Valentine Vixen — Miss February 1955, Jayne Mansfield

Remember how Jayne Mansfield came up not once but twice over this month in the course of covering the Valentine Vixens, and I kept alluding to how she would appear later in her own extra-focused double-long entry later in the month? Totally keeping my promise right this second!

I have featured the lovely and talented Jayne Mansfield, actress, model and Playboy’s Miss February 1955, before as part of a “The Way They Were” feature, but here she is in her own right.


Photographed by Hal Adams.

There is so very much, true and untrue, written about Ms. Mansfield’s personal history vis-a-vis her men and her mammaries that I decided to try and stick with showing some rare pictures and lesser seen facets of the other, more real side of her personality, and try and feature some clever quotes from her.

Because, as with Pammy, I am totally effing sick of the persistence of the “dumb blonde” thing, and I feel like when people write about Ms. Mansfield, it is usually in passing reference to her body or to her fame only as a symbol of sex in cinema, and almost never dwells on what was beneath the surface of the image she spun in order to be a Hollywood “success.”

The measure of a woman, get it? Funny, yes. The pose is cute but no, that’s no way to gauge us. Here is a kernel of widsom from me to you; write it down and you will land yourself some foxy dates:

“A lady is always greater than the sum of her parts, no matter the greatness of some of those parts.” — E., Right Here, Right Now.

Take it to the bank! Don’t be intimidated. Get to know a woman, ask her about herself, remember the things she says, and you will very easily win her over. Okay? So back to Ms. Mansfield. A couple pithy quotes from the buxom blonde:

“A forty-one inch bust and a lot of perseverance will get you more than a cup of coffee—a lot more.”

and

“I like being a pin-up girl. There’s nothing wrong with it. When I’m 100 I’ll still be doing pin-ups.”

That last is a tough one since she died relatively young. Also,

“If you’re going to do something wrong, do it big, because the punishment is the same either way!”,

“Sure, I know men. Men are those creatures with two legs and eight hands.”

and, more seriously, on the subject of desegregation and Civil Rights,

“God created us equal and we’re not living up to it.”

Jayne was famously married to former Mr. Universe, wrestler and bodybuilder Mickey Hargitay, but she was not above a pageant or ten herself. Here’s some fun stuff that I cobbled together from various sources about Jayne’s own beauty contest career.

From the wiki: “While attending the University of Texas, she won several beauty contests, with titles that included Miss Photoflash, Miss Magnesium Lamp and Miss Fire Prevention Week.” During this time, she was also married to her first husband, Paul Mansfield. She studied dramatic arts in Austin, then acting at UCLA when she and Paul moved out to the West Coast.

The wiki claims that the only title she ever turned down was “Miss Roquefort Cheese,” because she believed that it “just didn’t sound right.” A biography site I found included a more complete list of her awards, and here are my hand-picked-for-how-bizarre-they-are favorites of the titles Ms. Mansfield held:

Miss Tomato, Miss Negligee, Miss Nylon Sweater, Miss Freeway, Miss Electric Switch, Miss Geiger Counter (?!?!), Miss 100% Pure Maple Syrup, Miss 4th of July, and, last but most certainly not least, Hot Dog Ambassador (hell, yeah, hot dogs!).


This is my favorite picture of Jayne Mansfield — she is so enrapt in a conversation, mid-sentence and animated, that I think it must be the closest thing to what she really looked like. Because she had such a manufactured image, I find this candid touching.

Other fact you may not know about Ms. Mansfield: the famously blonde babe also made a bombshell of a brunette! Jayne got in touch with her “roots” for the film Single Room Furnished, the picture on which she was working at the time of her death. Adapted from a play by Geraldine Sanford for Jayne by her then-husband Matt Cimber (by the time principal photography in NJ was done, Cimber and she were split and Jayne was dating Sam Brody, her attorney, who died with her), the movie was very slow to be released and was tough to find for a lot of years.


Click any to see large. Each one is unthinkably GIANT.

The imdb summarizes it as

Three stories in one: Johnie (Jayne Mansfield) is married, but her husband deserts her when she becomes pregnant. She changes her name to Mae and takes a job as a waitress. She falls in love, but her fiancé leaves her just as they’re about to get married. So Mae changes her name to Eileen and becomes a prostitute.

I’ve heard it’s actually okay, but I haven’t seen it. Anyone?

Thinking about those final years, her slow decline and her sudden death, is a real bummer, so here’s a couple shots from a much happier time:


At the Pink Palace on her wedding day to Matt Cimber, aka Thomas Vitale “Mateo” Ottaviono, September 24, 1964.

So, since the above pictures have raised the topic — Oh, my. The Pink Palace.

“I’ll have to have a palace, of course. I may not be a princess, but I am a movie queen, and every queen should have a palace.” — Jayne Mansfield

The house has become a part of the lore that surrounds Jayne’s “story,” with most people focusing on the heart-shaped tub, the pink walls, the fur carpets, the fountain of pink champagne, and so on, as evidence of what a Barbie Doll baked in a vanilla cupcake frosted with glitter she was alleged to be. But here is the real deal. Ms. Mansfield bought the Pink Palace in November of 1957 for a cool $76k after some very shrewd real estate backdoor bargaining. A 40-room mansion smack on Sunset Boulevard, the house was built in 1929 by highly regarded Los Angeles architecht G.C. McAllister and had previously been owned by singer Rudy Vallee. It could have gone for much, much more than what Ms. Mansfield wrangled as the end price. But it gets better.


Jayne in the driveway of the Pink Palace.

You need to understand that Jayne was a very specific type of famous. She did not land in big moving pictures so much as her big moving boobs landed her in printed pictures. She was not rated and weighed to be serious in the manner of someone like Audrey Hepburn or even Marilyn Monroe, but you can bet your ass that “Jayne Mansfield” was absolutely a household name. That’s because she was an accessible gal who could move her some magazines. Rags like People and Star were born in this post-war Hollywood boom — men, average men, wanted to ogle star boobies, and women, average women, wanted to read about how they did their makeup, and Jayne was willing to provide both.

Jayne Mansfield created the brand of Jayne Mansfield, made herself worth knowing about before actually having a lot of star credits to her name. In this stroke of genius, in her complete creative control of a public image that made her famous mainly for being famous, she is sort of the fairy godmother of a Hilton or a Kardashian; hell, she wore a transparent wedding dress when she got hitched to Mickey Hargitay, and she was manufacturing wardrobe malfunctions and nip slips when Janet Jackson was still a twinkle in her mother’s eye. At the apex of her career, Jayne actually sold her used bath water by the bottle for $10.00 a pop. Walter Winchell said of her that she was making a career simply “of being a girl,” which the same can be said for a lot of D-listers these days. But I do feel the need to add that I believe Jayne was not as empty-headed and low-class as the current crop of celebutard and I think she had more tinfoil and hardboiled brains in her elegant hot pink pinky nail than Paris Hilton has in her whole spray-tanned size 00 body.


Jayne “crashes” the party.

One really famous instance of Jayne’s cleverness with public relations was at a party thrown for Sophia Loren in 1957. Jayne stole the show by showing up braless in a very low-cut dress. Oops! Some of her decolletage spilled out, and suddenly the event swung from being about the lovely new Italian broad on the block to be focused solely on the Jayne Mansfield brand (available at a newsstand near you!). Above is a famous picture of Sophia grimly bird-dogging the shit out of Jayne, although I think she also looks faintly amused. The arch of her brows is almost a tip of the hat to Ms. Mansfield, as if to say, “Cheap. But well played.” I love it. It’s a pretty famous picture. The picture reminds me of when she went on The Tonight Show and Jack Paar, the forerunner of Johnny Carson, introduced her by saying, “Here they are: Jayne Mansfield!”

