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Mariska Hargitay

Real name: Mariska Magdolna Hargitay
Birthdate: N/A
Status: Single
Partner: Peter Hermann

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Mariska Magdolina Hargitay (born January 23, 1964) is a Golden Globe- and Emmy Award- winning American actress known for her role as Det. Olivia Benson on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

On June 29, 1967, Jayne Mansfield was killed in an automobile accident on a stretch of U.S. Highway 90 between New Orleans and Slidell, Louisiana. Jayne's boyfriend Sam Brody and the driver were also killed. Asleep in the back of the car, Mariska, then three-and-a-half years old, was left with a zig-zag scar on one side of her head. Mariska's brothers Miklós and Zoltan were also in the car, but they escaped with minor injuries. After the death of their mother, the three siblings were raised by Mickey Hargitay and his third wife, Ellen Siano.

Mariska Hargitay was active in the theater program of her secondary school Marymount High School; she graduated in 1987 from the UCLA School of Theater Film and Television with a major in theatre.

Since 1999, Hargitay has portrayed Det. Olivia Benson, the female lead on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. “As a woman, it’s gratifying to play such a multilayered part," the actress stated on her official website. "Olivia is not only a competent, street-smart cop, she’s also an empathetic woman who can respond emotionally to victims of terrible crimes without compromising her professionalism.”

In the 1999 first season of SVU, Hargitay earned nominations from the Viewers for Quality Television for Best Actress, from the TV Guide Awards for Favorite Actress in a New Series, and from the International Press Academy for Best Performance by an Actress in a Drama Series. She was also a Screen Actors Guild nominee in 2004, 2005, 2006 and in 2007.

Hargitay's portrayal of Olivia Benson on SVU garnered her Emmy Award nominations in the category of Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series in 2004, 2005, and 2006, the year she won the award for her role,and later garnered her fourth consecutive nomination in 2007. She also received a Golden Globe in 2005 for the role as Best Actress in a Drama Series.

Hargitay was named by People magazine in 2005 as one of the 50 Most Beautiful People and in 2006 as one of People's World's Most Beautiful People.

Upon winning her Emmy on August 27, 2006, she made a point of thanking her father for everything he had done for her in her life. Hargitay's father died from multiple myeloma on September 14, 2006, in Los Angeles, California, at the age of 80.

Hargitay co-founded the Joyful Heart Foundation, an organization that provides support to women who have been sexually assaulted. The Joyful Heart Foundation is a proponent of the idea that swimming with dolphins promotes healing after major psychological traumas such as rape, and has provided this opportunity for many victims.

The actress also has worked with the Mount Sinai Sexual Assault and Violence Intervention program, NBC's “The More You Know” campaign, Safe Horizon, Santa Monica Rape Crisis Treatment Center, Project ALS, Girl Scouts of the USA, and the James Redford Institute for Transplant Awareness.


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