Last Updated on January 24, 2023
Who is Mariska Hargitay?
Mariska Hargitay is a famous American actress and, in fact, one of the highest-paid actresses on television. She is best known for her lead role as sex crimes Detective Olivia Benson in the NBC drama series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
Before landing her breakout role in the hit series, Mariska appeared in the music video for Ronnie Milsap’s, She Loves My car. A year later, she was cast in a minor role in Ghoulies, a comedy horror film. She went on to appear in several other television shows after that, including Downtown, Tequila and Bonetti, Can’t Hurry Love, The Single Guy, and ER.
Born to Hollywood superstars, Mariska was naturally in the spotlight before she achieved her own measure of fame on her own. As a teenager, she hit the beauty pageant scene, winning the Miss Beverly Hills 1982 pageant. She also competed in the Miss California pageant a year later, placing fourth.
Over the years, the Hollywood icon has proven to be more than just a pretty face on television. Here’s what we know about the Law and Order’s star actress, Mariska Hargitay, her biography, transformation through childhood, and her net worth.
|Full Name:||Mariska Magdolna Hargitay|
|Popular Name:||Mariska Hargitay|
|Birth Date:||January 23, 1964|
|Parents:||Mickey Hargitay (Father), Jayne Mansfield (Mother)|
|Siblings:||Two brothers, three half-siblings|
|Birth Place:||Santa Monica, California, USA|
|Ethnicity:||Hungarian, German, English|
|Education:||Marymount High School, The Groundings, UCLA School of Theatre, Film, and Television, University of California, Los Angeles|
|Children:||August Miklos Friedrich, Amaya Josephine, Andrew Nicolas Hargitay|
|Net Worth:||$100 million|
|Source of Wealth:||Actor, Film, Television|
|Height:||5ft7 (1.71 m)|
|Weight:||54kg (120 lbs)|
Early Life and Career Information
Mariska Hargitay was born in the iconic city of Santa Monica, California, to Hollywood stars on January 23, 1964. Her father, Mickey Hargitay, was a Hungarian bodybuilder and the 1955 Mr. Universe, while her mother, Jayne Mansfield, was an American actress, entertainer, and sex icon in the 50’s and 60’s
When she was three years old, Mariska was involved in a terrible car accident with her mother, her mother’s boyfriend, the driver, and her brothers. Everyone died in the crash except her and her brothers, leaving her with a zigzag scar on her head. She and her two older brothers then relocated to Beverly Hills to live with their father, who raised them alongside his third wife, Ellen Siano.
Mariska attended Marymount High School, where she developed interests in athletics, cheerleading, and acting. In 1982, she was crowned Miss Beverly Hills, USA. After graduating high school in 1982, she attended the UCLA School of Theatre Film and Television but quit before finishing her degree. She then attended Groundlings Theatre and School in Los Angeles.
Her first TV appearance was in Ronnie Milsap’s hit single, She Loves My Car, where she starred in the music video as the pop star’s girlfriend. It later became the first country music video to air on MTV. She took another big step forward in her career after that when she was cast in her first film role in the horror-comedy film Ghoulies in 1984.
Following this, she appeared in a long list of notable shows, including Tequila and Bonetti and Can’t Hurry Love, before landing her breakthrough role in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. She plays the lead role of sex-crime Detective Olivia Benson in the American crime drama series. Since its debut on NBC in 1999, the show has become one of the longest-running shows on television.
Mariska has received several accolades for her performance on the show, including a Primetime Emmy in 2006, a Golden Globe in 2005 for Best Actress in a Television Series, and a Gracie Allen Award for Outstanding Female Lead in a Drama Series in 2009.
Having to deal with the tragic loss of her mother at a tender age and her role as a sex-crimes Detective in Law & Order: SVU inspired Mariska to establish the Joyful Heart Foundation in 2004. The non-profit organization’s mission is to heal, educate and empower victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse.
Mariska Hargitay’s Net Worth
The Hollywood actress-turned-activist is best known for her appearance in the show Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and has amassed a staggering net worth of $100 million.
Being one of the longest-running cast members of the show, Mariska has gathered quite a fortune, with a current salary of about $500,000 per episode. Besides Law & Order, Mariska makes money from appearing in other television shows.
Lessons from the life of Mariska Hargitay
Learn From Experiences
“Sometimes things in life happen that allow us to understand our priorities very clearly. Ultimately you can see those as gifts.” ~ Mariska Hargitay
It can be difficult to accept that what you’re going through, no matter how frustrating, can turn out to be a blessing in disguise.
Mariska Hargitay discovered this later in her life, after going through the trauma of losing her mother in a car accident and then losing her father in the years that followed. These occurrences, including her role as a sex crimes detective in Law & Order: SVU, shaped her into a strong woman.
It enabled her to connect on a deeper level with victims of rape, violence, and assault, ultimately leading to her establishing her non-profit foundation to assist them.
Face Your Fears
“I am grateful that I didn’t let fear get the best of me. It only holds you back from possibilities and greatness.” ~ Mariska Hargitay
No one achieved anything significant by being afraid to showcase their potential, not even those you think had it easy. Nothing good comes out of living in fear. It only prevents you from realizing your full potential.