“Fucking-a!, how does this boobs-and-the-media history lesson relate to the Pink Palace?” you are asking, and I am saying, “Hall and Oates!, have some patience — it relates directly, and can you please clean up that language?” Okay, so. Parlaying this common-folks’ notoriety and fame in to lucrative wheeling-dealings, Jayne made phone calls and dangled phantom photoshoot promises to area interior decorators, asking for samples to use in her new famous residence. Tantalized by the possibility of a potential publicity relations juggernaut, decorators delivered by the truckload. Thanks to her fame and their greed, the clever Ms. Mansfield managed to decorate the entire mansion with over $150,000 worth of free stuff.

Most of it was in pink, the signature color of her public persona. However, privately she once wrote, “I’ve been identified with pink throughout my career, but I’m not as crazy about it as I’ve led people to believe. My favorite colors are actually neutrals — black and white — but then who thinks of a movie queen in black and white? Everything has to be in living color.” You see what I mean about complete awareness of the image, the public face, and her creative control over it? So much more to her than met the eye. The pink thing must not have been created completely out of whole cloth, though; Mariska Hargitay, star of Law & Order: SVU and Jayne’s daughter from her second marriage to body-builder Mickey Hargitay, remembered well enough her mother’s association with pink and her time with her in the Pink Palace that, in honor of her mother, she wore a pale pink wedding gown and a pink-gold heart-shaped locket when she walked down the aisle in 2004 with her husband, actor Peter Summer. (Whoa, there is dust in here again…so ridiculous, all this dust.)

Since Jayne’s tragic not-decapitating death, the Pink Palace has been owned by Ringo Starr, patron saint Mama Cass Elliot, and Englebert Humperdinck. It was demolished November 9, 2002.

This is Jayne’s actual headstone, at the Fairview Cemetery at Pen Argyl, Pennsylvania, where she was interred following her death June 29, 1967 (exactly thirty-five years before the death of my cousin Thomas which changed my life forever). There is a memorial cinotaph in the Hollywood Forever cemetery, but it has the incorrect date on it. This error is not the Jayne Mansfield Fan Club’s fault; true to loveable character, Ms. Mansfield had given out for many years the incorrect year of her birth in order to appear younger.


Pictures published in the mag from the set of this movie, Promises, got Hef and Playboy slapped with an indecency lawsuit and nearly shut them down — hot story for next time. Oooh, anticipation!

Besides her work on the screen and in print, a lasting legacy of Jayne’s tragic death in an automobile-tractor-trailer crash is the so-called Mansfield bar, a safety feature now standard on all tractor trailers.

The NHTSA began requiring an underride guard, a strong bar made of steel tubing, to be installed on all tractor-trailers. This bar is also known as a Mansfield bar, and on occasions as a DOT bar. (the wiki)

Over the course of her career, the lovely and talented (and, I hope I have convinced you, underratedly clever) Jayne Mansfield appeared in Playboy magazine over 30 times. You may visit Jayne’s star on the Walk of Fame at 6328 Hollywood Boulevard. As her gravestone says, “We live to love you more each day.” R.I.P., Ms. Mansfield.

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58 Responses to “Valentine Vixen — Miss February 1955, Jayne Mansfield”

  1. Rincewind Says:

    truly do love this woman, she was amazing as an model and she actually truly seemed to be enjoying herself full out as an pinup model. big love…

    • E. Says:

      She was a really special gal, for sure — lots of vim and vigor and a good head on her shoulders!

    • Jim Says:

      yeah, pretty special gal actually, for her time and atmosphere…. I have a one-of-a-kind baseball from the early 1960′s, signed by Jayne, to her engaged baseball-famous pitcher,: “to Bo (Belinsky), love, Jayne Mansfield”, with her signature ‘heart’ over the ‘i’, also signed by their compadre, Dean Chance, the Angels pitcher, if anyone is interested !, wishing all well !, J

  2. Rincewind Says:

    oh god yeah, she truly knew how much she was worth and was gonna get top dollars for it as well, magnificent….

