Mariska Hargitay is one of the most famous television actors of all time, in large part to playing Detective Olivia Benson on Law & Order: SVU for 20 seasons. While she’s been on our television screens for many years, Hargitay has a very interesting backstory that some people don’t know.
While most know her from SVU, she also had roles on Falcon Crest and ER. From her famous parents to her famous improv teacher, here are five fast facts you need to know about Mariska Hargitay.
Hargitay is definitely a star in her own right, but she also comes from famous parents. Her father was Mr. Universe, Mickey Hargitay, and her mother was famous actress and sex symbol, Jayne Mansfield. Sadly, her mother died in a car accident in 1967, which Hargitay (age 3) and two of her siblings, who were also in the car, survived.
Because of her parents, Hargitay got into pageants at a young age. In fact, she was crowned Miss Beverly Hills USA in 1982 and went on to compete in Miss California USA the following year but lost to Julie Lynne Hayek. That’s okay — Hayek went on to win the Miss USA pageant and was first runner-up in Miss Universe.
Famous Improv Teacher
Hargitay decided to ditch college in under to pursue an acting career. She began attending the Groundlings Theatre and School and had none other than Kathy Griffin as her improv teacher! It all came full circle when Griffin guest-starred on SVU back in 2010.
Music Video Star
Taylor Swift famously named one of her cats after Hargitay’s SVU character, Olivia Benson, but that’s not the only connection the actress has to the singer. In fact, Hargitay was featured in Swift’s music video for her song, Bad Blood.
Hargitay met her husband, Peter Hermann (ex-Michael, Guiding Light; ex-Wayne, All My Children) when he first guest starred on SVU back in 2001 (he’s appeared in many since). They married in 2004 and have three children together. Hermann is also one of the stars in the television show, Younger, which is on TVLand.