Mickey Hargitay Dead at 80

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit star Mariska Hargitay‘s bodybuilder father Mickey Hargitay has died after a lengthy illness. He was 80.

The Hungarian strongman, who was married to Jayne Mansfield, died last Thursday.

Hargitay was in the hospital being treated for a mystery illness when his daughter gave birth to her first child in June.

The actress had to dash from a scheduled appearance on The Tonight Show earlier this summer to be by her father’s bedside, and she broke down in tears as she paid tribute to him when she won her first Emmy Award in August.

She told reporters the best thing about winning an Emmy was “that my dad was gonna be really happy.”

Born Miklos Hargitay in 1926, the bodybuilder fled his native Hungary in 1947 to escape the compulsory Soviet military draft.

Hargitay won the Mr. Universe bodybuilding title in 1955 and made his mark as a movie star in The Loves of Hercules after appearing in Mae West‘s New York revue.

Before gaining fame, he worked as a carpenter and plumber, and famously remodeled the Pink Palace–the Hollywood home he shared with Mariska‘s mother, Mansfield.

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