Cleavage Actress Biography
Jayne Mansfield (born Vera Jayne Palmer; April 19, 1933 – June 29, 1967) was an American actress in film, theatre, and television, a nightclub entertainer, a singer, and one of the early Playboy Playmates. She was a major Hollywood sex symbol of the 1950s and early 1960s. Mansfield was 20th Century Fox's alternative Marilyn Monroe and came to be known as the Working Man's Monroe. She was also known for her well-publicized personal life and publicity stunts.
Mansfield became a major Broadway star in 1955, a major Hollywood star in 1956, and a leading celebrity in 1957. She was one of Hollywood's original blonde bombshells, and although many people have never seen her movies, Mansfield remains one of the most recognizable icons of 1950s celebrity culture. With the decrease of the demand for big-breasted blonde bombshells and the increase in the negative backlash against her over-publicity, she became a box-office has-been by the early 1960s.
While Mansfield's film career was short-lived, she had several box office successes and won a Theatre World Award and a Golden Globe. She enjoyed success in the role of fictional actress Rita Marlowe in both the 1955–1956 Broadway version, and, in the 1957 Hollywood film version of Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?. She showcased her comedic skills in The Girl Can't Help It (1956), her dramatic assets in The Wayward Bus (1957), and her sizzling presence in Too Hot to Handle (1960). She also sang for studio recordings, including the album Shakespeare, Tchaikovsky & Me and the singles Suey and As the Clouds Drift by (with Jimi Hendrix). Mansfield's notable television work included television dramas Follow the Sun and Burke's Law, game shows The Match Game and What's My Line?, variety shows The Jack Benny Program and The Bob Hope Show, the The Ed Sullivan Show, and a large number of talk shows.
By the early 1960s, Mansfield's box office popularity had declined and Hollywood studios lost interest in her. Some of the last attempts that Hollywood took to publicize her were in The George Raft Story (1961) and It Happened in Athens (1962). But, towards the end of her career, Mansfield remained a popular celebrity, continuing to attract large crowds outside the United States and in lucrative and successful nightclub acts (including The Tropicana Holiday and The House of Love in Las Vegas), and summer-theater work. Her film career continued with cheap independent films and European melodramas and comedies, with some of her later films being filmed in United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, and Greece. In the sexploitation film Promises! Promises! (1963), she became the first major American actress to have a nude starring role in a Hollywood motion picture.
Mansfield took her professional name from her first husband, public relations professional Paul Mansfield, with whom she had a daughter. She was the mother of three children from her second marriage to actor–bodybuilder Mickey Hargitay. She married her third husband, film director Matt Cimber in 1964, and separated from him in 1966. Mansfield and Cimber had a son. In 1967 Mansfield died in a car accident at the age of 34.
1 Early life and education
2 Early career
3 Film career
3.1 Career beginnings (1954–55)
3.2 Film stardom (1955–58)
3.3 Career decline (1959–63)
3.4 Final years (1964–67)
4 Stage career
5 Television career
6 Music career
6.2 Live performances
7 Personal life
7.1 First marriage
7.2 Second marriage
7.3 Third marriage
11.1 Publicity stunts
11.2 Signature color
14 See also
17 External links
Early life and education
Jayne Mansfield was born Vera Jayne Palmer on April 19, 1933 in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. She was the only child of Herbert William (1904–1936), of German ancestry, and Vera Jeffrey Palmer (1903–2000), of English descent. Vera Jeffrey's father, Elmer E Palmer, was from the largely Cornish area of Pen Argyl, Pennsylvania, where he was involved with the slate industry. She inherited more than $90,000 from her maternal grandfather Elmer ($716,000 in 2013 dollars) and more than $36,000 from her maternal grandmother Alice Jane Palmer in 1958 ($286,000 in 2013 dollars). Jayne spent her early childhood in Phillipsburg, New Jersey, where her father was an attorney who practiced with future New Jersey governor Robert B. Meyner. In 1936, when Jayne was three years old, Herbert William died of a heart attack while driving a car with his wife and daughter. Following his death, Jayne's mother worked as a teacher. In 1939 Vera Palmer married sales engineer Harry Lawrence Peers and the family moved to Dallas, Texas, where Jayne was known as Vera Jayne Peers. As a child she wanted to be a Hollywood star like Shirley Temple like many other young girls of her time.
Jayne graduated from Highland Park High School in 1950. While in high school, Jayne took lessons in violin, piano and viola. She also studied Spanish and German. She consistently received high Bs in school (including in mathematics). At the age of 12, she also took lessons in ballroom dance. She married Paul James Mansfield on May 10, 1950. Their daughter, Jayne Marie Mansfield, was born on November 8, 1950. After marriage, Jayne and Paul enrolled in Southern Methodist University to study acting, where lacking finances to afford day care, carried around her daughter Jayne Marie. In 1951, she moved to Austin, Texas, with Paul Mansfield, and studied dramatics at the University of Texas at Austin, until her junior year. While attending the University of Texas, she worked as a nude model for art classes, sold books door-to-door, and worked in the evenings as receptionist of a dance studio. While studying and trying to earn a living, she joined the Curtain Club and was active at the Austin Civic Theater. The Curtain Club was a happening campus theatrical society at that time and featured Tom Jones, Harvey Schmidt, Rip Torn, and Pat Hingle among its members.