  3. James Says:

    I don’t find Jane attractive even the slightest bit. Her face is just plain ugly and her body isn’t anything special either. What she did at that Sophia Loren party was very low. Im not trying to piss anyone off by saying all this. It’s just my opinion.

    • E. Says:

      No pissed’ness here — everyone has their own opinions! By the way, I am following your tumblr now; thanks for putting up “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue.” One of my faves.

    • Don Says:

      Jaymes, you must be a queer to think she was an ugly woman. Jealous bytch.

    • Art Says:

      for the guy who said she wasn’t the least bit attractive, I am very sorry for your accident. I am just assuming there was one because of your brain damage. Her face is ugly? look again at the second black and white photo, she is downright beautiful. and her body is nothing special? I’ll say again, brain damage. But in your defense Don you are a homophobic son of a bitch. My best friend is gay and i guarantee that he would beat your ass to a pulp. And to the jack-ass that called her a whore. I wish. if she were one i would invent a time machine, travel back to the psychedelic 60′s buy some gel tabs and go to town, but she wasn’t a whore. Paris Hilton is a whore, Lindsay Lohan is a whore Kim Kardashian is a whore, Jayne Mansfield was a smart business woman who became famous for being famous and didn’t need a billionaire father, a sex tape, or a reality show to do it. and thank god she passed on her beauty to her daughter Mariska. She is nearly 50 and my 27 year old ass still has amazing dreams about her. in-fact i hope i drift of during this episode of SVU so she is there again tonight

      • Mona Stephanie Benedetto Says:

        I could also see how people could think of Jayne Mansfield as a whore. A good girl doesn’t show off her ass and her tits like that. I don’t know where these pictures are from, but that’s not lady-like, so it really doesn’t make her much better than Lohan and Kardashian. I want people’s respect and especially my family’s respect, and I know that if I did THAT, my Father would be DISGUSTED and probably would never look at me the same way again. You become famous with your talent, not by shaking your ass and tits stripping down to nothing in front to the cameras for the world to see. Have some dignity and pride. I just can’t respect a person who does that and I know a lot of other people feel the same way.

        • Anonymous Says:

          you are ridiculous. it’s just a body, we all have one, nothing vulgar about it. grow up.

        • mike Says:

          You, too are welcome to your opinion, hon, but how we men (most, by far), love that hot piece of ass. There are those of us who were mere kiddies when she was around who have grown to be yearnful for her and those times. she was built like a real, voluptuous woman. too bad ther was a strict “decency” code then, back in the pre 1972,1973, days. She undoubtedly would have gone on to do succesful hardcore as an older woman.

        • Sludge McDumpster-fire Says:

          Mona, Mona, Mona. I really wonder what else you think is not lady like. The standard you espouse does nothing but to hurt women in the long run. To discredit a woman for expressing her own sexuality in a way she deems fit, equating the body with shame and dishonor, and infantalizing her by worrying about what men will say all have dire consequences you may or may not have had to live through. Jayne Mansfield did not appear in films having sex with objects not designed to fit in a human body or with twenty odd men ejaculating all over her face. Of these actors one could say with a legitimate argument that they have little to no self respect, however even then I would disagree. There was a time in American history where a girl who hung out and was friends with several boys in school were considered “sluts,” even though no sex was had. She hurt no one, nor did she lie, cheat, or steal. This is not an argument for pornography, rather this is an argument for women to be able to chose what they do with their bodies without the fear of criticism. Only God can judge us. I’m surprised a man needs to make this argument for you, even though I respect your opinion. God Bless

    • Anonymous Says:

      fuck you asshole

  4. Vitor Says:

    Jayne was a goddess. She and her daughter Mariska is also very beautiful

  5. John Salisbury Says:

    Never made the connection between Mariska and Mickey.
    Anyway I just now stumbled onto another JM post:

    http://grandprix63.blogspot.com/2010/02/stars-and-cars-jayne-mansfield.html

    • E. Says:

      Holy cats. She’s gonna drive me to drinkin’ if she don’t stop drivin’ that hot rod Lincoln. Thanks for the link!

