Meet Mickey Hargitay Jr., Mariska Hargitay’s Brother and LA’s Beloved Plant Shop Owner

By AtticusPublished on: June 16, 2024 Updated on: June 19, 2024
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In a family renowned for their contributions to Hollywood, one member has chosen a distinctly different path. While the Hargitay name is often associated with the silver screen, the serene world of plants in Los Angeles tells another story. Mickey Hargitay Jr. has embraced a life far from the acting spotlight, finding fulfillment in running a successful plant shop in the heart of the city.

Rather than following in the footsteps of his famous parents, Mickey Hargitay and Jayne Mansfield, Mickey has cultivated a passion for horticulture. His shop, a green oasis in the urban landscape, reflects his dedication to nature and his entrepreneurial spirit.

Stepmother Embraced Motherly Role After The Loss of His Mother

Mickey’s life took a tragic turn on June 29, 1967, when his mother, Jayne, died in a car accident. The accident occurred near Biloxi, Mississippi, when their car collided with the rear of a truck. Contrary to some reports, Mansfield was not decapitated, although she did suffer severe head trauma.

Nine years old Mickey and his younger siblings, Zoltan and Mariska were all asleep in the backseat and miraculously survived the crash, despite sustaining injuries.

Mickey Hargitay's parents, Mickey Hargitay Sr. and Jayne Mansfield
Mickey Hargitay Sr. and Jayne Mansfield

Although Mickey rarely talks about the incident and its impact on his life publicly, his sister occasionally speaks about it in the media. The Law and Order: SVU star described the loss as “the scar of her soul.” In a 2021 interview with Glamour, she said, “I think I learned about crisis very young, and I learned very young that s— happens and there’s no guarantees, and we keep going.

After this tragic event, Mickey’s father married Ellen Siano, who became a pivotal figure in their childhood. Ellen, who doesn’t have her own children, embraced Mickey and his siblings with open arms. She immediately stepped into the role of their mother, providing the care and stability they needed.

From Childhood Chores to a Thriving Plant Shop, Mickey Hargitay Jr’s Journey in Horticulture

Hargitay Jr. found his calling in an unexpected place; the family chore of watering plants. What began as a childhood task evolved into a lifelong passion and a successful career. After the death of his mother, young Mickey moved to West Hollywood and then to Doheny Estates. Amidst the chaos of his early years, the steady presence of plants provided him with a sense of stability and purpose.

Hargitay recalled how he initially disliked his plant-watering duties in a conversation with the LA Times in 2016. “It was my chore when I was a kid growing up to water the plants. I didn’t know that was what I was going to end up doing,” he said. “I probably hated it at the time, but you end up loving what you sometimes don’t as a child,” he added.

At 23, Hargitay opened his first plant shop in an early 1900s bungalow on Fountain and North Sycamore avenues. Initially, the shop was more of a social hub than a serious business. “We made a living but not a lot of goal setting and not a lot of looking towards the future,” Hargitay said.

Mickey Hargitay Jr. at his plant nursery
Mickey at his plant nursery

However, as the neighborhood around him transformed, so did his approach to the business. He began bringing in exotic plants and educating customers on their care.

Hargitay’s dedication to horticulture has not only grounded him but also garnered a notable clientele, including celebrities like George Clooney and Jim Carrey. Despite his famous family, Mickey prefers a more grounded lifestyle. “[My family] made decisions to reach for the stars and I’ve wanted to keep my feet on the ground,” he said. “I’ve wanted to do something that seems more grounded and is more real.”

Through his plant shop, Mickey has built a community and a career that reflects his passion and keeps him connected to the natural world.

Mickey Has Some Experience in Hollywood

Despite being surrounded by his family’s illustrious acting legacy, Mickey (born Miklós Jeffrey Palmer Hargitay), 65, only dabbled briefly in the world of cinema. His earliest appearance was as a baby in the 1962 film It Happens in Athens.

As he grew, Mickey also appeared in several documentaries and television shows that highlighted his famous family, including The Wild Wild World of Jayne Mansfield, and guest appearances on shows like New York, New York, and The Merv Griffin Show.

A Family of Hollywood Ties

The Hargitay family’s connection to Hollywood extends across many of its members:

  • Tina Hargitay, the eldest sibling from Mickey Hargitay Sr.’s first marriage, leads a quiet life, steering clear of the limelight that envelops the rest of the family.
  • Jayne Marie Mansfield, a half-sister from Mickey’s mother’s first marriage, followed in her mother’s footsteps to become a Playboy Playmate. She made a notable mark in July 1976 by being the first daughter of a Playmate to be featured in Playboy.
  • Zoltan Hargitay, his younger brother, took a different route in Hollywood, working as a carpenter on film sets for movies such as Retroactive and T-Force.
  • Tony Cimber, another half-brother from his mother’s third marriage, ventured into acting and directing, contributing to projects like The Original Ladies of Wrestling and GLOW: Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling.
  • Mariska Hargitay, the youngest of the siblings, has achieved significant acclaim as an actress, best known for her long-standing role as Detective Olivia Benson on Law & Order: SVU.
Mickey Hargitay and siblings Mariska Hargitay, Zoltan Hargitay and Jayne Marie Mansfield attend Mariska's Star ceremony on The Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2013
Mickey Hargitay and siblings Mariska Hargitay, Zoltan Hargitay, and Jayne Marie Mansfield attend Mariska’s Star ceremony on The Hollywood Walk of Fame in Nov. 2013

Previously Married, Mickey Seems To Be Leading A Single Life

Despite the glamorous backdrop of his family’s Hollywood legacy, Hargitay Jr. has maintained a relatively private and grounded approach to his love life. He is believed to be single at present, though he was previously married to Dana Hargitay. According to IMDb, the couple married on September 28, 2002, but have since divorced.

Dana is a photographer based in Petaluma, California. She studied for a Bachelor’s in Arts at UCLA from 1992 to 1994. Born on April 1, 1971, in Santa Barbara, Dana is also a former actress known for her roles in Desperate Obsession (1995), Good vs Evil (1999), and Roads to Riches (2002).

Dana Hargitay, Mickey's ex-wife
Dana Hargitay

According to her LinkedIn profile, Dana has been working as a commercial and advertising photographer at Dana Hargitay Photography since August 2000.

Besides, Dana has a son named Hudson, born in October 2009. She often shares about her son and has wished him a happy birthday multiple times through her Instagram account, @danahargitay.

Trivia

  • Mickey’s maternal grandparents were Herbert William Palmer, who had English and German roots, and Vera Jeffrey Palmer, who was of English and Cornish descent.
  • His paternal grandparents, Ferenc and Mária (Rothsischer) Hargitay, were natives of Budapest, Hungary.
  • His father, Hargitay Sr., emigrated from Hungary to the United States to avoid being drafted into military service by the Soviet Union, in 1947.

About Author: Atticus

Atticus boasts more than seven years of expertise as a writer specializing in the entertainment sector. He possesses a profound knowledge of film, music, and television, crafting compelling stories that engage a wide-ranging audience. His writing is both accessible and enlightening, simplifying intricate subjects for readers from various walks of life.