Jayne - the legend still lives on
She was the sweater girl to beat them all, a true blonde bombshell who took the Fifties movie world by storm.
Jayne Mansfield was to become the ultimate Hollywood glamour girl, a big screen legend still adored by fans worldwide to this day.
She was born on April 19, 1933 as Vera Jayne Palmer, taking the name Mansfield after her second marriage to Paul Mansfield in January 1950.
Throughout her life Jayne, at one time a school teacher, wanted to be a movie star. But it was not until her marriage to Mansfield ended that the dream came true.
By then living in California, Jayne took a job at a movie theatre, but then found she was in increasing demand as a model. After one shoot - for a General Electric promotion - she was removed from the picture, the company declaring that she looked too sexy for viewers in 1954.
But success loomed in other areas.
In 1956 she starred in The Girl Can't Help It, a successful rock 'n' roll film which gave also gave early rock fans the chance to see the musical talent of Little Richard, Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps, Fats Domino, The Platters and Julie London.
It was, however, her next movie, The Wayward Bus, based on John Steinbeck's best-selling novel, that Jayne, in the lead role, captured the attention of the critics.
Next, Jayne took her successful Broadway role as Rita Marlowe to the big screen in the film version of Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?
Throughout the rest of the Fifties she received international fame as a movie actress, also becoming a Las Vegas favourite with a stage show from which she earned $35,000 a week at the Dunes Hotel.
Stage work also included musicals, most memorably in the acclaimed production of Bus Stop.
She also tried TV work with appearances on The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Jack Benny Program, Burke's Law and The Steve Allen Show.
Jayne was still at the peak of her popularity in 1967 when tragedy struck.
On June 29 that year she was in a car with her lawyer, another man and her children following a Mississippi nightclub engagement.
As they rounded a curve on a dark stretch of road, the car was involved in an accident and though the children survived with minor injuries, everyone sitting in the front was killed instantly.
Jayne was 34 years old.
Written by The Editor - 24/02/2002 11:10:37
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