In 1952, she moved back to Dallas and for several months, became a student of actor Baruch Lumet, who was father of director Sidney Lumet and founder of the newly founded and now defunct Dallas Institute of Performing Arts. Lumet called Jayne and Rip Torn his "kids", and seeing her potential, provided her private lessons. Then she spent a year at Camp Gordon, Georgia (a US Army training facility) while Paul Mansfield served in the United States Army Reserve in the Korean War. They moved to Los Angeles in 1954, where Jayne studied Theater Arts at UCLA during the summer, and returned to Texas to spend the fall quarter at Southern Methodist University. She managed to maintain a B grade average, between a variety of odd jobs, including selling popcorn at the Stanley Warner Theatre, checking hats, teaching dance, vending candy at a movie theater (where she caught the eye of a TV producer), part-time modelling at the Blue Book Model Agency (where Marilyn Monroe was first noticed), and working as a photographer at Esther Williams' nightclub, the Trail. At The Trails she earned $6 plus 10% of her sales ($51 in 2013 dollars) each evening taking pictures of patrons. Frequent references have been made to Mansfield's very high IQ, which she claimed was 163. She spoke five languages, including English. She spoke fluent French and Spanish, German that she learned in high school, and she studied Italian in 1963. Reputed to be Hollywood's "smartest dumb blonde", she later complained that the public did not care about her brains: "They're more interested in 40–21–35," she said.
Playboy centerfold appearance
Preceded by Bettie Page
Succeeded by Marilyn Waltz
Measurements Bust: 40 in (102 cm)
Waist: 21 in (53 cm)
Hips: 35 in (89 cm)
Height 5 ft 6 in (1.68 m) (5 ft 8 in, according to her autopsy)
While attending the University of Texas at Austin, Mansfield won several beauty contests, including: Miss Photoflash, Miss Magnesium Lamp, and Miss Fire Prevention Week. The only title she refused was Miss Roquefort Cheese, because she believed it, "...just didn't sound right." Mansfield accepted a bit part in a B-grade film titled Prehistoric Women (produced by Alliance Productions, alternatively titled The Virgin Goddess) in 1950. In 1952, while in Dallas, she and Paul Mansfield participated in small local-theater productions of The Slaves of Demon Rum and Ten Nights in a Barroom, and Anything Goes in Camp Gordon, Georgia. After Paul Mansfield left for military service, Mansfield first appeared on stage in a production of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman on October 22, 1953, with the players of the Knox Street Theater, headed by Lumet.
While at UCLA she entered the Miss California contest (hiding her marital status), and won the local round before withdrawing. She also won many small and local beauty pageants, including Miss Photoflash, Miss Magnesium Lamp, Miss Fire Prevention Week, Gas Station Queen, Miss Analgesin, Cherry Blossom Queen, Miss Third Platoon, Miss Blues Bonnet of Austin, Miss Direct Mail, Miss Electric Switch, Miss Fill-er-up, Miss Negligee, Nylon Sweater Queen, Miss One for the Road, Miss Freeway, Hot Dog Ambassador, Miss Electric Switch, Miss Geiger Counter, Best Dressed Woman of Theater, Miss 100% Pure Maple Syrup, Miss July Fourth, Miss Texas Tomato, Miss Standard Foods, Miss Orchid, Miss Potato Soup, Miss Lobster, Miss United Dairies and Miss Chihuahua Show.
Early in her career, her prominent breasts were considered problematic, and led to her loosing her first professional assignment—an advertising campaign for General Electric that depicted young women in bathing suits relaxing around a pool. Emmeline Snively, head of the Blue Book Model Agency, had sent her to photographer Gene Lester, which led to her short-lived assignment in the General Electric commercial. In 1954, she auditioned at both Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros. for a part in The Seven Year Itch, but failed to impress. She also auditioned at paramount for Joan of Arc—a project that never completed—and failed again. That year, she landed her first acting assignment in Lux Video Theatre, a series on CBS (An Angel Went AWOL, October 21, 1954). In the show, she sat at the piano and delivered a few lines of dialogue for $300 ($3,000 in 2013 dollars).
She posed nude for the February 1955 issue of Playboy, modelling in pyjamas raised so that the bottoms of her breasts showed. This increased the magazine's circulation and helped launch Mansfield's career. Playboy had begun publishing from publisher–editor Hugh Hefner's kitchen in 1953, but became popular in the first decade of publication—riding on the popularity of its early Playmates like Mansfield, Marilyn Monroe, Bettie Paige, and Anita Ekberg. Beginning in February 1955, She formed a long-standing relationship with Playboy. Shortly afterward, she posed for the Playboy calendar covering her breasts with her hands. Playboy featured Jayne every February from 1955 to 1958, and again in 1960.
In August 1956, Paul Mansfield claimed custody of their daughter claiming Jayne was an unfit mother because she appeared nude in the Playboy. In 1964, the magazine repeated the pictorial. Photos from that pictorial were reprinted in a number of Playboy issues, including: December 1965 ("The Playboy Portfolio of Sex Stars"), January 1979 ("25 Beautiful Years"), January 1984 ("30 Memorable Years"), January 1989 ("Women Of The Fifties"), January 1994 ("Remember Jayne"), November 1996 ("Playboy Gallery"), August 1999 ("Playboy's Sex Stars of the Century"; Special edition), and January 2000 ("Centerfolds Of The Century"). In the week following her first Playboy appearance, Mansfield caught Hollywood and media attention by dropping her bikini-top at a press junket for the Jane Russell film Underwater.