daughter's approval, she married an engineer named Harry Peers and they moved with him to Dallas, Texas.
In Dallas, Mansfield enjoyed a typical middle class upbringing. She was a caring and naïve child, and accounts of her youth are full of endearing anecdotes illustrating these traits. When Mansfield learned that a classmate of hers did not own a winter coat because her family had fallen upon hard times, she traded the girl her own coat for an old baby bottle. One day, her Sunday school teacher told Mansfield that God was always with her, and that night she fell out of bed several times "making room for God."
Mansfield was also a natural born performer. She took voice, dance and violin lessons and would frequently stand out in her driveway playing her violin for passersby on the sidewalk. Mansfield's obsession with Hollywood stars was born at the age of 13, when she and her mother took a vacation to Los Angeles and she got the autographs of radio stars Dennis Day and Harold Peary at a Hollywood restaurant. Upon returning to their table, she declared to her mother, "one day some other young girl is going to make her way across this room and ask for my autograph."
Jayne Mansfield was 16 years old when she met a boy named Paul Mansfield at a Christmas party and immediately fell in love. They married just months later, in May of 1950, a few weeks before Mansfield graduated from Highland Park High School in Dallas. Later that year, she gave birth to a daughter, Jayne Marie Mansfield.
While her husband served in the Korean War, Mansfield studied drama at Southern Methodist University in Dallas and appeared in local plays, including a production of Death of a Salesman with the Knox Street Players.
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