Mariska Magdolna Hargitay (born January 23, 1964 in Santa Monica, California) is an American actor, best known for her role as New York City sex crimes Detective Olivia Benson on the NBC television drama Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, a role that has earned her multiple awards and nominations, including an Emmy and Golden Globe.
She is also the daughter of actor Jayne Mansfield and actor/bodybuilder Mickey Hargitay (who was Mansfield's second husband and the most well-known out of the three). The three-year-old Mariska was asleep in the back seat during her mother's fatal car crash, and was left with a scar on her face. She's since been adamant that she does not want to ever talk about it or her mother's legacy. It was only until she got married with three kids that she understood what it was like to be an actor and a parent, according to her in recent interviews.
She is married to actor Peter Hermann and they have three children.
She appeared in
- In The Heat Of The Night
- Freddy's Nightmares
- The Perfect Weapon
- Key West
- All-American Girl
- Leaving Las Vegas
- Lake Placid
- Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
- Plain Truth
- Tales from Earthsea
- The Love Guru
- Action Girl: Her most famous role.
- Life Imitates Art: Because of her time on the show, she trained as a rape crisis counselor in real life and still uses it today.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: Benson was temporarily Put on a Bus in the eighth season of SVU because she was on maternity leave.
- Star-Making Role: Detective Benson in Law & Order: SVU.
- What Could Have Been: