Mariska Hargitay is best known for her role as Detective Olivia Benson in the TV drama series, Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.
Born January 23, 1964, in Los Angeles, CA, to Jayne Mansfield and Mickey Hargitay, Mariska was three years old when her mother was killed in a car accident. Mariska and her two brothers were asleep in the back seat of the car when it smashed into the back of a tractor-trailer truck, instantly killing their mother, the driver, and another passenger. The children all escaped with minor bruises.
In 1982, Mariska won the Miss Beverly Hills pageant. A year later she made her screen debut in a small role in Star 80. Among the other movies she has appeared in are Ghoulies (1985), Mr. Universe (1988), Leaving Las Vegas (1995), Lake Placid (1999), and Perfume (2001).
Hargitay landed her first television series role in 1986, when she played Jesse Smith, in the series Downtown. She played Carly Fixx in Falcon Crest (1988), Officer Angela Garcia in Tequila and Bonetti (1992), and Det. Nina Echeverria in Prince Street (1997). Hargitay played in the recurring role of Cynthia Hooper, Dr. Mark Green’s love interest, on E.R., and had guest roles in many other series.
Hargitay has won both a Golden Globe Award and the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her role in Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.