How is The Net Worth of Mariska Hargitay a Whopping $100m?

What is Mariska Hargitay’s net worth?

Net Worth$100 Million
Source of WealthActress / Director
Date of BirthJanuary 23, 1964
Height5’7 / 171 cm
Place of BirthSanta Monica, California
Star SignAquarius
PartnerPeter Hermann (m. 2004)

The Usual Intro

Mariska Hargitay is an American actress, director, and executive producer. She rose to stardom for her role as Olivia Benson in the drama series “Law and Order: Special Victim Unit.” Hargitay starred in the show since it premiered in 1999, which aired for almost 20 years.

Due to her outstanding performance in the drama series, Mariska received numerous awards, including an Emmy and Golden Globe. While she is a detective at work, she is also a rape counselor in the real world. In 2004, she opened her non-profit organization, “Joyful Heart Foundation,” to support victims of sexual abuse.

Before the Spotlight

Mariska Magdolna Hargitay was born in Santa Monica, California, on January 23, 1964. Her mother, Jayne Mansfield, was an actress, while her father, Mickey Hargitay, was the Hungarian Mr. Universe. She has 2 older siblings and 3 half-siblings. 

Soon after Mariska was born, her parents split up. Tragically, she was involved in a car accident with her mother on June 29, 1967. Her mum and then-boyfriend, Sam Brody, died on the spot. Hargitay was only three and a half years old and got a permanent zig-zag facial scar. Both of her brothers also survived with a few minor injuries. A few days later, she moved in with his dad and stepmother, Ellen Siano, an air hostess. 

In the early 1980’s she started acting in High School. She was also crowned Miss Beverly Hills USA. In 1982, she graduated from Marymount High School. Later, she attended the School of Theater Film and Television at UCLA. However, she dropped out of college and joined the Groundlings Improv Group in Los Angeles.

By the late 1980s, she began appearing in minor roles and made guest appearances on several television shows and series like “Falcon Crest” and “Seinfeld.” 

The Journey to Success

In 1999, Hargitay got her first big break when she auditioned for a leading female role in the television drama, “Law & Order: Special Victim Unit.” Hargitay received a tough time from competitors who were also auditioning for the leading role of Olivia Benson, like Samantha Mathis and Reiko Aylesworth. 

However, the producer was bound to pick her due to the amazing chemistry between Hargitay and Christopher Meloni, the leading male role. She had to undergo several training pieces for the part to become the Rape Crises Advocate. 

Hargitay has played the role of Olivia Benson since 1999 and is the longest-serving cast member. Her exceptional performance garnered her a Golden Globe Award and a Primetime Emmy Award. 

Hargitay made approximately $380,000 per episode during the show’s tenth season. In 2009, her contract expired with the show. However, she negotiated her contract and got it renewed in 2012. 

Around this time, she was making $450,000 per episode. Along with acting in the drama series, she has also directed several episodes of the show, including “Criminal Stories” (Season 15, Episode 18), “Padre Sandunguero” (Season 16, Episode 12), and “Sheltered Outcasts” (Season 17, Episode 19) to name a few.

Hargitay has also ventured into many businesses. In 2004, she opened her organization, “Joyful Heart Foundation” with the primary objective of supporting survivors of sexual abuse, domestic violence, and child abuse. Hargitay’s character, Olivia Benson, was involved and connected to domestic violence and rape cases throughout the show. 

This helped women connect with the character — they would send her letters sharing their own experiences and similar issues that they faced. Due to this, Hargitay became a rape counselor. By November 2011, the organization had sent over 5000 survivors on therapeutic programs and raised almost $20 million. 

To preach awareness primarily for women, Hargitay appeared in the 17th season of NBC’s “The More You Know” Public Service Announcement in 2006 and later in 2009. Besides, she is also an honorary board member of “Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.” In 2012, she also campaigned to reauthor the “Violence Against Women Act.”