  6. Nash Says:

    A late Argentinian choreographer and dancer, Alfredo Alaria, told me back in the mid 1980s that he was baptism godfather to one of Jayne’s children. Does anybody have some more information about the issue?

  7. EULA JOE Says:

    Anybody besides me think yhat in the 3rd “Single Room Furnished” photo. she looks quite a bit like Angelina Jolie?-
    (Not to mention her daughter, Mariska Hargitay)

  8. fernando Says:

    las pajas que me voy a hacer !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. TJB Says:

    Great post on one of my all time fave raves. Just a few nitpicky things that I noticed: the first two brunette shots of Jayne are from a 1960 film she did called “The Challenge” (aka “It Takes a Thief”), where she also wore a black wig; only the third is from “Single Room Furnished.” Also, the color photos attributed to Mansfield’s wedding day in 1964 are actually from the 1966 first birthday party for Jayne and Matt Cimber’s son, Tony. (She and Cimber were married in Mexico, not at the Pink Palace.)

  10. tim Says:

    DONT think the Pink Palace is there anymore,
    think its been demolished and other properties built on the site.
    Pity , because it could have become a money making shrine… a bit on the lines of Graceland !

    • Jody Says:

      It was torn down back around 2000. I wished they could have made a Jayne Mansfield Museum out of it, but I guess no one didn’t care about that. So they tore it down. Shame.

      • Anonymous Says:

        She was fabulous. She had an IQ of 160 which is borderline genius. She was only 34 when died and look how successful she became in such a short period of time. To those who continue to criticize and find fault with her are just plain envious. ENVY BREEDS RIDICULE. Jayne has been gone for 47 years and look at us; we still admire, discuss, criticize and fantasize over her. We should all be so adored.

  11. jordan Says:

    For the person that doesnt think she was beautiful your the only one just a question are you heavely medicated jealousy jealousy jealousy

  12. Lohmann Says:

    Jayne Mansfield, in my opinion she’s a real hottie. I like her very much, great body, great tits, great face. She is great.

  13. ΣΤΑΘΗΣ ΓΑΛΑΤΗΣ Says:

    she was greeeeeeeat

  14. TitoMoraga Says:

    Jane era hermosa por donde se le mirase … siempre sonriente, ingenua y gentil … buena madre con sus hijos, aunque vivió poco … fiel y amante esposa … producto de los 60s, no como las maracas actuales de la cinematografia mundial.

  15. Laurence Marks Says:

    Am in my youthful 70s. Grew up as a teenager just adoring Jane Mansfield.
    The manner in which she died has never ever been honestly revealed to many peoples satisfaction.
    One day ..perhaps.
    Jane was a one off character never ever to be replicated.
    Great to have her memory stored away in mine!

  16. Anonymous Says:

    she was just a whore

    • Anonymous Says:

      so what’s wrong with whores????……..they have given men much pleasure over the centuries………more so than the male whores who bloodsuck people dry of their money…..especially those in politics……even women will admit that many women who marry for money are whores……….what part of your psychological development encourages you to denigrate her…….”if you don’t have anything good to say about someone, then don’t say anything”…….Socrates, and Bud Costella, also Paris Hilton said it too……

    • Art Says:

      for the guy who said she wasn’t the least bit attractive, I am very sorry for your accident. I am just assuming there was one because of your brain damage. Her face is ugly? look again at the second black and white photo, she is downright beautiful. and her body is nothing special? I’ll say again, brain damage. But in your defense Don you are a homophobic son of a bitch. My best friend is gay and i guarantee that he would beat your ass to a pulp. And to the jack-ass that called her a whore. first off leave your name chicken shit, and secondly a whore…. I wish. if she were one i would invent a time machine, travel back to the psychedelic 60′s buy some gel tabs and go to town, but she wasn’t a whore. Paris Hilton is a whore, Lindsay Lohan is a whore Kim Kardashian is a whore, Jayne Mansfield was a smart business woman who became famous for being famous and didn’t need a billionaire father, a sex tape, or a reality show to do it. and thank god she passed on her beauty to her daughter Mariska. She is nearly 50 and my 27 year old ass still has amazing dreams about her. in-fact i hope i drift of during this episode of SVU so she is there again tonight

    • Anonymous Says:

      A whore?? If it was a man who led that same lifestyle as Jayne would you have called him a whore? Go back to your cave Neanderthal. That double standard should have died years ago.

