Jayne Mansfield was an American actress working both on Broadway and in Hollywood. One of the leading blonde sex symbols of the 1950s, Mansfield starred in several popular Hollywood films that emphasized her platinum-blonde hair, hourglass figure and cleavage-revealing costumes.
While Mansfield’s film career was short-lived, she had several box office successes. She won the Theatre World Award, a Golden Globe and a Golden Laurel. As the demand for blonde bombshells declined in the 1960s, Mansfield was relegated to low-budget film melodramas and comedies, but remained a popular celebrity.
In her later career she continued to attract large crowds in foreign countries and in lucrative and successful nightclub tours. Mansfield had been a Playboy Playmate of the Month and appeared in the magazine several additional times. She died in an automobile accident at age 34.
Mansfield, of German and English ancestry, was the only child of Herbert William and Vera Palmer. Her birthname was Vera Jayne Palmer. A natural brunette, she was born in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, but spent her early childhood in Phillipsburg, New Jersey. When she was three years old, her father, a lawyer who was in practice with future New Jersey governor Robert B. Meyner, died of a heart attack while driving a car with his wife and daughter. After his death, her mother worked as a school teacher. In 1939, when Vera Palmer remarried, the family moved to Dallas, Texas. Mansfield’s desire to become an actress developed at an early age. In 1950, Vera Jayne Palmer married Paul Mansfield, thus becoming Jayne Mansfield, and the couple moved to Austin, Texas.