Today, April 19th, is Jayne Mansfield's birthday. The little filly would've been 77 years old today. 77! It's hard to imagine her old, much like trying to imagine Marilyn old. It's just impossible. Maybe that's why both beauties were fated to pass away at such young ages and much too soon, allowing us to always remember them as being eternally youthful and beautiful.
We all know Jayne was the "poor man's Marilyn", being less talented than her constant-comparison Marilyn, but more known to portray the "sexy blonde bimbo" role. The truth is, she was the exact opposite of her public image. She was actually quite brilliant, spoke numerous languages fluently and was a classically-trained pianist and violinist...
...Yet we're just so much more interested in those damn boobs, aren't we?
Of course, her most recognized claim to fame was her role in the 1956 rock & roll movie The Girl Can't Help It. You probably think that's the whole reason behind the name of this blog, right? Or maybe I'm just obsessed with a 2nd rate pinup? Not so much. I have a stronger connection to Jayne than just the name of a Little Richard song. I was born & raised in the wee town of Pen Argyl- the very town where Jayne is buried. Her parents and Aunt Helen were natives to Pen Argyl and she spent much time there visiting her aunt. (Aunt Helen died in 2005 in her 90's and is buried next to Jayne.) It's our town's claim to fame and I suppose, in a way, mine. I might not have that amazing of a connection to her as you had hoped. But when you grow up your whole life with someone larger-than-life like Jayne integrated into it, she feels more like family to me than a dead actress I never met. And to me, that's more amazing than anything.
So happy birthday, Jayne! Thank you for piquing my interest in old movies at a young age. Thank you for starting my love, appreciation, education and obsession for vintage fashion. Thank you for inspiring me in more ways than you know.