After 14 years playing Olivia Benson on "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit", Mariska Hargitay has finally been awarded her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Her star, the 2,511th, was strategically placed right next to her mother's, actress Jayne Mansfield. Mansfield was a beloved actress whose life ended too soon. On June 29, 1967, Mansfield was on her way home from a nightclub event with her friends, Ronnie Harrison and Sam Brody, and her three children, Mickey Jr., Zoltan, and Mariska. As they rounded a curve, her car slammed into a semi-truck killing those in the front seat instantly. Mariska and her siblings survived with minor injuries, but lost their mother forever.
Despite her tragic loss at such a young age, it didn't stop Mariska from following in her mother's footsteps and becoming an actress. Her role on "SVU" has forever changed her life, and has helped thousands of woman across the United States. Because of her time spent on "SVU", she found her true calling in life... to help those who have been subject to sexual abuse, domestic violence, and child abuse. She started the Joyful Heart Foundation in 2004 and has since devoted her time and energy to help those who may not be strong enough to help themselves.
— Mariska Hargitay (@Mariska) November 9, 2013
"It all started when I began my work on ‘Law & Order: Speical Victims Unit’ over a decade ago," she says on the foundations website. "In my research for my role, I encountered statistics that shocked me: One in three women report being physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend at some point in their lives. Every two minutes in the United States, someone is sexually assaulted. More than five children die every day in this country as a result of child abuse and neglect, and up to 15 million children witness domestic violence in their homes each year."
Dick Wolf, the creator of the iconic series, was there to congratulate Hargitay as she received her star. "I love you, you've done an incredible job. You are one of the icons of television, and certainly, I think the female icon for millions of women not only here, but all around the world," Wolf told Hargitay.
Also there for support was Hargitay's long-time friend, Hillary Swank. Swank took a trip down memory lane, describing the first time she met Hargitay on the set of "E.R".
"Mariska is rare that in her success she finds a way to inspire and empower other people," said Swank. "There is one wish I have when it comes to Mariska, it would have been wonderful to meet her mom, who from the pictures we see, had the same bright light. But it is so beautiful that today their two stars are shining together here on Hollywood Boulevard for the rest of time."
Hargitay was obviously emotional as she received one of the highest honors possible. "The thing about our stars is they exist in constellations, they have more meaning together than they do alone, and the one that is most obvious to me is the constellation that I make with my mother," she said. "This very precious and very private and very public constellation of two is now a beautiful symbol of us together in this very special place."
Image via Twitter