Jayne Mansfield Car Crash
Interested in a tile from the famous Heart Shaped Pool? Click here.
Yes I know the dates are wrong on her fake grave stone. No, I don't know why.
Many thanks to Death Hags Frankie Ramos and Diane Culpepper for the legwork added to this story today. You guys make this fun.
My buddy Alan Light sends this video with amazing crash scene footage
Publicity whores don’t get any better than Jayne. She was tops at it. She would hold a press conference for a fart. I love her. She was born Vera Jane Palmer in Bryn Mawr, Pa, in 1933. She went on to become a Ma girl. Marilyn, Mamie (Van Whoran) and Mansfield. I’m sure there are more, but you get the idea. They were practically cut from the same cloth. What they went on to become was something very individual.
Jayne lived in a house located at 10100 Sunset Boulevard, in Beverly Hills. The house was built for Rudy Vallee, and Jayne and her then husband Mickey Hargitay had it painted pink, because Jayne was obsessed with pink. It has a heart shaped swimming pool, which used to have "I love you Jaynie" in mosaic on the floor of it. The old front gates still boast her initials. Since 1976, Englebert Humperdinck has lived there. He claims to have seen Jayne’s ghost in the house. I have no time for that. A couple of years ago he was supposed to be selling the house on QVC, but I think it fell through. Meanwhile, we quando quando away.
Sadly, early in November 2002, the famous house on Sunset was demolished. Engelbert finally got rid of it, and some jerk tore it down. Luckily, before it was completely gone, it was a rainy weekend and my friend Steve and I decided to go on a little creepy crawl in Beverly Hills. Here are the results. These photographs are amazing.
About two years ago, Frankie had the opportunity to see the inside of the house, and document some of it for us, in photographs. We are so very grateful, Frank. Thank you.
At the end of her life, Jayne had already divorced Mickey Hargitay, with whom she had three children, Mickey Jr, Zoltan and Mariska. Her career had hit the skids, and she was performing in night-clubs, and getting to and from gigs by car.
On the evening of June 28th, 1967, Jayne had a show in Biloxi Mississippi, in a club called the Gus Stevens Supper Club. Death Hag Diane Culpepper sends us this advertisement for Jaynes show. Excellent work, Diane! Jayne was performing twice a night, at 9 and 11pm. Thanks to Diane, we have a recap of Jayne's last show.
After her gig, she and her companion and attorney Sam Brody, and the three little Hargitays left in the 1966 Buick Electra (owned by Gus Stevens himself), driven by Ronnie Harrison, who was only 20 years old. Think he kept his eye on the road? Naw. The group was heading to New Orleans, so Jayne could do a television show the next day. Got to plug the act! It must have been very late when they went on their way. The interview was to take place in the WDSU-TV studios. When in New Orleans, Jayne had reservations at the Roosevelt Hotel, now the Fairmont.
The following pictures were donated by Findadeath.com friend Cole Howard. Thanks Cole. Kurt Cobain and Jayne? You are our hero!
On their route, they passed a waterway called the Rigolets, the proceeded to travel down a "winding, narrow stretch of the two-lane route known as the Old Spanish Trail, US90." about 2:25am they passed over this bridge, then passed through this curve in the road. What’s that? An insecticide truck? Whoops. Blam. There they go. Killed Brody, killed Ronnie and killed Jaynie. The car plowed underneath the truck which was spraying chemicals, thus making it very foggy. The impact sheared the top of the car off. The car was described once as, "crumpled like a piece of tinfoil after a cookout." The kids made it out okay, because they were asleep in the back, but the top part of Jayne’s head was ripped off. This does not mean decapitation. The death certificate reads "crushed skull with avulsion of cranium and brain." The dictionary definition of avulsion is the forcible tearing away of a body part by trauma or surgery. So it was just the top of her head, if you want to get anal. Scalped. And she was wearing a wig, so that hair picture you usually see wasn’t her head. I’ve had people tell me that they’ve seen Jayne’s decapitated head in a photograph, but not one single person has been able to produce the goods.
Here are the dead Jayne photographs. Don't click if you are easily oogied out.
There was at least one dog that died. Supposedly there were four Chihuahuas in the car with them. That sounds like a nightmare to me. And you know that Jayne probably wasn’t the most organized of people, so I’m sure the trip was hairy, to say the least. I don’t usually like ripping off pictures, but I scanned this one in from Hollywood Babylon. It’s the only crash scene picture I have, and there is Mr. Dead Dog and Jayne’s wig. Not for the squeamish, but if you want to see it, click here.
December 2001 - Findadeath.com friend Tom Straub sends us this pic of the accident scene - its black and white, and there are bodies, but I'm pretty sure you won't get grossed out by them. Thanks, Tom!
