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    Love Was Never Like This—Jayne Mansfield & Mickey Hargitay

    They say marriages are made in heaven, and couldn’t agree more heartily. But I know of one that was made strictly in Hollywood, too! Whose? Why Jayne Mansfield’s and Mickey Hargitay’s, who else?

    I came to this down-to-earth conclusion a few Saturday afternoons ago when Jayne told me of her plans to be married. To Mickey Hargitay, of course. The word “plans” is almost a naughty one in this instance, bordering on the “big fib” side. For the truth is, with The Day within reaching distance, at a time when most brides-to-be have already addressed the invitations and bought their trousseaus, Jayne had taken up residence on Cloud Nine and refused to come down.

    All she knew was she was marrying Mickey Hargitay—“real soon,” and has six sets of white bone china—brought back from Europe—with which to set up housekeeping. Where that house would be, how and when she would get it, what she’d do about anything or even where the wedding—“large and formal”—would take place, were mere incidentals.

    “I had my heart set on being married in the Wayfarer’s Chapel in Palos Verdes,” she confided, while Mickey beamed from the sidelines. “It’s all glass, you know. It would be wonderful to be married under glass. But so many people want to attend, how can I get them all in? After all, the church only holds two hundred people.”

    “T’as right,” Mickey agreed.

    “There’s my mother and stepfather,” Jayne said, and paused reflectively.

    “And me, I’m coming.” I suggested.

    “Oh yes, certainly,” she agreed. “And Jayne Marie will be flower girl.”

    Jayne Marie, Jayne’s seven-year-old daughter, who was recuperating from a birthday party of the day before—candy, ice cream and sniffles—offered no protest from the other room, so it seemed set.

    Anyway, that accounted for several of us and with loads of room for the other 195 or so. But Jayne, the soul of hospitality, was worried.

    “Of course, I could keep the wedding small (down to a mere church full of 200) and have a large wedding reception afterwards,” she suggested, which appealed to Mickey and me as the one and only solution.

    Small wedding, big reception! All of which could have been turned around by this time to small reception and outsized wedding, followed by a parade through Chinatown, for all anyone knows. Or, I reflected, the whole affair could end up as one of those elopement things in Las Vegas at three o’clock in the morning with uncertain characters showering the happy couple with rice that had already been baked in a pudding.

    It’s happened, you know.

    “Now, about the wedding dress,” I suggested helpfully. “After all, Jayne, time is running short and. . . .”

    “I have it all settled, I think,” she said. “It’s the dress Charles LeMaire designed for me to wear in my first picture, ‘The Girl Can’t Help It.’ I was a bride in that one, too. I’m sure the studio will let me have it. It’s a form-fitting (what else?) white lace sheath.”

    A form-fitting white sheath wedding dress it would be. For the day anyone catches this one in a figure-concealing full skirt will be The Day and it wouldn’t be Jayne’s wedding day, if she can help it.

    “But a white dress, Jayne?” I wondered aloud.

    “Well, I could have it made pink,” she conceded, but reluctantly. “And a veil, of course.” Her eyes sought mine. “A small veil? Pink, to match the dress?” I gave an approving nod.

    So it was agreed. Pink slippers, pink gloves to match, which I knew all too well could turn out to be a stark staring white sheath with a ten yard long white veil by wedding time. So don’t look at me.

    Mickey’s costume for the occasion was pretty much left up in the air. Blue suit or striped trousers and cutaway were mentioned. And for the briefest moment, mention was made of a suit cut from the bolt of material Jayne toted all the way home from Athens. As she explains it, loyalty prompted this purchase. With the boss of her studio, Mr. Spyros Skouras, of Greece, Jayne deemed it only fitting Mickey should have something Greek.

    (As far as I’m concerned, he’s got it. In fact, the whole thing is Greek to me.)

    However, whatever he chooses to wear, I thought, as we carefully wrapped the china back in its tissue paper, Mickey will look dreamy—and, for that matter, so will the bride, a Dresden doll cutie in white, pink or even crab-apple green toreador spangled pants. It really doesn’t matter.

    It doesn’t matter, I reflected, because the glow in her heart, the smile in her face, the happiness in her soul, the kindness of her person, will outshine her raiment and overflow, whatever edifice is chosen. Be it the Pan Pacific Auditorium of Los Angeles or the Cow Palace of San Francisco, which didn’t seem a likely place that afternoon. But still. . . .

    The service would be performed, Jayne hoped, by her own Methodist minister from Dallas, Texas, Dr. Steele, or failing that, by the minister of the Episcopal Church in Beverly Hills where Jayne Marie attends Sunday School.

