|Famous For: Detective Olivia Benson on Law & Order: SVU||Currently Known For: Actress and Model|
Currently Known For Actress and Model
“We know the moment victims talk about what happened is the moment they start to heal.” Best known for her award-winning performance as Detective Olivia Benson on NBC’s long-running drama series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Mariska Hargitay spent her early career desperate to make a name for herself outside of her famous parents—bodybuilder and actor Mickey Hargitay and actress Jayne Mansfield. Doing exactly that and making her film debut in the 1985 horror flick Ghoulies, Hargitay eventually found her niche as a law enforcement star in the 1992 police drama Tequila and Bonetti before her hard work finally paid off in 1999.
After years of struggling to find consistent success both in film and television, Hargitay’s luck quickly changed when she stunned Law & Order producers with her final audition opposite her future on-screen partner, Christopher Meloni. With their performance leaving everyone in the room speechless, Dick Wolf, the show’s executive producer, finally broke the silence and blurted out, “There’s no doubt who we should choose.” Winning the part over six other actresses, Hargitay’s career was forever changed.
Aside from sealing her fate as one of the greatest television actresses in America, Hargitay’s role on Law & Order has also earned the 52-year-old a hefty paycheck which, in turn, has built an impressive net worth. Although no one knows exactly how much she earned during the first two seasons, she was earning between $375,000 and $385,000 per episode a decade into the show. Since season 11, that figure has bumped anywhere between $400,000 and $500,000.
Today, the Santa Monica native is sitting on a cool $45 million net worth with a cushy lifestyle to prove it! In 2011, Hargitay and her husband, actor Peter Hermann, forked over nearly $11 million on a stunning townhouse in New York City on West 48th Street just blocks away from Central Park. Spending an entire year renovating the Big Apple abode, the home measures only 18 feet across but offers plenty of living space with six bedrooms and nine, yes nine, bathrooms!
Upon entering the luxe apartment, guests are immediately greeted with stunning floor-to-ceiling windows and a large fireplace before they make their way to a gorgeous chef’s kitchen complete with top-of-the-line appliances and a massive bar. With New Yorkers desperate for breathing room and space, Hargitay’s home certainly offers plenty of both with the living room standing tall and narrow with a 25-foot ceiling and a lofted family room. The same holds true for the couple’s master bath, which stretches the entire length of the house with marble flooring, double sinks and a huge steam shower. Adjacent to the bathroom is the master suite that covers over 100 square feet and boasts not one, but two walk-in closets. Not too shabby!
Bringing in around $500,000 per Law & Order episode, Hargitay hasn’t stopped at owning just one property and, in addition to her stunning abode in the heart of New York City, she also owns a second estate in the Hamptons. Originally built in 1890 and substantially larger than her townhome at over 7,000 square feet, the three-story estate set Hargitay back $7.4 million, a modest price tag seeing as the home sits on 1.15 meticulously maintained acres.
Moving inside, the East Hampton mansion includes 11 bedrooms, six full baths and plenty of luxe amenities including a large sunroom, dining room and a charming kitchen, all of which feature gorgeous wood floors naturally distressed with age. The second floor of the mansion contains the majority of the bedrooms and offers a large balcony that overlooks the backyard. Two additional wooden decks wrap around the home on both the first and third floors, offering plenty of space for outdoor lounging. An avid entertainer, Hargitay also has plenty of room for family and friends with an outdoor kitchen and a heated in-ground swimming pool perfect for backyard parties and intimate gatherings.
Beyond her real estate investments, most of Hargitay’s personal spending is kept incredibly private, but that isn’t the case when it comes to her charity work. After spending the majority of her career working in the spotlight and telling stories of violence and abuse through Law & Order, Hargitay launched her own organization in 2004 called the Joyful Heart Foundation to provide support to survivors of child abuse, sexual assault and domestic violence.
Dedicated to helping those in need, Hargitay has raised millions of dollars and guided thousands of victims to therapeutic programs while constantly working to raise awareness. Embodying the heart of a true philanthropist, Hargitay says her motives are simple. “I wanted to help find a way to help people reclaim their lives and live them with a renewed sense of possibility and hope. And that’s what we work to do every day at Joyful Heart.” Over the last decade, she’s done exactly that and more.