Jayne Mansfield was a famous screen actress in the 50's and 60's. While her career had many ups and downs, she was able to maintain household name status until her tragic and untimely death in 1967 at the age of 34.
Jayne is a very interesting actress and public figure because she was always the underdog. Never quite number one, she often found herself in a battle for media attention against other starlets. A battle she often lost to actresses like Marilyn Monroe and Sophia Loren. Luckily she was a master manipulator of the media and always found her way back into the spotlight.
Most often she would use her sexuality as a means of turning heads. I know that this may seem like an odd trophy but Jayne was the first actress to use the nip slip. By modern standards, the nip slip is tame but at the time it was unheard of. Her first of several purposeful nip slips happened at a dinner in honor of rival actress Sophia Loren.
Outside of publicity stunts Jayne often found her sexuality thrust into the public eye. In February of 1955 she was featured as a Playboy centerfold, which launched her career. She went on to be featured in the magazine on no less than 30 separate occasions. In 1967 she starred in Promises! Promises!, which featured a nude Mansfield in 4 separate scenes. It was the first Hollywood film with synchronous sound to feature a mainstream actress in the nude.
In her private life, Mansfield was notoriously and ravenously sexual. She was married three times, birthed 5 children and was linked to numerous Hollywood actors.
In her day, Jayne was a pioneer in terms of sexual expression. While she wasn't an advocate in the traditional sense, she helped to make way for many of today's sex kitten actresses. I really admire Jayne's strength and courage to be so unabashedly sexual.
Sadly, today Jayne is remembered only as a mediocre fame seeking actress. It’s quite unfortunate that Jayne's memory has not been treated with the continued adoration that many other starlets of her time receive. It seems that even in death Jayne could not achieve and sustain the fame that she fought so hard for.
It may be a consolation prize, but here at Let’s Talk About Sex Jayne is remembered as a beautiful and flawed woman who never got the second chance she deserved. The vox populi may have forgotten about her but she will always hold a special place in my heart.