Jayne Mansfield was on her way to becoming THE bombshell of the 60s, having already achieved success as an actress, singer, and even a Playboy Playmate. Sadly, her life would end tragically on a highway outside Biloxi, but it would save thousands more...
It was June 29th, 1967, and Mansfield was traveling with her lover, Sam Brody, her driver, Ronnie Harrison, and 3 of her 5 children en route to New Orleans after an appearance in Biloxi when a dense fog from an anti-mosquito spray drifted over the highway.
The people in the 1966 Buick Electra never saw the semi in front of them. The car rammed into the tractor-trailer and actually ran completely under the trailer. All 3 adults were killed instantly, but miraculously, the children all survived. You may know one of them… Mariska Hargitay aka Olivia Benson on Law & Order SVU.
The gruesome crash scene spawned one of the longest running celebrity legends… Rumors still circulate that Mansfield was decapitated, fueled by photos of blond hair tangled in the car’s windshield. All reports, however, point toward Mansfield NOT being decapitated, and her death certificate lists “crushed skull” as the cause of death. The hair was most likely a wig or pieces of hair from her scalp. (Warning: picture below is somewhat graphic.)
Jayne Mansfield (and Sam Brody & Ronnie Harrison) did not die in vain. Their death led to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration requiring all semi truck trailers to be equipped with a DOT Bar. You know it better by it’s other name: the Mansfield Bar.
Mansfield’s mark on highway safety is undeniable, but her mark on entertainment can’t be discounted either.
See more about her life and where she's immortalized in Hollywood in the full article on Roadtrippers: This Hollywood starlet's gruesome death changed the highway forever.
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"Mansfield Bar" photo credit: Flickr