According to Celebrity Net Worth, Mariska Hargitay has an overall $70 million net worth. She’s mostly famous for the show “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” where she has been starring as detective Olivia Benson since 1999. She is currently earning a per episode salary of $450,000. During a 20-episode TV season, that’s an annual salary of $9 million per year. And, according to Country Living, Hargitay happens to be one of TV’s highest-paid actresses of all time after being the face of “Law & Order:SVU” for twenty years.
About Mariska Hargitay
Born on January 23, 1964 in Los Angeles, California, she’s the daughter of Jane Mansfield (50s American sex symbol) and a Hungarian father (former Mr. Universe), Mickey Hargitay. The two well-known celebs were divorced when Mariska was just a baby. Then, when she was only three and a half, a car accident took her mother’s life while she was sleeping in the backseat. The crash left her with a small scar on her face.
Married in 2004
In 2004, Mariska was married to a fellow actor, Peter Hermann, whom she met when he was on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”. In 2006, they had a son and then, in 2001, they also adopted two other children. This fact parallels the fact that Olivia Benson adopts a son named Noah on the show.
Miss Beverly Hills
Hargitay started acting when she was a high school student and, in the early 80s, she won the Miss Beverly Hills USA pageant. She dropped out of college early to join an L.A. improv group called the Groundlings and started making appearances in some small TV roles. Then, she started getting guest star roles on TV series like “ER”. “Falcon Crest”, “Seinfeld”, and “Tequila & Bonetti” in the late 80s.
A TV Star is Born
When did she become a bonafide star? Well, that was in 1999 when she was cast as Olivia Benson on the Dick Wolf TV cop show “Law and Order: SVU”. Since then, Hargitay has been in every single season of SVU, only taking a short break during Season 6 for giving birth to her son. She made her # 400 appearance in the eighteenth season’s third episode of “Law & Order: SVU”. At that point in her career, she even surpassed Cragen as the one character who had the most appearances in the entire “Law and Order” franchise.
Awards & Nominations & Directing
Mariska Hargitay has received nominations for two Golden Globe Awards, a whopping eight Emmy Awards, and six SAG Awards. In addition, she won both an Emmy and a Golden Globe Award plus a host of other honors. Not only is she a talented actor but she’s also a director, directing numerous “Law & Order: SVU” episodes. She has also been on other series since 2014. In her character of Olivia Benson, she appeared in episodes of several other Dick Wolf TV series. Those shows include “Chicago P.D “, “Chicago Fire”, and “Law & Order: Trial by Jury”.
Mariska Hargitay Philanthropist
Hargitay founded the Joyful Heart Foundation. It’s an organization that gives support to sexually abused women and other domestic violence victims. To date, that foundation has been providing a variety of support structures for ten thousand or more women and children.
About Olivia Benson
Captain Olivia Margaret Benson holds a pay-grade and rank and of Captain as the NYPD’s Manhattan SVU Commanding Officer, operating in the 16th precinct. At the beginning of the series, Olivia was ranked “Detective”. Her partner at that time was played by Christopher Meloni as Detective Elliot Stabler. After he departed the department and the show after the 12th season finale, her new partner was Detective Nick Amaro who was played by Danny Pino. You probably know him now as one of the stars of “Mayans M.C., which is a “Sons of Anarchy” spin-off). Nick was her partner from Season 13 to Season 15
Captain At Last!
In the 15th season of SVU, Benson gets a promotion to Sergeant and an appointment as “acting commanding officer” when both Captain Cragen, played by Dann Florek, and Sergeant John Munch, played by Richard Belzer, become retired. Then, in the 17th season, Olivia gets another big promotion, this time to Lieutenant, officially becoming the commanding officer of the squad. In the 21st season premiere. she gets another promotion, finally to Captain. As a detective, Olivia’s badge number was 4015. As sergeant, it was 01139 and, when she was promoted to Lieutenant, she didn’t have a badge number anymore.
Longest of All-Time!
The Olivia Benson character ‘s first appearance on the show was in the pilot episode entitled “Payback”. It aired September 20, 1999. Since then, Mariska Hargitay happens to remain as the one-and-only original cast member who is still on the series. She’s received credit for 470 episodes of SVU, and with the airing of the Season 21 premiere, she’ll become the longest-running prime-time live-action character ever! This means that she even surpasses the previous record held by Marshall Dillon on “Gunsmoke”, as well as the Frasier character played by Kelsey Grammer on both “Cheers” and “Frasier” combined.
Olivia’s TV Family
According to Fandom Olivia’s birth in 1968 was a result of the rape of her mother by Joseph Hollister who was a food salesman. She met him when she worked in the Columbia University cafeteria where he delivered food. Unfortunately, Serena was an alcoholic and she abused Olivia, both emotionally and physically. Mom died in 2000 after sustaining a serious fall when she was on a bender. In spite of the ongoing abuse, Olivia was still deeply saddened by her mother’s death. In addition, Olivia’s father committed suicide, so now both of her parents are deceased.
Olivia has one half-brother whose name is Simon Marsden. She had no knowledge of Simon until they they had both become adults. Olivie ran both of their DNA (illegally) through the NYPD’s kinship analysis program. Later, Simon was accused of rapes as well as a string of break-ins, but was later cleared on all counts.
In 2014, at the end of Season 15, Olivia was appointed Noah Porter’s custodial guardian. He was just a baby and was orphaned when his mother was brutally murdered by his criminal father. Her appointment as Noah’s guardian is set by the court for a one-year trial. Olivia then had the option of applying for legal adoption. After a rocky first year where Noah had health problems and Olivia was struggling to juggle the roles of Mom with the demands of her job with the NYPD, she formally adopted the baby at the close of Season 16.
Don’t Miss Another Episode!
“Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” airs Thursday nights at 9 pm EST on NBC. Tune in and catch up on Olivia’s trials and tribulations as she and her team try to protect the many victims of New York City. You won’t want to miss another episode!