Photo of Mariska Hargitay Mariska Hargitay

The daughter of blond bombshell Jayne Mansfield and actor Mickey Hargitay, Mariska Hargitay was born in Los Angeles Jan. 23, 1964, and largely kept out of the Hollywood spotlight in the wake of her mother's sudden death in 1967.

But Hargitay would eventually work her way into acting after being crowned Miss Beverly Hills in 1982. She built a diverse professional résumé that included a part in the horror film Ghoulies (1985) and an appearance on the top-rated TV show "In the Heat of the Night." In 1988, she landed a recurring role on "Falcon Crest" before earning a high-profile spot playing a single mother on the hit drama series "ER."

Hargitay's subsequent turn as tough-talking Det. Olivia Benson on the spin-off "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" has garnered the actress countless new fans, a Golden Globe award in 2005 and multiple Emmy nominations, with a win in 2006.

Mariska Hargitay in The Perfect Weapon

The Perfect Weapon

1991 R

When gangsters threaten the mentor of martial arts expert Jeff Sanders, the protégé tries but fails to stop them from murdering his teacher. Now, the young kenpo master can think of nothing but revenge, declaring war on the Korean crime syndicates.

  • Mariska Hargitay in Tales from Earthsea Tales from Earthsea
  • Mariska Hargitay in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
  • Mariska Hargitay in Ghoulies / Ghoulies II: Double Feature Ghoulies / Ghoulies II: Double Feature
  • Mariska Hargitay in Blind Side Blind Side
  • Mariska Hargitay in Plain Truth Plain Truth