  17. RICHARD SATTANNI Says:

    JAYNE MANSFIELD WAS REAL BEAUTIFUL.

  18. Anonymous Says:

    fuckin sexy nice body and great tits

  19. Raymond Says:

    Jayne Mansfield was known by insiders to have a very high IQ, supposedly around 160. After all, she did a pretty good job of marketing herself. I’m sure glad she did! I love Marilyn but IMO Jayne was right behind her in beauty and sexiness.

  20. think Says:

    Your link to snopes.com above mentions briefly her last boyfriend Brody and their connection to a satanic congregation in Hollywood. Only the closest and the insiders know the facts. But, Jayne was not a bright girl or even a very smart one if she for one moment considered or made a pact with the devil for fame and fortune in this world. Many reports of those so doing have ended in early death or other great misfortune. http://stargods.org/BeatlesEvil.html

  21. Sophia Whoren Says:

    “Just a whore”is Sophia Loren (motherless.com, Funny board: “Actresses who were prostitutes”). Mansfield was just a slut.

  22. Anonymous Says:

    We lost a good lady way to soon. But her legend carrys on

  23. Jody Says:

    She’s one of my favorite blonde idols (I even went back blonde, recently, when my love of her and others came back). I have a better understanding of her now (I have, almost, every book about her). She was really a great lady. The satan stuff, ALL LIES! She was very much a part of her Methodist Church and converted to Catholic. And was still part of that. She made sure her children went to church every week. She loved being home & taking care of her kids. How dare some folks think she was a slut or not attractive. I think the blonde hair just went with her complexion better. It was her trademark. Leave Jaynie alone! She was a great gal.

  24. Anthony Calleja Says:

    Jayne Mansfield seems to have been one great actress and a divine beauty.She brought happlness with her expression.I hope heaven has a special place for her.It’s a pity her type are nowhere to be seen anymore! With Love from Malta,the island where time stands still!

  25. Jed Leyland Says:

    Zoltan,

    As a kid, I was always fascinated by your first name.

    Jed

  26. sashakiana Says:

    I’ve been looking for a good post on her for the longest. Thank you beautiful

  27. ruud Says:

    Eespecible woman

  28. mark stevens Says:

    jayne was a legend

  29. Retro Analysis Says:

    Definitely an attractive woman – but she was nothing more than a Marilyn Monroe impersonator.

  30. FJ Says:

    All these years later and she is still being spoken of …………..
    Legendary status …………
    Mariska does her mother proud !

  31. Susan Says:

    I would love to pose for playboy

  32. Anonymous Says:

    Mariska’s husband’s name is Peter Hermann, not Peter Summer.

  33. Jane Mansfield. One hot chick - MyLesPaul.com Says:

    […] […]

  34. jondoe88 Says:

    Thanks for the reminder of Jayne. Interesting lady!
    And don’t forget the wonderful parody photo with sofia vergara and julie bowen. Perfect! (or purrrrrrfect. Or meowww?)
    google.com/search?q=sofia+vergara+julie+bowen&es_sm=122&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=K6dnU5myNLa2sASIsoGACA&sqi=2&ved=0CCgQsAQ&biw=1691&bih=872#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=yMBOWPpZU4ouSM%253A%3BAWEHUSvcoT2N0M%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fimages.socialnewsdaily.com%252Fwp-content%252Fuploads%252F2014%252F02%252Fsofia-vergara-breast-envy.png%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fsocialnewsdaily.com%252F23871%252Fjulie-bowen-gets-breast-envy-gives-sofia-vergara-death-stare-photo%252F%3B530%3B403

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