Though she was born into show business as the daughter of 1950s bombshell Jayne Mansfield and famed bodybuilder Mickey Hargitay, actress Mariska Hargitay paid her dues on television and in feature films before becoming famous as Detective Olivia Benson on "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (NBC, 1999- ). Prior to her success, Hargitay went through a long string of forgettable movies like "The Perfect Weapon" (1991), and failed shows like "Tequila and Bonetti" (CBS, 1992) and "Can't Hurry Love" (CBS, 1995). She eventually began taking on detective roles in procedural dramas, including on the short-lived "Prince Street" (NBC, 1997). But after going through extensive auditions with executive producer Dick Wolf, Hargitay was cast as the tough but empathetic Det. Benson, who investigates sex crimes with her equally emotionally invested partner (Christopher Meloni). Hailed by numerous critics, her performance was a constant awards-getter, while also giving rise to her philanthropic efforts outside of the show to provide support for survivors of sexual assault through her Joyful Heart Foundation. Though her career was almost exclusively focused on "SVU" during that time, Hargitay was no doubt one of the most productive actresses on the small screen.