Mariska (Ma-rish-ka) Magdolna Hargitay was born on January 23, 1964, in Santa Monica, California. Her parents are Mickey Hargitay and Jayne Mansfield. She is the youngest of their three children. In June 1967, Mariska and her brothers Zoltan and Mickey Jr. were in the back seat of a car when it was involved in the fatal accident which killed her mother. The children escaped with minor injuries.Mariska majored in theater at UCLA but dropped out before graduating. Her first motion picture feature was the cult favorite, Ghoulies (1985), where she gave a memorable performance as Donna. She also appeared in Leaving Las Vegas (1995), credited as 'Hooker at the bar', and in Lake Placid (1999) as Myra Okubo. Her latest movie, Plain Truth (2004) (TV), in which she plays attorney Ellie Harrison aired in the fall of 2004.In 1999 she was cast in the role of Det. Olivia Benson in "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (1999), the first spin off from the excellent franchise of "Law & Order" (1990) (which also has two other spinoffs, "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" (2001) and "Law & Order: Trial by Jury" (2005)). This show deals with sex crimes and the detectives who solve these cases.Mariska speaks English, Hungarian, French and Italian. She married actor Peter Hermann on August 28, 2004. They divide their time between New York and Los Angeles.