Today, our Great Greek Spotlight is for actor and Kappa Kappa Gamma sister, Mariska Hargitay.
On January 23, 1964 Mariska Hargitay was born to parents Jayne Mansfield and Mickey Hargitay in Santa Monica, California. When Hargitay was 3 years old her mother died in a car crash and was raised by her father from then on. When she was older, Mariska went to a Catholic secondary school called Marymount High School where Hargitay was active in cheer leading, student government, athletics, and the theater program.
In 1982 Hargitay enrolled into UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television, where she was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma. That same year she was crowned Miss Beverly Hills USA. Before completing her degree Hargitay left UCLA to pursue a career in acting,
Before she acted Hargitay attended Groundlings Theatre Company in Los Angeles. Her first big break was a role in the horror film called Ghoulies. After that she was offered a spot in a TV show called Towntown, though she never considered going into television.
It wasn’t until 1999 when Mariska was casted to play Olivia Benson in NBC’s Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. She has won an Emmy and a Golden Globe Award as well as nominated for the Screen Actors Guild Award for outstanding performance by a female actor in a drama series. The show is on it’s 16th season which Hargitay is still apart of acting, directing, and producing.
Aside from the show, Hargitay is the founder an president of the Joyful Heart Foundation which supports survivors of sexual assault, domestic abuse, and child abuse. The Foundation has raised $20 million and helped approximately 5,000 survivors as of April 2011.