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The Tragic Secret Life of Jayne Mansfield

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Having spent ten years as Jayne Mansfield's press secretary, Raymond Strait knows intimately both the public image and the private person that were Jayne Mansfield. Sitting through hundreds of hours of interviews and private conversations -- not only with Jayne but also with her husbands, her lovers, and her children -- gave Ray the opportunity to present a revealing portr Having spent ten years as Jayne Mansfield's press secretary, Raymond Strait knows intimately both the public image and the private person that were Jayne Mansfield. Sitting through hundreds of hours of interviews and private conversations -- not only with Jayne but also with her husbands, her lovers, and her children -- gave Ray the opportunity to present a revealing portrait of the woman. He records her drive for fame and success and her overpowering need to be loved and to love, needs that led her into numerous affairs with rich and powerful men -- including President John F Kennedy -- and with younger men from all walks of life. And he discusses frankly Jayne's ultimately successful plan to become pregnant by Nelson Sardelli because she wanted to have an Italian child. Know to millions as the consummate sex symbol who rivaled Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield received more press coverage than anyone else in Hollywood. The headlines were often sensational, causing society matrons and Baptist ministers to shake their heads and point their fingers. But under those sensational headlines there was a woman of greater complexity that any reporter could hope to understand. Strait goes below the surface to examine Jayne's emotions and motivations, revealing the truth about her many lovers, her three unsuccessful marriages, her love affair with Mickey Hargitay that lasted to the end and her battle against and her surrender to alcohol and drugs.


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Having spent ten years as Jayne Mansfield's press secretary, Raymond Strait knows intimately both the public image and the private person that were Jayne Mansfield. Sitting through hundreds of hours of interviews and private conversations -- not only with Jayne but also with her husbands, her lovers, and her children -- gave Ray the opportunity to present a revealing portr Having spent ten years as Jayne Mansfield's press secretary, Raymond Strait knows intimately both the public image and the private person that were Jayne Mansfield. Sitting through hundreds of hours of interviews and private conversations -- not only with Jayne but also with her husbands, her lovers, and her children -- gave Ray the opportunity to present a revealing portrait of the woman. He records her drive for fame and success and her overpowering need to be loved and to love, needs that led her into numerous affairs with rich and powerful men -- including President John F Kennedy -- and with younger men from all walks of life. And he discusses frankly Jayne's ultimately successful plan to become pregnant by Nelson Sardelli because she wanted to have an Italian child. Know to millions as the consummate sex symbol who rivaled Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield received more press coverage than anyone else in Hollywood. The headlines were often sensational, causing society matrons and Baptist ministers to shake their heads and point their fingers. But under those sensational headlines there was a woman of greater complexity that any reporter could hope to understand. Strait goes below the surface to examine Jayne's emotions and motivations, revealing the truth about her many lovers, her three unsuccessful marriages, her love affair with Mickey Hargitay that lasted to the end and her battle against and her surrender to alcohol and drugs.

30 review for The Tragic Secret Life of Jayne Mansfield

  1. 4 out of 5

    Valerity (Val)

    Originally published as a hardcover in 1974 by Raymond Strait. I read this as a kindle edition. This book turned out to be a decent read about Jayne Mansfield, one of the last of the studio contract stars. It’s written by a man who was an employee off and on for 10 years but was also her friend and confidant. He saw all of the drama with her multiple husbands and lovers, and he had his own strange intimate relationship with her from time to time. Strait saw the highs of her career and was along Originally published as a hardcover in 1974 by Raymond Strait. I read this as a kindle edition. This book turned out to be a decent read about Jayne Mansfield, one of the last of the studio contract stars. It’s written by a man who was an employee off and on for 10 years but was also her friend and confidant. He saw all of the drama with her multiple husbands and lovers, and he had his own strange intimate relationship with her from time to time. Strait saw the highs of her career and was along for the duration, trying at times to give her helpful advice. I learned a lot about the star that I was unaware of beyond the sex bomb thing and just how she died. She became more of a real person after reading this book and learning about her life, her childhood and her relationship with her mom. Then, of course, her multiple marriages and children. She was intelligent and hardworking and started out going for her dream, but seems to have lost her way and that dream after some years in the business. Her personal life and stability seemed to go downhill after her 2nd divorce and she never really was able to find lasting happiness with one man, though she was always searching. Ultimately a truly sad story, ending in tragedy, as most know. The book fills in a lot of the details that many may not know. Interesting for those who like Hollywood biographies, non-fiction.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Robin

