Mariska Hargitay is an American actress, filmmaker, and philanthropist popularly known for her role as detective Olivia Benson in Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.
She is the highest-paid actor on the crime hit Television show Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, earning $500,000 per episode.
She is a Golden Globe and Emmy Award winner and among the highest-paid women in television.
Born into a family known for entertainment, it is not surprising she chose a career in acting.
This article closely examines Mariska Hargitay’s net worth, how she made her fortune, and the role of her acting career in her success.
What is Mariska Hargitay's net worth?
Mariska Hargitay is estimated to be worth $100 million.
Who is Mariska Hargitay?
Mariska was born on January 23, 1964, to a family of Hollywood stars. Her parents are Mickey Hargitay, a bodybuilder and Mr. Universe (1955), and Jayne Mansfield, an American actress, and entertainer.
Mariska is the youngest of three children; her elder brothers are Zoltan and Mickey Jr. Her mother, Jayne Mansfield, died in a car crash in 1967. Mariska's two elder brothers also sustained some minor injuries.
Her father remarried and, with his new wife, raised Mariska and her brothers. He faced financial challenges after Jayne Mansfield's debt-ridden estate left them with no real money.
Mariska is married to Peter Hermann, a fellow Hollywood star better known for his role in Younger Star. They met on set during the filming of Law & Order: SVU. They married in August 2004 and are parents to three children.
She attended MaryMount High School, where she won Miss Beverly Hills. Mariska entered many beauty pageants, following in her mother's footsteps. She attended UCLA School of Theatre, Film and Television, and Groundlings Theatre and School in L.A.
What is Mariska Hargitay's net worth?
Mariska Hargitay's net worth is estimated to be $100 million.
How did Mariska Hargitay become successful?
A huge percentage of her fortune was made from her salary as a star on Law and Order: SVU.
Her salary per episode between seasons 1-10 averaged $375,000 to $385,000. In 2014, her salary per episode was $450,000, per Forbes, a raise she negotiated after her contract expired in 2009.
In 2018, Forbes reported that she earned $13 million for her role in Law & Order: SVU season 19. Her average salary per episode, based on Forbes' report, was $540,000 for the 24-episode season. She was ranked the 11th highest-paid female actor for that year.
What roles has Mariska Hargitay played?
Her career began with minor roles in music videos and TV episodes. She made her debut in a horror-comedy movie, Ghoulies (1985). A year later, she was featured in Welcome to 18 (1986) and Jocks (1986).
Her first role in a TV show was as a lead role in Downtown (1986-1987), a short series lasting a single season about an LAPD officer supervising four crime-solving parolees.
Her following roles in television were guest roles in the series Freddy's Nightmares and In the Heat of the Night. She starred in the American crime comedy-drama Tequila and Bonetti (1992), which only lasted one season.
She starred in an American sitcom Television series, Can't Hurry Love, where she played the role of a sexy divorcee Didi Edelstein giving dating advice to Annie (Nancy McKeon) and others. Again, this 19-episode show lasted for 1 season. She played a recurring role on ER as Dr. Greene's (Anthony Edwards) girlfriend, Cynthia Hooper, in the 1997-98 season. She starred in the NBC drama Prince Street and made guest appearances in Seinfeld, Ellen, Thirtysomething, and David Lynch's Hotel Room.
Her big break came when she starred as detective Olivia Benson on the NBC drama Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.
Mariska is the longest-running cast on the spinoff and has appeared in at least 540 episodes of the 24 seasons. Odafin Tutuola is the second longest-running cast, starring in more than 500 episodes.
She set a record for the longest tenure of a character portrayed by the same actor in a TV series. She also played the same character in crossovers to other shows in the Law and Order universe.
What awards has Mariska Hargitay won?
- In 2006, Mariska Hargitay won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her stellar performance in NBC's crime drama series Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. Her first nomination for the Award was in 2004 when she was nominated for her role in Law and Order every year until 2011.
- She also bagged the 2005 Golden Globe Award and a Golden Globe nomination in 2009. She has 6 SAG Award nominations.
- She won four Gracie Allen Awards for American Women in Radio and Television in 2004, 2009, 2014, and 2017 for Outstanding Female Actor in a Leading Role in A Drama and Outstanding Female Lead - Drama Series.
- She won the People's Choice Award for the Drama TV Star of the Year in 2018 and 2022 for her performance in Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. In 2021, the 59-year-old won the Glamour Woman of the Year Award, recognizing her off-screen support for victims of sexual trauma. In 2019, her I Am Evidence documentary was nominated for and won a News & Documentary Emmy Award for Outstanding Investigative and Best Documentary, respectively.
What business ventures has Mariska Hargitay been involved in?
Mariska Hargitay is the Founder and President of Joyful Heart Foundation. Founded in 2004, the non-profit organization's mission is to transform society's response to sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse, support survivors' healing, and end this violence forever. The foundation's creation was inspired by Mariska's character in Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.
Her research role on the TV show revealed some tragic statistics about victims of sexual assault, and she hoped to help victim reclaim their joy.
What is the source of Mariska Hargitay's wealth?
According to Forbes, her source of wealth is salary earned from her role in TV shows, primarily in the 24 seasons of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.
She has also invested in real estate, and all her properties are in New York. In 2007, she purchased a 7000 sq. ft. Manhattan penthouse for $7.1 million.
She sold the property one year later for $8.15 million. In 2012, she and her partner bought a 6925 square feet townhouse on the Upper West Side for $10.7 million and lived there with her family for seven years.
Mariska later sold that townhouse for $9.75 million. She and her family currently reside in a $7.34 million Hamptons home with a pool and 11 bedrooms. They bought the Hamptons home in 2010.
How has Mariska Hargitay's career contributed to her net worth?
Her salary, estimated to be $11 million per season, is the major way she made her fortune. According to Parade.com, she earns around $2 million to $4 million yearly from royalties for the TV series.
What other factors have contributed to Mariska Hargitay's net worth? Her investment portfolio comprises real estate and investment in The Skimm, a startup email weekly.
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