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Mickey Hargitay

From Academic Kids

Mickey Hargitay (born January 6, 1926 in Budapest, Hungary) was Mr. Universe in 1955.

He fled Hungary in 1947 to escape the compulsory Soviet military draft. He settled in Cleveland, where he met and married his first wife, and worked as a plumber and carpenter. He was inspired to bodybuilding after seeing a magazine cover of Steve Reeves, famed for playing Hercules.

After winning Mr. Universe, he joined Mae West's muscleman revue at New York's Latin Quarter. The story goes when Jayne Mansfield's dinner companion asked her what she wanted the evening they caught the show, she quipped, "I'll have a steak and the man on the left." Ms. West, never to be outdone, tried to break up the attention-grabbing couple, but failed. They married on January 13, 1958 after his divorce became final. Their 3 children include Mariska Hargitay (born after Mansfield divorced Hargitay; she divorced him again in 1964).

He remodeled much of his and Mansfield's Beverly Hills mansion, The Pink Palace, building its famous heart-shaped pool. In November 2002, the house was razed by its owner.

After Mansfield's death in a car crash on June 29, 1967, Hargitay sued her estate for over $275,000 to support the children; in their divorce decree, she had agreed to pay child support. Hargitay married his current wife that September.

Mickey has a brother, Edy, who lived in the Hollywood area many years ago. He is the first recipient of the Joe Weider Lifetime Achievement Award. He was played by Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 1982 TV-movie The Jayne Mansfield Story.

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