Happy 50th Birthday, Mariska Hargitay! Celebrate With These Vintage Foxy Photos

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Mariska Hargitay is such a badass on Law & Order: SVU and such an incredible force for good in real life, that sometimes we forget her earlier years as a bombshell beauty. Silly us — she is, after all, the daughter of original blond bombshell Jayne Mansfield and bodybuilder Mickey Hargitay. Today, as the actress turns the big 5-0, we’re looking back at some vintage foxy photos of Mariska.

Despite her celebrity pedigree, Mariska really worked her way up in showbiz. She was Miss Beverly Hills USA in 1982, and by 1984 she had a gig in this cheesetastic video for Ronnie Milsap’s “She Loves My Car.”

She went on to get parts in such cinematic masterpieces as Jocks and Ghoulies, before landing steadier work, like the role of Carly on the CBS prime-time soap Falcon Crest. There followed a lot of roles on short-lived shows, as well as guest spots on some of our faves, like Baywatch and Seinfeld. We were pretty excited to find this episode of Ellen too:

Mariska’s come a long way. We hope she doesn’t mind this little trip down memory lane. If she does, please head over to JoyfulHeartFoundation.org and make a donation to her organization that helps victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. That should make up for the embarrassment. Happy birthday!