The Best Moments

  • Hargitay was awarded the 2,511 position on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
  • From 2016 to 2018, she was nominated for 4 and won 2 awards for “Law and Order: SVU.”
  • Won “Video of the Year” by MTV with Taylor Swift for appearing in the music video of “Bad Blood.”
  • Created an organization, “Joyful Heart Foundation,” to help victims of domestic violence, rape, and child abuse cases while raising over $20 million.

The Private Side

On August 28, 2004, Mariska married Peter Hermann, an actor on the show “Law and Order: SVU” in Saint Barbara. She took maternity leave during the show’s sixth season and was blessed with a son on June 28, 2006, through an emergency C-Section. The couple also adopted a baby girl and later a baby boy in 2011.

In 2008, Hargitay collapsed on the “Law and Order” set while performing stunts that injured her chest. She underwent surgery and returned to the stage a few months later. 

Mariska Hargitay‘s Related YouTube Video

Mariska Hargitay Answers Fan Questions About SVU, Being Benson & More!

Famous Quotes of Mariska Hargitay

  • “It’s a life’s journey of finding ourselves, finding our power, and living for yourself, not for everyone else.”
  • “Life begins at 40, and I’m living proof.”
  • “Surviving and thriving in the wake of my mother’s loss, I learned to believe in God. He has a plan, if you pay attention to the signs. I am inspired by the absolute proof of miracles.”
  • “You’ve got to kick fear to the side, because the payoff is huge.”

The Social World

Lessons for Entrepreneurs

  1. Success Doesn’t Need an Age. At the beginning of her acting career, Mariska only landed minor acting roles and couldn’t earn enough. However, at age 35, Hargitay got her first big break when she landed the role of SVU. The show aired for approximately 20 years and is the primary reason for her success. 
  1. Do good for society. Hargitay is making use of her net worth to do good for the surrounding society. She founded “Joyful Heart Foundation” which deals with domestic violence, child abuse, and rape cases. She has raised over $20 million and sent thousands of victims to therapeutic programs.
  1. Bad Beginnings Don’t Define You. When Hargitay was three years old, her mother died in an automobile accident. She went into severe depression and reported this incident as “a hole in my life that won’t ever be filled.” Regardless of all the pain and hardship, she fought it with exceptional resilience, which paid off in the form of emerging as a remarkable actor.

The Unusual Stuff

  • She can speak 5 languages, including English, Italian, Spanish, French, and Hungarian.
  • She is the Godmother of one of Christopher Meloni’s children (leading male role in Law and Order).
  • She was once in a six-figure debt.
  • She donated $100,000 to the UCLA School of Theater Film and Television for a scholarship. 

Answering Frequent Questions

Does Mariska Hargitay have biological children?

Mariska Hargitay has a biological baby boy, August Miklos Friedrich, born on June 28, 2006.

How much does Mariska Hargitay earn per episode from SVU?

Mariska Hargitay pocketed a cool $500,000 per episode. Not too shabby, considering each season has 22 episodes. 

Was Mariska Hargitay pregnant during the shooting of SVU?

Mariska Hargitay was pregnant during the shooting of the sixth season of SVU when she took maternity leave.

What is Mariska Hargitay’s ethnicity?

Mariska Hargitay is Hungarian as her father was a Hungarian-born former Mr. Universe.

The Closing Remarks

Mariska Hargitay earns approximately $13 to $15 million annually, which is more than 250 times the annual income of an average American. Her impeccable acting has garnered her a huge fan following, in addition to winning her an Emmy and Golden Globe Award. She has recently changed the direction of the business to charitable work by introducing a non-profit organization that helps people who are a victim of sexual abuse.

Featured image credit: lev radin /

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Asad Elahi

Asad Elahi is a personal finance expert and author with over 5 years of experience in the industry. He has written extensively on topics such as saving, investing, and building wealth, focusing on helping individuals achieve financial independence. His work has been featured in major publications such as Forbes and The Wall Street Journal, and he is a regular contributor to financial websites and blogs.