Then, after splitting from Hargitay, Mansfield wed film director Matt Climber. That marriage didn’t last long, however, and before long Mansfield had moved in with her attorney, Sam Brody. But Brody was reportedly abusive to both Mansfield and her oldest daughter. And by the mid ’60s, the once-iconic blonde bombshell was on a downward spiral, battling alcoholism.
In fact, it was at this point – when Hargitay was just three years old – that Mansfield’s life came to a tragic end. In June 1967 Mansfield, Brody and their driver Ronnie Harrison were all killed when their car crashed into the back of a tractor obscured by pesticide fog. Hargitay and two of her brothers were in the car, too, but they all escaped with relatively minor injuries.
And ever since photographs were first released of the crash scene, a persistent urban legend has claimed that Mansfield was decapitated in the crash. Indeed, it’s rumored that one infamous photo actually shows the top of her head lying on the ground. That assertion has long since been debunked by official reports, though.