Born Vera Jane Palmer, Jayne Mansfield was the daughter of a lawyer who died when Mansfield was six, at which time her mother moved the family from Pennsylvania to Dallas. While attending Southern Methodist University, the 16-year-old Palmer married student Paul James Mansfield. Lacking the funds for day-care service, Jayne attended acting classes in Los Angeles with her infant daughter strapped on her back like a papoose.
After briefly working as a candy vendor in an L.A. theater, Mansfield caught the eye of a TV producer. It was difficult for Mansfield, whose measurements were 40-21-35, not to gain attention in her subsequent TV and film works. More famous as a cheesecake model than an actress, by 1955 Mansfield first gained critical plaudits for her classic performance as a Monroe-like movie starlet in George Axelrod’s Broadway play Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter. This role won her a contract at 20th Century Fox, where she fell within the sphere of comedy director Frank Tashlin… read more