Law and Order
Mariska Hargitay
Captain Olivia Benson
Date of birth
23 January 1964
Place of birth
Santa Monica, California, USA
IMDb profile

Mariska Magdolna Hargitay is a Golden Globe Award/Emmy Award winning American actress best known for her role as Detective Olivia Benson on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

Prior to playing Benson on SVU, Hargitay appeared in many shows such as the CBS sitcom Can't Hurry Love alongside Nancy McKeon and played Cynthia Hooper in the NBC drama ER.

Hargitay made appearances in the Law & Order episodes "Entitled", "Fools For Love", and "Flaw". She also appeared in the Law & Order: Trial by Jury episode "Day".

In addition to starring on Special Victims Unit, she directed seven episodes for the series: "Criminal Stories", "Padre Sandunguero", "A Misunderstanding", "Sheltered Outcasts", "Motherly Love", "Mea Culpa", and "She Paints For Vengeance".

Hargitay won an Emmy Award for her portrayal of Olivia Benson in the category Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series in 2006. She was nominated for the same award in 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011.

In 2005, Hargitay won a Golden Globe. She was the first woman ever from the Law & Order franchise to receive award nominations and wins.

On 28 August 2004, Hargitay married Peter Hermann, an actor and writer who has often appeared on Special Victims Unit as Defense Attorney Trevor Langan. On 28 June 2006, Hargitay gave birth to August Miklos Friedrich Hermann. During the last months of her pregnancy, she took maternity leave from SVU and was temporarily replaced by Connie Nielsen.

On 7 November 2013, Hargitay received the 2511th Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame next to her mother, Jayne Mansfield's, star (location: 6328 Hollywood Blvd.).

Hargitay's father Mickey appeared in the SVU episode "Control" as a witness. Her cousin Eddie appeared in the SVU episodes "Remember Me", "Remember Me Too", "Mea Culpa", "Alta Kockers" and "One More Tale Of Two Victims" as Officer Eddie Montero.

As a token of their friendship, SVU co-star Christopher Meloni made Hargitay the godmother of his daughter Sophia.


  • She is the daughter of late actress Jayne Mansfield and late actor/bodybuilder Mickey Hargitay.
  • She has two brothers: Miklós and Zoltán Hargitay, two half-sisters: Jayne Marie Mansfield and Tina Hargitay, and a half-brother, Antonio Ottaviano (now known as Tony Cimber)
  • She was in the car which crashed in New Orleans on June 29, 1967 and killed her mother, Jayne Mansfield. As a result of the crash, she has a zigzag scar on one side of her head.
  • She attended Marymount High School and the UCLA School of Theater Film and Television
  • She was crowned Miss Beverly Hills USA in 1982.
  • She is fluent in English, Hungarian, French, Spanish, and Italian.
  • She married Peter Hermann (who plays defense attorney Trevor Langan on SVU) on August 28, 2004 after meeting him during production of the season 3 episode Monogamy. They both have a son August Miklos Friedrich Hermann (born on June 26, 2006), an adopted daughter Amaya Josephine born April of 2011 and an adopted son named Andrew Nicolas Hargitay Herman born mid-2011.
  • She is the founder/president of the Joyful Heart Association which provides support to victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse, which she was inspired to do after her role on SVU.
  • She is a honorary board member director of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. Her father, Mickey Hargitay, who once portrayed a witness on the show, passed away from the disease in September 2006.
  • She is the longest-serving cast member on SVU as well as in the Law & Order franchise.
  • She appeared in the music video for Ronnie Milsap's "She Loves My Car" in 1984.
  • Her first movie role was in the horror movie Ghoulies as Donna. Her first TV role was in the crime drama TV series Downtown as Jesse Smith.