Miklós Hargitay, born into a poor family in Kőbánya, District X of Budapest, worked himself up the ladder and became known worldwide. He seduced one of the most famous sex symbols of his age, Jayne Mansfield, and they were a dream couple in an American dream home. Before everything changed, Index.hu says.
Mickey Hargitay was born with the name Miklós Hargitay in the January of 1926, and at the age of 29, he was Mr Universe. He grew up in a poor family in Kőbánya, his luxurious home in the US, where he lived with his second wife, was referred to as the Pink Palace.
He did a lot of sports as a child with his siblings, their father took physical exercise very seriously, so the later Mr Universe pursued speed skating competitively, played soccer in Fradi, and made money as an acrobat.
As he put it, he did not want to be an actor, he wanted to be a hero of the Wild West.
Besides physical workout, he was engaged in refining his brain as well: he claimed that he had an engineering degree and left the country with the degree in his pocket after the Second World War. At the same time, some skeptics believe he simply left the country because he had been summoned.
He arrived in Brooklyn, with only ten dollars in his pocket, and started working on a fruit market. Then moved on to Indianapolis, undertaking odd-jobs. Here he married a local woman, who was also an acrobat, and in the evenings they did a show together. His first child, Tina was born, but his first marriage ended after just a couple of years.
The turning point in his life came soon, when he saw Steve Reeves on the cover of a magazine, who was the best-paid actor, at the top of his career in Europe. He motivated the young Hargitay to start to take body-building more seriously, as a result, in a few years’ time, he was awarded the title Mr Universe in London.
This award turned his life upside down: he got into Mae West’s revue, who even fell in love with him a little. Thanks to this show, Mickey got to know his second wife, Jayne Mansfield, who was often referred to as the poor man’s Marilyn Monroe. She fell in love with him at first sight, and they became a dream couple, and constantly appeared on the covers of magazines. They played together in movies too, such as Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?, The Loves of Hercules, Promises! Promises!, and L’Amore Primitivo (Primitive Love).
Although the bodybuilder Hungarian had as much to do with acting “as a taxi driver has” (he said that himself), he got the main role in the Bloody Pit of Horror, an absolutely ridiculous horror movie, inspired by Marquis de Sade’s writings. In the movie, Hargitay plays a sadist crazy man who tortures under-dressed women, imagining himself a 17th-century hangman.
Despite the devastating criticism, he did not want to give up acting, he played in numerous Italian movies, and later Arnold Schwarzenegger played Hargitay in his biographical movie.
Meanwhile, problems started to come up in his marriage. His wife was said to be much more intelligent than him and had different interests. He was also too strict with their 3 children, compared to his wife’s habits. They finally divorced in the August of 1964.
Soon after this, in 1967, Jayne Mansfield died in a car accident, not knowing that the gossips about his ex-husband and the “Hungarian Marilyn Monroe” were true: they were lovers by that time. Later it turned out that Mansfield was a Satanist. Two months after the funeral Hargitay married again, and raised his children with Ellen Siano, his new wife.
During his life, Hargitay visited his home country relatively often, and he was proud of his origins, despite the circumstances which he grew up in.
About his visits to Hungary, he said he did not visit his old house or the playgrounds in Kőbánya, because he always wants to go ahead, not back in time. But he remembered vividly the ice-rink in Szabadság tér, where he often went to practice, and to take a shower, because they only had cold water at home.
Hargitay’s last tv performance was in an episode of Special Victims Unit with his daughter, Mariska Hargitay. She thanked him when she received the Emmy and the Golden Globe awards for the show. Miklós Hargitay died just a few weeks later in the Cedars-Sinai hospital in Los Angeles, where Debbie Reynolds, Natalie Cole, Elizabeth Taylor, Brittany Murphy, Frank Sinatra and River Phoenix spent the last hours of their life, too. He watched the Emmy Awards from the hospital room. When he was asked whether he would say no if a movie was to be made about his life and career, he simply answered:
Featured Image: Wikicommons by Ross W. Christera and Associates, Beverly Hills (management)