“SVU” star, Mariska Hargitay has continued inspiring people on and off the screen. Her work on “Law And Order: SVU” has especially made her a real-life representation of justice and order, like her onscreen character.
When Mariska Hargitay first stepped into the spotlight in the 80s, she was only a teenager trying to break free from her famous mom’s shadow and make her own name in Hollywood. Nearly four decades later, the actress has achieved more than that.
MARISKA HARGITAY’S LIFE AT A GLANCE
At 57, Mariska Hargitay is a mother of three, a philanthropist, an award-winning actress, and the lead roleplayer in one of the most popular television shows on the planet. Her role as Olivia Benson on the NBC hit series, “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” which she has reprised for over two decades has established her place as a Hollywood legend.
Additionally, Hargitay is the founder of Joyful HeartFoundationn, a nonprofit that helps victims of rape and sexual assault. The project was inspired by her work on “Law & Order: SVU,” and has uplifted hundreds since its inception.
Born in Santa Monica, California, Mariska Hargitay is the daughter of actress and 50s sex symbol, Jayne Mansfield. Her father, Mickey Hargitay was the Hungarian-born bodybuilder and former Mr. Universe.
Following her graduation from high school, Hargitay enrolled in UCLA. Soon after, she contested for Miss Beverly Hills, USA, and won. She also emerged as the fourth runner up the next year at the Miss California USA pageant. Her beauty contests opened up opportunities for her in showbiz.
HARGITAY’S ACTING CAREER
Mariska Hargitay had one of her earliest film roles in 1985, on the horror flick, “Ghoulies,” after which she ventured into television. In the years that followed, she snagged roles in TV shows like “Falcon Crest,” “Tequila and Bonetti,” “The Pilot,” “Can’t Hurry Up,” “ER” and “Prince Street” among others.
Eventually, the ex-beauty queen picked up the role of detective Benson on “Law And Order: SVU,” skyrocketing her to superstardom.
MARISKA HARGITAY ON “SVU”
The mother of three snagged her role on the NBC series in the spring of 1999. After 22 seasons of retaining its original casts and storyline, the series remains the longest-running in history.
Hargitay plays the lead role, Captain Olivia Benson, the commanding officer of the Manhattan Special Victims Unit of the NYPD. The passionate detective focuses on investigating sexual offenses.
Originally joining the force as a detective, Benson gradually climbed the ladder in the last two decades. She became a lieutenant in the seventeenth season and assumed the role of the commanding officer.
For years, the skilled actress did all her stunts herself, until she suffered a serious injury requiring her to undergo surgery. She returned the the series after a season’s break.
The series also has a special significance in Mariska Hargitay’s love life as it facilitated her union with her husband of sixteen years Peter Herman. The two met during the actor’s guest appearance on the show in 2002 and became an item soon after.
MARISKA HARGITAY’S ROLE HAS TOUCHED MANY
Aside from ranking her among the highest-paid actresses, “SVU” has resonated with Hargitay, so much that fans have embraced her as a real-life essence of her on-screen character.
Such high regards played out once when a fan disclosed how she escaped from kidnappers using tips learned from Hargitay’s “Law & Order: SVU.”
The eleven-year-old girl, Alyssa, recounted how she was outside playing with homemade blue slime while waiting for the bus. The suspect suddenly pulled up in front of her and approached her holding a knife.
When she tried running, the kidnapper caught up with Alyssa and tried shoving her into his vehicle. However, the brave girl kept struggling until they both fell to the ground.
The man quickly stood up and fled in his vehicle, but not before the preteen rubbed some of the blue slime on his arm. Explaining her brave act, she said:
“I knew that might be better evidence if the cops do find him.”
Alyssa also admitted she picked up the smart detective tip from watching the police drama series with her mom. Her efforts paid off, as officers apprehended the man hours later thanks to the blue slime marked all over his arms. He faces charges of attempted kidnapping of a child under 13, aggravated battery, and assault.
ALYSSA’S BIGGEST FAN
Following Alyssa’s account of the incident, she landed the opportunity to chat with Hargitay on “Today.” During their joint appearance, the actress admitted she and the entire “SVU” squad were blown away by the little girl’s bravery.
The star commended Alyssa for having the forethought to act fast in the face of danger. A day earlier, the “ER” star also poured out commendations to the preteen, referring to her as a brave, strong, and smart woman.
The Emmy winner signed off the lengthy message by describing herself as Alyssa’s number one fan. Aren’t we all!