Mariska Hargitay

Hargitay in 2011, Joe Seer /

Birth Name: Mariska Magdolna Hargitay

Place of Birth: Santa Monica, Los Angeles, California, United States

Date of Birth: January 23, 1964

*father – Hungarian
*mother – English, Cornish, one eighth German

Mariska Hargitay is an American actress. She is known for her role as Det. Olivia Benson on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

Mariska’s father, Mickey Hargitay (Miklós Károly Hargitay), was a Hungarian actor, acrobat, and Mr. Universe 1955. Mariska’s mother was 1950s sex symbol, actress, nightclub entertainer, and singer Jayne Mansfield (born Vera Jayne Palmer), who was of seven eighths British Isles (English and Cornish), and one eighth German, descent.

Mariska is married to actor, producer, and writer Peter Hermann, with whom she has three children.

Mariska’s paternal grandparents were named Ferenc Hargitai and Mária Róth Fischer.

Mariska’s maternal grandfather was Herbert William Palmer (the son of Elmer E. Palmer and Alice J. Jackson). Herbert was born in Pennsylvania. Elmer was born in Pennsylvania, to parents from England, with Cornish origins, Thomas Palmer and Mary J. Alice was born in Pennsylvania, to an English father, from Cornwall, William H. Jackson, and a mother of German origin, Amanda Whitzman or Custer.

Mariska’s maternal grandmother was Vera Jeffrey Palmer (the daughter of Thomas Henry Palmer and Beatrice Mary Jeffery/Jeffrey). Vera was born in Pennsylvania. Thomas was born in Pennsylvania, the son of Henry Palmer and Melissa, and was of Cornish/English origin. Beatrice was English, of Cornish origin, and was born in St. Teath, Cornwall, the daughter of Henry Jeffery/Jeffrey and Eliza Jane Cowling.

Sources: Genealogy of Mariska Hargitay –

Genealogies of Mariska’s mother –

Mariska’s maternal grandfather, Herbert William Palmer, on the 1920 U.S. Census –


Curious about ethnicity

22 Responses

  1. M says:

    Her mother looked part black and looked a lot like Beyonce. She SO reminds me of Beyonce in this picture.

  2. savanna says:

    There have long been rumors that Mariska’s biological father is Nelson Sardelli, but she considers Mickey Hargitay her father. Jayne Mansfield and Sardelli had affair around the time of Mariska’s birth.

  3. bvision says:

    you can definitely see the hungarian in her

  4. BAN VIKING! says:

    She looks exactly like her mother, Jayne Mansfield. If you see Jayne with her natural hair color (brunette), you will see how much they look alike even more.

  5. Hunky says:

    All three of her names are Hungarian.

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