Jayne Mansfield (born Vera Jayne Palmer; April 19, 1933 – June 29, 1967) was an American actress in film, theatre, and television. Mansfield became a major Broadway star in 1955, a major Hollywood star in 1956, and a leading celebrity in 1957. She was also a nightclub entertainer, a singer, and one of the early Playboy Playmates. She was a major Hollywood sex symbol of the 1950s and early 1960s and 20th Century Fox's alternative to Marilyn Monroe. She was also known for her well-publicized personal life and publicity stunts, such as wardrobe malfunctions.
While Mansfield's film career was short lived, she had several box-office successes and won a Theatre World Award and a Golden Globe. She enjoyed success in the role of fictional actress Rita Marlowe, both in the 1955–1956 Broadway version and the 1957 Hollywood film version of Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?. Her other major movie performances were for The Girl Can't Help It (1956), The Wayward Bus (1957), and Too Hot to Handle (1960). In the sexploitation film Promises! Promises! (1963), she became the first major American actress to have a nude starring role in a Hollywood motion picture. Mansfield's professional name came from her first husband, public relations professional Paul Mansfield. In 1967, Mansfield was killed in a car crash at the age of 34, along with two others.
In August 1963, Jayne Mansfield decided to convert to Catholicism. Although she never actually converted, she did attend Catholic services when she was in Europe, and followed Catholic practices when she was involved with a Catholic partner (including Hargitay, Sardelli and Cimber). In May 1967, her performance at the Mount Brandon Hotel in Tralee, Ireland, was canceled because Catholic clergy condemned it. She wanted to marry Cimber in a Catholic ceremony, but was unable to find a priest who would perform the ceremony. While involved with Brody, she also showed interest in Judaism. In San Francisco for the 1966 Film Festival, Mansfield visited the Church of Satan with Sam Brody (her lawyer and boyfriend) to meet Anton LaVey, the church's founder. LaVey awarded Mansfield a medallion and the title “High Priestess of San Francisco's Church of Satan”. The Church of Satan proclaimed Jayne a pledged member, and she displayed a framed membership certification in her pink bedroom. The media enthusiastically covered the meeting and the events surrounding it, identifying her as a Satanist and romantically involved with LaVey. That meeting remained a much-publicized and oft-quoted event of her life, as well as the history of the Church of Satan. Additionally, Karla LaVey confirmed in a 1992 interview with Joan Rivers that Mansfield was indeed a practicing Satanist and that she had a romantic relationship with Anton LaVey. Her funeral ceremony was conducted by a Methodist minister.
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