    Interesting A very informative book, a look from the inside out. It's always nice to read that movies stars are people too. With everyday problems just like you and me. I would recommend this book to anyone with a desire to know more about Jayne Mansfield. Interesting A very informative book, a look from the inside out. It's always nice to read that movies stars are people too. With everyday problems just like you and me. I would recommend this book to anyone with a desire to know more about Jayne Mansfield.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Bridget Holbert

    Good Interesting glimpse into her life. From childhood to her death this writer knew a lot about Jane's life. Her mothering skills to being a daughter to her mother and step dad, everything about Jane is in this book. Good Interesting glimpse into her life. From childhood to her death this writer knew a lot about Jane's life. Her mothering skills to being a daughter to her mother and step dad, everything about Jane is in this book.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Marjorie Yow

    Sad life A good read about a sad sad life gone to waste. The booze and other drugs will eventually do one in.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Alan

    One of the most alluring aspects of star-system-era Hollywood is the mystique built around the gods and goddesses of the silver screen, which stands in stark contrast to our social-media age where every aspect of a movie star’s life is on full display. Jayne Mansfield, in particular, has always had a strange pull on me as one of the final products of the star system, an icon of the 1950s rock & roll era who ignominiously transitioned into the swinging ‘60s. But, it seems, she was a cautionary ta One of the most alluring aspects of star-system-era Hollywood is the mystique built around the gods and goddesses of the silver screen, which stands in stark contrast to our social-media age where every aspect of a movie star’s life is on full display. Jayne Mansfield, in particular, has always had a strange pull on me as one of the final products of the star system, an icon of the 1950s rock & roll era who ignominiously transitioned into the swinging ‘60s. But, it seems, she was a cautionary tale in exactly why it’s sometimes better to not know too much about the larger-than-life heroes of popular culture. Jayne Mansfield comes across as a complete train wreck of a human being in these pages, her staggeringly high IQ serving only to make her more conniving and self-centred. Normally in books like these, you feel sorry for the real human caught up in a whirlwind, the little girl who lost her father at a young age and uses men to fill the void. But in this book, it’s difficult to feel any kind of sympathy for Jayne, a truly horrible person caught up, as she was, in a tragedy entirely of her own making. You almost feel relieved when her lifestyle finally caught up with her and she was decapitated in a car crash, as her children might actually be able to pursue ordinary lives. The writer was a close friend, so I can’t imagine that he portrayed her so negatively with an ax to grind. The book itself is well written and engaging, in so far as you can be engaged by the life story of such a person. I was hoping for more information about Jayne’s foray into Satanism and close friendship with Anton LaVey, but I suppose I’ll have to settle with the documentary ‘Mansfield 66/67’ for a closer look at that aspect of her life. I can’t say I learnt very much from the experience of reading this short book, other than confirmation that idol worship is stupid and people showered with money and fame who get anything they want became messed up even back in the “innocent” days of the ‘50s and ‘60s. If, like me, you’re hoping for the basis of a potential exciting musical biopic about one of the enduring entertainers of pop-culture imagination, you’ll be disappointed.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Pittar

    Sexpot & Brainiac, Mother & Filmstar. Fascinating. Good to read a biography by someone who knew her for the last 10 year of her very short life, so I can take this biography at face value and not wonder if most of it is second or third hand gossip or recollections of people who may or may not have known her for more than 5 minutes... I was left so sad by the waste of an incredible talent and life. Jayne Mansfield was used by every man in her life and in turn used everyone around her. Her looks we Sexpot & Brainiac, Mother & Filmstar. Fascinating. Good to read a biography by someone who knew her for the last 10 year of her very short life, so I can take this biography at face value and not wonder if most of it is second or third hand gossip or recollections of people who may or may not have known her for more than 5 minutes... I was left so sad by the waste of an incredible talent and life. Jayne Mansfield was used by every man in her life and in turn used everyone around her. Her looks were her attraction and currency. She spent her money like water and just loved booze and pills ( she managed to have access to pharmaceuticals in a way that would astonish most people today). It would be interesting to read the memories of the women who knew her, as I am sure they would be different. We can all relate to her struggle with her weight especially post birth. Having said that, this does read as if it is written from a diary and from notes. It has the feel of immediacy, of recollection from notes taken at the time. You can almost hear the words spoken. The chaos and frenetic activity of an actor/performers life as they juggle family, children, lovers, staff, travel, houses, pets, booze & pills comes across very clearly - and exhaustingly. You wonder how her life would have been had she not died. There was no rehab in 1967, no Betty Ford Clinic. Would she have gone further down the rabbit hole & died later of drugs & alcoholism? Or would she have pottered along as a B Grade actor, fading into obscurity in her Pink Palace? Maybe resurrecting in the 2000s in cameo parts to great acclaim? Rest in Peace, Jayne, there was no one like you and will never be again. A rollercoaster of a life. A good read - now I want to watch her films!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Julie Miller

