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JAYNE MANSFIELD




























I loved the way she walked, I loved the way she talked, hell, I loved everything about Ms. Vera Jayne Palmer, whom you probably know better as Jayne Mansfield.   She was the woman that put the "Sex" in "Sex Symbol," sporting a figure that stretched the tape at 40-21-35.  She parlayed her trade as a "Dumb Blonde," however, in reality, Ms. Mansfield was anything but.  She was highly intelligent, truly a "self-made superstar," who used her God-given attributes to create one of the hottest property to ever hit Hollywood.
 
Just a small town girl from Dallas, Texas, Jayne had "Hollywood" in her blood from way back when she was a teenager.  She won a few beauty contests, which led to a modeling career.  With her dynamic figure, it didn't take long for her popularity to spread, as she was featured in all the major men's magazines of the time, including Playboy (whose pages she would grace several times).
 

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The next stop for Jayne was on the big screen.  She wanted to be an actress, but not just any actress, Jayne wanted to be a "Superstar."  Nothing or no one would stand in her way and that included her husband, who had come in tow with her from Texas.  Obtaining a divorce, Jayne went on a self-promoting campaign that had every studio asking, "Who is this delicious-looking blonde?"






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In what would be the first of many "upstagings" of rival actresses, Jayne made quite an appearance at a press promotion for the 1955 Jane Russell film Underwater.  She somehow managed to "lose" her top in the swimming pool in full view of a now very attentive press.  The stunt worked as Jayne was given a contract with Warner Bros.






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Jayne's beautiful face and voluptuous figure were now plastered on just about every magazine in and out of the country, but her acting career had failed to take off as expected.  A publicity and marketing genius, who hasn't received the credit she deserves ( for having brains as well as body), Jayne turned to the stage, where she began a long and successful run on Broadway in the hit play Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?. 
 
Jayne left Warner Bros. and signed with 20th Century Fox, who immediately cast her in the film The Girl Can't Help It, a B-Movie which took advantage of the country's Rock & Roll Craze.  The film was a box office hit, showcasing Jayne in all her delicious glory.  The Wayward Bus and the screen version of Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? continued her hit streak, and it finally appeared as if Jayne's dream of becoming a Hollywood icon had come to fruition.

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But what goes up, must come down, and so did the career and life of Jayne Mansfield.  Jayne attempted to garner more dramatic roles to show off her more then average acting skills, but she was instead cast in low-budget B-vehicles.  By the end of the 50's, the icon had become yesterday's news.  Jayne's over-the-top lifestyle and glamorous image didn't fare well in the politically charged 60's, and soon she had sunk to Z-Grade nudie films and naughty live stage acts across the country.

Jayne's life spiraled into a world of drug and alcohol addiction, which turned one of Hollywood's craftiest women into a dark caricature of herself.  Tragically in 1967, while driving to a nightclub engagement in Louisiana, Jayne Mansfield was killed in an automobile accident. 
 
Although her life ended grimly, the legacy of Jayne Mansfield lives on, and she is probably as loved today, as she was at her career peak.  Much credit should be given to Jayne, as she proved fifty years ago that marketing female sexuality is not exploitation, when it's the woman who is in control of the product.  Say amen Madonna, J-Lo, and Britney.

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