The kids were taken to Charity Hospital in New Orleans, and later transferred to the Ochsner Foundation hospital, because their father, Mickey, demanded it. Mickey Jr. had cuts, bruises and a broken arm. Zoltan and Marie had cuts and bruises. The driver of the bug truck hopped out, flagged down a passing motorist who took the kids the rest of their journey to New Orleans, to a hospital, but he left what was left of the others for the body bag man. Jayne was 34 years old. Brody was 40.
January 2002, Findadeath.com friend Joanna Campbell writes in: Just a tiny bit of info on the death cert. "Closed fractures of right humerus" this is a very common injury in car accidents, it happens when people's reaction is to put their hand out to stop them from flying forward in the car. I bet if you saw Ronnie's death cert, it would say he had a broken right ankle. Most drivers in car accidents have them from the impact of slamming the brakes and the car stopping on impact. Thanks, Joanna.
January 30, 2002 - Joanna Campbell also forked out the dough, and provided us with two new car shots. This is the car, shortly after the accident, and here's another shot, with a bit of Jayne's DNA dripping down the side. Gruesome, and yet fascinating, for sure. They were supposedly taken by some tourists, a day or so after the accident. Check 'em out, and big time thank you to Joanna!
There was a memorial service for Jayne held in Beverly Hills, and her body was then shipped back to Penn Argyl (pronounced Ar-Jull) Pennsylvania, to be buried. Her casket was covered in pink roses, and Mickey Hargitay blew a gasket and freaked all over it, at her funeral. Poor guy.
January 2002: Findadeath.com friend Gregory in Montreal sends this scan of an original newspaper clipping from when Jayne's casket was shipped back to PA for the funeral. Thanks, Gregory.
Jayne’s fan club had a cenotaph (memorial tablet) put in at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, in Hollywood California. I’m sure Jayne would have approved.
While in Biloxi, Mississippi, for an engagement at the Gus Stevens Supper Club, Mansfield stayed at the Cabana Courtyard Apartments, which were near the site of the supper club. After a June 28, 1967 evening engagement, Mansfield, Brody, and their driver, Ronnie Harrison, along with the actress's children Miklós, Zoltán, and Mariska, set out in Stevens' 1966 Buick Electra 225 for New Orleans, where Mansfield was to appear in an early morning television interview. Prior to leaving Biloxi, the party made a stop at the home of Rupert and Edna O'Neal, a local family that lived nearby. After a late dinner with the O'Neals, during which the last photographs ever taken of Ms. Mansfield were shot, the party set out on the trip to New Orleans. On June 29 at approximately 2:25 a.m., on U.S. Highway 90, the car crashed into the rear of a tractor-trailer that had slowed down because of a truck spraying mosquito fogger. The automobile struck the rear of the semi tractor and underrode it. Riding in the front seat, the adults were killed instantly; the children riding in the rear survived with minor injuries.
Rumors that Mansfield was decapitated are untrue, though she did suffer severe head trauma. This urban legend was spawned by the appearance in police photographs of a crashed automobile with its top virtually sheared off, and what resembles a blonde-haired head tangled in the car's smashed windshield. It is believed that this was either a wig that Mansfield was wearing or was her actual hair and scalp. The death certificate stated that the immediate cause of Mansfield's death was a "crushed skull with avulsion of cranium and brain." Following her death, the NHTSA began requiring an underride guard, a strong bar made of steel tubing, to be installed on all tractor-trailers. This bar is also known as a Mansfield bar.
Mansfield's funeral was held on July 3, in Pen Argyl, Pennsylvania. The ceremony was officiated by a Methodist minister, though Mansfield, who long tried to convert to Catholicism, had become interested in Judaism at the end of her life through her relationship with Sam Brody. She is interred in Fairview Cemetery, southeast of Pen Argyl. Her gravestone reads "We Live to Love You More Each Day". A memorial cenotaph, showing an incorrect birth year, was erected in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Hollywood, California. The cenotaph was placed by The Jayne Mansfield Fan Club and has the incorrect birth year because Mansfield herself tended to provide incorrect information about her age.Shortly after Mansfield's funeral, Mickey Hargitay sued his former wife's estate for more than $275,000 to support the children, whom he and his third and last wife, Ellen Siano, would raise. Mansfield's youngest child, Tony, was raised by his father, Matt Cimber, whose divorce from the actress was pending when she was killed. In 1968, wrongful-death lawsuits were filed on behalf of Jayne Marie Mansfield and Matt Cimber, the former for $4.8 million and the latter for $2.7 million. The Pink Palace was sold and its subsequent owners have included Ringo Starr, Cass Elliot, and Engelbert Humperdinck. In 2002, Humperdinck sold it to developers, and the house was demolished in November of that year. Much of her estate is managed by CMG Worldwide, an intellectual property management company.