Jayne Mansfield was on her way to becoming THE blond bombshell of the 60s, having already achieved a great deal of success as an actress, singer, and even an early Playboy Playmate, and with the tragic passing of Marilyn Monroe, Mansfield was poised to be the new sex symbol of a generation. Sadly, her life, like Marilyn's, would also end tragically on a highway outside Biloxi, Mississippi, but it would save thousands more...
It was June 29th, 1967, and Mansfield was traveling with her lover, Sam Brody, her driver, Ronnie Harrison, and 3 of her 5 children en route to New Orleans after an appearance in Biloxi when a dense fog from an anti-mosquito spray drifted over the highway.
The people in the 1966 Buick Electra never saw the semi in front of them. The car rammed into the tractor-trailer and actually ran completely under the trailer. All 3 adults were killed instantly, but miraculously, the children all survived. You may know one of them… Mariska Hargitay aka Olivia Benson on Law & Order SVU.
The gruesome crash scene spawned one of the longest running celebrity legends… Rumors still circulate that Mansfield was decapitated, fueled by photos of blond hair tangled in the car’s windshield. All reports, however, point toward Mansfield NOT being decapitated, and her death certificate lists “crushed skull” as the cause of death. The hair was most likely a wig or pieces of hair from her scalp. (Warning: picture below is somewhat graphic.)
Jayne Mansfield (and Sam Brody & Ronnie Harrison) did not die in vain. Their death led to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration requiring all semi truck trailers to be equipped with a DOT Bar. You know it better by it’s other name: the Mansfield Bar.
Mansfield’s mark on highway safety is undeniable, but her mark on entertainment can’t be discounted either. She has a star (next to daughter Mariska's) on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and even has a headstone in Hollywood Forever Cemetery. (Ironically, she’s not really buried there. Pay your respects at her actual gravesite at Fairview Cemetery in Pennsylvania.)
If you want to sit on Jayne Mansfield’s famous heart-shaped sofa hop over to the Burlesque Hall of Fame. Like we needed to give you an excuse to visit there…
And, of course, no post about Jayne Mansfield would be complete without some of her stunning photos: