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1950s Style Icons: Jayne Mansfield

Jayne Mansfield

Jayne Mansfield was an iconic bombshell of the 50s and 60s and was known as the ‘Working Man’s Monroe‘. She was a master of self-publicity and pioneered the use of the wardrobe malfunction to raise her profile.

“A forty-one inch bust and a lot of perseverance will get you more than a cup of coffee-a lot more. But most girls don’t know what to do with what they’ve got.” – Jayne Mansfield

Born Vera Jayne Palmer, as a child she aspired to be the next Shirley Temple, but it wasn’t until she posed for Playboy magazine in 1955 that her career took off. She was signed later that year to 20th Century Fox as they were looking for a replacement to Marilyn Monroe, who was in trouble with the studio at the time.

They promoted Mansfield as ‘Marilyn Monroe king sized’ on account of her 40–21–35 figure, but her movie success was short-lived and she never achieved the Hollywood success of her main rival.

Despite her image as a ‘dumb blonde’ Mansfield spoke five languages and had an IQ of 163.

She continued performing and modelling for pin-ups, but by the time of her death in a tragic car accident in 1967 her career was very much in decline, something which was partly attributed to her frequent pregnancies (she had 5 children) and also to what critics referred to as her ‘limited acting range’. Her legend was enhanced by the tragic nature of her death aged just 34, and the gruesome rumours that she was beheaded when her car crashed into the back of a truck.

Jayne Mansfield is one of the iconic blonde bombshells and pin-up queens of the 1950s. Take a look at her in action below:

Read more from my Vintage Style Icons series

Image source and copyright:  4: This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. 5, 6, 7, 8, This work is in the public domain in that it was published in the United States between 1923 and 1977 and without a copyright notice. 9: This work is in the public domain because it was published in the United States between 1923 and 1963 and although there may or may not have been a copyright notice, the copyright was not renewed

 

 

5 thoughts on “1950s Style Icons: Jayne Mansfield

  1. Patrick

    Great article about Jayne Mansfield one of ‘The Three M’s’ the other two being Marilyn Monroe and Mamie Van Doren, you should check out Mamie Van Doren, she starred in mostly B-movies but I think she’s awesome and definitely warrants mention and she’s still alive today.

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