    “Now what about a house to live in?” I suggested. It just didn’t seem possible that Mickey, with all those muscles, could crowd himself into Jayne’s tiny four-room house . . . three really, not counting the kitchen. A house already inundated with cats—thirteen at the last count—numerous dogs and visiting rabbits from off the hills, strangers really, to the entire family.

    “We want a large place,” Jayne said, “because we plan to have five children.”

    “T’as right,” Mickey agreed.

    “Oh, well, you can start looking for a house early tomorrow morning,” I hinted cheerfully.

    “Oh no, I leave for Las Vegas tomorrow for a week or so. I have a television show to do from there.”

    And so, with the strains of “Here Comes the Bride” already echoing through the short space of time, with no house, invitations, set place or date, Jayne was off to Las Vegas aflame with happy contentment.

    But within a few weeks, I learned that Jayne and Mickey had found and signed papers for their dream house: a $175,000 “honeymoon cottage” in Holmby Hills. Twenty-two years old, it was once owned by Rudy Vallee and is white Mediterranean-style on one and three-quarter acres.

    “It has eight bedrooms, with a fireplace in each, eleven baths and a fifty-foot living room with a twenty-foot ceiling and two balconies!” breathed Jayne excitedly.

    In awe, I had visions of the newlyweds playing Romeo and Juliet amid the balconies. Although there was no swimming pool, the couple planned to build one—heart-shaped yet.

    But on that particular afternoon when we chatted, Jayne had Mickey and six sets of white bone china and if anybody wants to get themselves in a snit about details, it ain’t gonna be the future, or even the present Mrs. Mickey Hargitay, I sighed.

    For something much more important occupied her mind and her heart. A miracle of sorts, really, and one that couldn’t possibly happen to a nicer kind of girl.

    For I was aware of one thing. No matter when or where Jayne and Mickey were to exchange their wedding vows, I knew they’d be a Jayne and a Mickey who have found love all over again.

    It all happened when Jayne took off for Europe, her first time away from Mickey since the day they met and came back six weeks later with a whole new outlook on life. And a knowledge of Mickey’s place in her life. Which is first, absolutely.

    Now, what happened to Jayne Mansfield in Europe, outside the routine publicity appearances and bowing to England’s Queen, no one knows. Maybe not even Jayne. We do know, from other traveling stars, how Hollywood’s children can come to feel lost away from their kind.

    And Jayne is a true Hollywood child—and has been in her heart from her fifth birthday on.

    So, whether true-blue Jayne, who has been the soul of faithfulness to her Mickey, was completely misunderstood by others abroad (and again we admit her own flamboyant appearance may invite misunderstanding), or whether distance suddenly gave proper perspective to everything in her life—whatever the reason, she came home a new woman. A woman madly in love with Mickey all over again.

    Let her tell about it.

    “When I got off the plane in Hollywood, I didn’t know what to say. For the first time in my life, I was oblivious to reporters. I knew only that I loved Mickey madly and all I could think of to say was ‘How beautiful you are, how beautiful you are.’ If this man said ‘Let’s go to Alaska and live,’ I’d go to Alaska and live. If this man said ‘Give up your career,’ I’d give up my career.”

    This, remember, is Jayne Mansfield speaking. The career-mad Jayne. The P-U-B-L-I-C-I-T-Y kid of all time. The doll who threatened to die in Texas if she didn’t get to Hollywood, and is now ready for Alaska and to die without.

    On the way home from the airport, the groom-to-be extracted a small box from his pocket and flashed its contents before Jayne’s large, hazel eyes. There was her ring. Her beautiful engagement ring! The dreamy, wonderful, practical, usefulness of it all.

    “You may describe the ring,” she said in answer to my query, “as a round-cut diamond, ten carats, set in white gold. Please say it may be a little smaller than a quarter, but it’s bigger than a Texas dime.”

    And indeed it was.

    At the airport, Mickey was asked if he intended to present the ring then and there.

    “It wouldn’t be good taste,” he answered. “I want Jayne to see it first—alone.”

    The following day newsreel cameras posed Mickey hunched at Jayne’s feet cooing and wooing and replacing the ring on her third finger left hand while cameras turned.

    But Jayne had seen it first. Mickey that was important.

    “He treats me like a queen,” Jayne confided. “He waits on me, looks after me and won’t let me turn a hand. If I hand him a can of vegetable juice, he’ll scold me. ‘You shouldn’t do that, Jayne,’ he’ll say.”

    Pink champagne, and not vegetable juice, was the beverage of the moment and with a heart full of good wishes, I toasted the Hargitays—Jayne and Mickey.

