‘Law & Order: SVU’: The Crucial Advice Mariska Hargitay Received from Her Dad

by Joe Rutland

Actress Mariska Hargitay of “Law & Order: SVU” remembered some advice that her father passed along while she was growing up.

Hargitay, who plays Sergeant Olivia Benson on the long-running NBC police drama, had a pretty famous father in actor-bodybuilder, Mickey Hargitay.

Mickey won the 1955 Mr. Universe title as well as appear in movies with his wife and Marisa’s mother, actress Jayne Mansfield.

She talked to Parade Magazine in a 2019 interview about the advice.

‘Law & Order: SVU’ Star Remembered Dad Told Her That Family Doesn’t Quit

“I could have quit a million times, but my dad drilled into me that our family doesn’t quit,” Hargitay said. “So if you don’t get it, it means you’re not ready and you have to get up and try again. There’s really something to be said for perseverance and not throwing in the towel.

“My dad gave me so much advice and shored me up so young,” Hargitay said. “He achieved so many unattainable goals and did it by beating to his own drum. He used to say that to me. Like, ‘What does it matter what people think?’ He was so clear in what it took to succeed.”

Mickey Hargitay died on Sept. 14, 2006, at 80 years old. He did live long enough, though, to see his daughter succeed on “Law & Order: SVU.” Mariska Hargitay has stayed loyal to his father’s advice throughout her career.

Right now, she’s getting ready for “Law & Order: SVU” to start its 23rd season on NBC. The show has been the longest-running spin-off from the Dick Wolf-created “Law & Order.” Outsiders can appreciate Hargitay’s stick-to-it attitude when it comes to her show.

What’s The Story Behind Family Naming Of NBC Crime Drama Star?

“Law & Order: SVU” star Mariska Hargitay has an interesting story behind her mother and father giving her a first name.

When Mansfield gave birth to Mariska, she likely wanted a meaningful name for her daughter. Instead of finding inspiration in one of those baby name books, Mansfield turned to the Bible. Usually, names in the Bible are pretty common in the States–Sarah, Abigail, Eve, and so on. Not many Hungarian versions of these names, though, are as popular.

In order to honor both Mickey, who was born in Hungary, and their Roman Catholic faith, the parents named her Mariska Magdolna. Does it look familiar? Well, in English the name translates into Mary Magdelene, one of Jesus’ followers.

Hargitay has a unique, harmonious name. But the name also honors her father’s culture and her religion, too.

She also followed her parents’ journey in becoming an actress. Sadly, her mother died in an auto accident at 34 years old in 1967. Mansfield’s film work is still remembered all these years later.