    Sickening and depressing This was written by someone who knew Jayne Mansfield for many years, and he tries hard to gloss over a lot of disgusting things. He also leaves out some despicable behavior by Mansfield but whatever. As hard as he tried, the more I read the more I hated Mansfield. You could say she's the ultimate cautionary tale of the evils of Hollywood but it's worse than that. She was massively selfish and a toxic narcissist who abused her children and took advantage of anyone who trie Sickening and depressing This was written by someone who knew Jayne Mansfield for many years, and he tries hard to gloss over a lot of disgusting things. He also leaves out some despicable behavior by Mansfield but whatever. As hard as he tried, the more I read the more I hated Mansfield. You could say she's the ultimate cautionary tale of the evils of Hollywood but it's worse than that. She was massively selfish and a toxic narcissist who abused her children and took advantage of anyone who tried to help her. The way she treated her eldest daughter was the limit - she egged on her drunken boyfriend to beat the girl almost to death because the girl was going to testify against Mansfield in a custody heating. My heart broke reading about the sick and destructive legacy she left behind her. A horrible, awful person in every way. Honestly have not one good word to say about Jayne Mansfield.

  8. 4 out of 5

    V.M Fourie

    Brilliant read An amazing biography...never a dull moment. What a wasted life..very sad indeed. Didn't want the story to end. Ten out of ten to Raymond Strait for a gripping and compelling story Brilliant read An amazing biography...never a dull moment. What a wasted life..very sad indeed. Didn't want the story to end. Ten out of ten to Raymond Strait for a gripping and compelling story

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lorri Stanton

    Sad Good read but sad life. Unbelievable how men loved her even when she was so bad to them. I am saddest for her children.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kiranjit Rentagobrana

    I Love Jayne Mansfield * I have liked her character * personally I like those sort of traits about her * along with of course her look etc

  11. 4 out of 5

    Frances Wessel

    Surprise to me I always thought that Jayne Mansfield was a good mother and wife. It is sad that she was addicted to drugs and alcohol

  12. 5 out of 5

    s.claxton norman

    M I knew how janye Mansfield died.I DID NOT KNOW. THAT SHE WAS TRYING TO KILL HERSELF AND THOSE AROUND HER FOR ALL OF HER TEENAGE AND HER ADULT LIFE!SHE MAY HAVE A HIGH I.Q. BUT SHE WAS SICK .SHE OBVIOUSIY HAD MULTIPLE personality WAS BIPOLAr.she should have never been allowed to keep her children much less all the Animals that she abused.I would like for you to finish the story! Why was Jayne Never Hospitalized? new

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jeanette

    Tragic? I don't know that I would call her life tragic. To reportedly have an IQ of 163, she really messed up her life. Is this what fame does to people? I have sympathy for her children. For them to grow up with this stigma had to be painful. Tragic? I don't know that I would call her life tragic. To reportedly have an IQ of 163, she really messed up her life. Is this what fame does to people? I have sympathy for her children. For them to grow up with this stigma had to be painful.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Celia Castillo

    Quick reading So sad, especially for her children. I'm amazed at the judicial system failing her children. This would not happen today, thank god. Well written, never drags. Read this book in two sittings. Quick reading So sad, especially for her children. I'm amazed at the judicial system failing her children. This would not happen today, thank god. Well written, never drags. Read this book in two sittings.

  15. 5 out of 5

    lynn m canavan

  16. 5 out of 5

    Robert A. Rothstein

  17. 5 out of 5

    Nancy L Vetterl

  18. 4 out of 5

    Cathy

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Harris

  20. 5 out of 5

    Norman Kahn

  21. 4 out of 5

    Christine Maxant

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lyn Mistry

  23. 5 out of 5

    kooros parsa

  24. 5 out of 5

    Phil Lambe

  25. 4 out of 5

    patricia

  26. 4 out of 5

    Anne Holmes

  27. 4 out of 5

    Bill Baker

  28. 4 out of 5

    joann allan

  29. 5 out of 5

    Christine Dawson

  30. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Kresser

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