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You'll Love the Sentimental Meaning of Mariska Hargitay's Name and Its Tie to Her Dad
Mickey Hargitay explained the emotional roots behind his daughter's name in 2003.
Mariska Hargitay's name is certainly unique and beautiful, and it turns out it has very sentimental ties to her family as well.
"I was named after my grandmother. My whole name is my dad's mother's name," Hargitay explained in 2003 during a celebration of the 100th episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
The story of Mariska Hargitay's name
"As a matter of fact, when Mariska [was] born, her mother, Jayne Mansfield, and I, went to Hungary, and we announced to my parents and also the press that Mariska is coming. And my mother wanted to name her Mariska so much. And that's how she became Mariska. She's a real Hungarian," her father, Mickey Hargitay chimed in while beaming at his daughter.
Mariska means "star of the sea" or "beloved" in Hungarian, according to The Bump, and is "a diminutive of the Latin name Mary."
Mickey actually starred in the 100th SVU episode in 2003, Season 5, Episode 9's "Control." It was his final role before his death in 2006.
In the episode, Mickey played a grandfather who witnesses a man falling to his death, who then recalled what he saw to Captain Olivia Benson, played by his daughter.
What to know about Mickey Hargitay
Born in Hungary, Mickey Hargitay moved to the USA at the age of 21 as a bodybuilder, and went on to win the title of Mr. Universe in 1955.
In 1958, he married actress Jayne Mansfield, and had three children together, Miklós, Zoltán, and Mariska, before divorcing in 1964. Mickey and Mansfield also starred in film projects together, such as The Loves of Hercules, Promises! Promises!, and Primitive Love.
Mickey passed away of cancer in 2006 at the age of 80, but his daughter has done a great job of making sure his legacy lives on.
In 2018, Mariska opened up to Closer Weekly about valuable lessons her father taught her in life. “The message I got from my father was that life is hard, but you just don’t quit,” she told the outlet. “I’d get an audition and he’d say, ‘How hard are you going to work for it?’
In January 2024, Mariska also made a heartwarming tribute post to her father on what would be his 98th birthday. In the Instagram snapshot that she shared, we catch a glimpse of Mickey smiling and wearing a suit at what appears to be a red carpet event.
"Happy birthday Dad. #ICarryYouWithMe Forever in my heart," she lovingly captioned the post.