On this day in auto history – June 29th

Tue 29th Jun 2021

It was on this day in 1967 that the entertainment world was left reeling from the shock news that world-famous Hollywood actress Jayne Mansfield had been tragically killed in a car crash at the age of 34.

The blond bombshell, star of The Girl Can’t Help It and famed for being one of the early Playboy Playmates, was killed instantly alongside her partner Sam Brody and 20-year-old driver Ronnie Harrison after the Buick Electra 225 they were travelling in was involved in a late-night collision with a tractor-trailer on a foggy Mississippi highway.

Three of Mansfield's children, all asleep on the back-seat, miraculously survived the crash with just minor injuries.

Gruesome photos emerged in the days that followed showing the former sex-symbol’s blond hair tangled in the car’s windshield, fuelling one of the longest-running celebrity legends...that Mansfield had actually been decapitated. However, her death certificate refutes that by listing “crushed skull” as the cause of death.

The enormous publicity over the accident only served to highlight the growing safety threat of tractor-trailers on America’s roads and the traffic authorities were quick to respond to mounting pressure. They eventually made it mandatory for all semi-truck trailers to be fitted with under-ride bars which quickly become known as ‘Mansfield Bars’ in a nod to Jayne’s death.

Meanwhile, one of Mansfield’s daughters, Mariska Hargitay, went on to follow in her mother’s actress footsteps, starring in numerous TV shows and films. She still sports a zig-zag scar on one side of her head from the accident which killed her mother.