Source:The New Democrat
“Jayne Mansfield was an American film, theater, and television actress. She was also a nightclub entertainer, a singer, and one of the early Playboy Playmates. She was a major Hollywood sex symbol during the 1950s and early 1960s, while under contract at 20th Century Fox. Wikipedia
Born: April 19, 1933, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: June 29, 1967, Eastern New Orleans, New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Cause of death: Brain trauma sustained in automobile crash
Children: Mariska Hargitay, Jayne Marie Mansfield, Zoltan Hargitay, Tony Cimber, Mickey Hargitay Jr.
Spouse: Matt Cimber (m. 1964–1966), Mickey Hargitay (m. 1958–1964), Paul Mansfield (m. 1950–1958”
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I guess one way to talk about the life and career of Hollywood Babydoll Jayne Mansfield, is to look at her like you would look at a very talented pro athlete, who not only never reaches their potential, but their career is over 5 years into it, or they become a journeyman (or woman) who bounces around from club to club, with each new club thinking that they make that player the best that they can be. Or they suffer a career ending injury, get into alcohol and illegal narcotics, are addicted gambler, have trouble with the law, on top of bad attitude and someone who thinks way too much of themself.
The problem with the one-hit wonder or flash in the pan comparison with Jayne Mansfield, is that she was sort of a flash in the pan in Hollywood in the 1950s, but she returned briefly in the early 1960s and the mid 1950s to do movies again. And she was working and making money her entire career and was pretty much always financially secure.
Jayne didn’t have any criminal justice or illegal narcotics issues. She did have an attitude issue as someone who thought she was more than a sexy, adorable, gorgeous, comedian in Hollywood, who wanted to do more things in Hollywood. But she was working up until she tragically died in a horrible car crash in 1967.
I think the way to look at the life and career of Jayne Mansfield is to put her in “what could’ve been” category and say what could’ve Jayne Mansfield been had she not died from that tragic car accident in 1967 and what she could’ve been had she just realized who she was as an entertainer and just stuck with that instead of thinking that she was more than she actually was.
To me Jayne Mansfield will always be a comedian: she always had great comedic timing, a great sense of humor, someone who could’ve done monologues, who could’ve written comedy. (If she wanted too)
If you look at her interviews, similar to Diana Dors who interviews are funny, because she’s funny whether she was talking about herself or what was going on in Hollywood.
If you look at her nightclub act (which is what she was doing after she left Hollywood in the 1950s) she was singing and doing standup and joking around with her audiences in her act.
Carol Burnett and Mary Tyler Moore, two of the best comedians of their generation, if not ever, both wanted to be dramatic actresses when they came to Hollywood. The problem with that is that Hollywood knew pretty quickly how funny they were to the point that Carol Burnett gets her only skit-comedy show from CBS in the late 1960s and that show goes one for 12 seasons. (Perhaps you know the same of that show yourself)
Mary Tyler Moore is known as the star of two of the most popular sitcoms ever in Hollywood and the big reason for that is because of how funny and popular she was on Dick Van Dyke and her sitcom: The Mary Tyler Moore Show. .
I think if Jayne Mansfield realized what her gift as an entertainer was in by the late 1950s, she would’ve have one movie comedy after another and perhaps allowed to write and produce those movies as well and get TV comedy roles and perhaps even her own show in the 1960s. Maybe by the 1970s she’s has her own skit-comedy or comedic talk show and maybe she’s doing soap operas (which are dramatic comedies) but no, she didn’t think that was good enough for her, which is Hollywood’s and her fans big lost.