    Fortunately, little Jayne Marie is devoted to Mickey and Mickey to the child. To see them together, strolling up Beverly Drive, husky Mickey and tiny Jane Marie, is a heart-warming sight indeed.

    “Mickey’s own little girl by his first marriage is just a year older than Jayne Marie,” Jayne told me. “A dear little girl called Tina Marie.”

    “We’d love to have her with us, of course, but being a mother myself I know how impossible it would be to part with a child. And as long as she’s in Los Angeles with her mother, Mickey can see her,” Jane said.

    This Mickey, this twenty-seven-year-old Mr. Universe, to whom Jayne gave her heart on sight, is quite a lad. She’d first glimpsed him at the New York night spot, The Latin Quarter, where Mickey was appearing with Mae West—and from the first instant, it was love for both of them.

    He’d traveled a long way and through devious routes from a boy of seventeen, fleeing the Communists in his native Hungary, to the heart of Jayne Mansfield. But exactly as Jayne had yearned for Hollywood, Mickey had yearned for America and all things American.

    “Why wasn’t I born in America?” he would ask his father, a man of means and owner of a theater chain in Budapest.

    Mickey was thirteen when the Communists took over, and, incidentally, took over his father’s theaters one by one. He remembers hiding all day in bombed-out buildings, sneaking out at dawn for food and water and receiving a back full of shrapnel for his efforts.

    At seventeen, with a Pan American ticket from London to New York in his pocket, gift of an American soldier, he made his way across the border to Prague, to Frankfurt, to London, hitchhiking all the way, missing Communist bullets on one occasion, escaping internment camps for displaced persons, walking through the nights, too excited to eat and even shrewdly making a dollar or two along the way.

    In Frankfurt, the American Consul granted him a six-month visitor’s visa and somehow, in some wonderful way, he finally made New York.

    He couldn’t leave the airport with the wonder of it all. Nothing was bombed. He stood and stared and gulped his tears of happiness.

    A job at fourteen dollars a week and all the bananas he could eat in a small Brooklyn fruit store, gave him sustenance. And gave the fruit dealer a shock when the bananas, by the bunch, disappeared within the fruit-starved lad.

    Eventually he made his way to Indianapolis and the home of a cousin. And since the cousin was a professional dancer and Mickey had studied ballet and drama in Budapest, they formed an adagio team and toured the country. Later, after he’d received his first citizenship papers, Mickey married an American girl and again took to the road as a team.

    After the breakup of the act—and the marriage—Mickey became a builder in Indianapolis, building and selling houses at a fat profit. On the side, he quietly bought up hilltop lots that today are worth many times their value.

    At the suggestion of a friend, Mickey, always a muscular marvel, entered a “Mr. Indiana” contest and won. Encouraged, he entered a “Mr. Mid-Western” contest in Kansas City and won. But the heavy Hungarian accent lost him the “Mr. America” contest in Cleveland. “It wooden look right, a ‘Mr. America’ talk like me,” he explains.

    So, with his American citizenship papers in hand, Mickey set out for England and the “Mr. Universe” contest at London’s Palladium. And won. And stood on the stage and almost wept his Star Spangled speech of thanks.

    As Mr. Universe, Mickey joined Mae West for an extended tour that ended forever the night Jayne walked into the Latin Quarter and walked right out with Mickey in tow.

    He never went back.

    When Jayne came to Hollywood and a movie career, Mickey, their love, their cats and a white mink coat in the middle of August, came along. Jayne was all set to kill the people with furs and feathers while Mickey remained quietly in the background, building things around Jayne’s home. Dog houses, fences, swimming pools, bed headboards and mosaics of Jayne. All in pink, her favorite color.

    His devotion was apparent to all. And calmly accepted by Jayne until that fatal day when love reappeared, and the couple decided they were altar-bound, a proud and happy-beyond-words Mickey, a new and glowing Jayne.

    Today Mickey is busy with “Golden Boy,” a men’s perfume about to go on the market. “We need only a little more backing to put him over,” he says, and frankly admits to selling his precious bonds to buy Jayne’s ring. His role as Tarzan in Jayne’s movie, “Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?” brought favorable reviews, and Mickey himself isn’t averse to a movie career.

    “I wait and they will maybe one day find me,” he says. And “they” could certainly do worse.

    Leaving “Mansfield’s Madness,” as Jayne has elegantly dubbed her small abode, I was suddenly struck by a thought.

    “By the way,” I called to the two of them at the top of the outdoor stairs, “where will you spend your honeymoon?”

    By the blankness on their faces I knew this was one more detail that had been overlooked.

    “Maybe to Alaska,” I suggested.

    “T’as right,” Mickey said.




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