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I thought this was a cute article about Amaya’s birthday party.

Mariska Hargitay donned a pink dress to throw a costume party for her daughter Amaya’s third birthday.

Mariska “dressed up as a princess, her husband Peter Hermann wore a dragon costume, while Amaya was Belle from ‘Beauty and the Beast’ ” for the party at UWS eatery Sugar and Plumm on Saturday.

When “Let it Go” from the Disney film “Frozen” played, the group erupted into a singalong.

Before heading home, the family grabbed handfuls of balloons, creating their own parade, and walking up Amsterdam Avenue in costume.


Spirits were high at the Nov. 12 Skylark afterparty for the Weinstein Company’s “Philomena” despite the film’s recent MPAA ratings controversy. While title-actress Judi Dench was not in attendance, Steve Coogan, who both co-wrote the script with Jeff Pope and stars as BBC journalist Martin Sixsmith, said he loved filming with Dench.

Coogan said he decided to adapt the script from Sixsmith’s book “The Lost Son of Philomena Lee” because he felt the story was incredibly relatable. “There were really universal themes in this story that I thought people could really identify with,” Coogan told Variety. “I wanted to start a discussion about the idea of intellect that Martin [Sixsmith] embodies versus the folk wisdom of Philomena.”

“Law and Order: SVU” star Mariska Hargitay, whose husband Peter Hermann also stars in the film, echoed Coogan’s words. “There was not a mother in that theater who couldn’t relate to the horror and pain of having a child ripped away,” Hargitay exclaimed. “And Judi Dench is just a sublime goddess.”

Hermann said one of his favorite parts of working on the film was simply watching Dench work. “When [director] Steven Frears would hand her a note, just watching her chew it over in her head, watching the gears turn,” was extraordinary, he said.

“I came home every night scared he was going to leave me for Judi Dench!” Hargitay joked.

The actual Philomena Lee, who attended both the premiere and the party, said she was incredibly pleased with the outcome of Hollywood’s interpretation of her story, and that the journey of seeing it translate from book to screen was “amazing.” Both Lee and daughter Jane said the movie was “quite accurate,” down to certain lines and gestures.

“I used to live a quiet life,” Lee said. “I kept this a secret for 50 years.” When she was first approached about making her story into a movie, Lee said at first she was not interested. “I said no thank you,” Lee said,”but then I thought maybe it would help other people. There are a lot of women in Ireland going through the same pain.”

Sixsmith himself was also in attendance, and said the whole experience of watching his book come to life had been extraordinary. “I wrote the book in 2009 and now four years later it’s on screen,” Sixsmith exclaimed, calling the whole experience overwhelmingly positive.

Other attendees at the Cinema Society party included Harvey Weinstein, producer Gabrielle Tana, “Philomena” star Sophie Kennedy Clark, Emily Mortimer, David Byrne and Carla Gugino.


When Mariska Hargitay tweeted back in May, “Happy weekend. It’s official. Season 15 – I’LL BE BACK!” she gave her loyal “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” fans a treat, breaking the news that she’d re-upped before anyone else.

“She has a lot of power on the show,” says showrunner Warren Leight, who joined the series in 2011, roughly 12 years after original cast member Hargitay fi rst signed on. “Luckily, she uses her power for good and not evil.”

He has a point: Coming from nearly any other actress of Hargitay’s stature, the tweet might have smacked of power play, a way to assert who’s really in charge over there.

If she’d wanted, she could get away with it.

Hargitay is the only lead to have won an Emmy for any show in the once-mighty “Law & Order” franchise; she’s the anchor of TV’s longest-running drama, an ensemble series that chugs away despite tough slot competition from shows like “Modern Family” and “American Idol” (it averaged 2.1 ratings with adults 18-49 last season); and she’s one of TV’s top earners (Forbes puts her yearly earnings at $10 million). And, as almost anyone from the network on down will say, she and her tough but empathetic character Det. Olivia Benson are the heart of the show.

But that wasn’t what was behind the tweet. Hargitay just wanted to keep her fans — who last saw Benson in the season 14 finale in dire straits — from stressing out. It’s a typical stance from the actress, who says her job has transformed into “my life’s work.”

“The first time I read the show’s script, I thought, ‘I love this woman, I understand the trauma she survived,’ ” says Hargitay (Benson is the product of her mother’s rape). “And it’s evolved beyond a television show; I feel it truly is an agent of change.”

Over the years, Hargitay may not have become Benson, but she’s channeled the dark energy the show can put out into advocacy and charity work. In addition to launching her Joyful Heart Foundation in 2004 to help victims of sexual abuse and trauma (they’ve raised nearly $15 million to date, she reports), she’s brought in teams of experts through the foundation to go on retreats with the show’s writers, and regularly fields unusual letters from viewers, many of whom are opening up about their own abuse for the first time when they write her.

“I sometimes get confused myself; I spend so much time as an actor and advocate, and they are interwoven,” she says. “These girls are looking for someone to look up to. Olivia is empowered, and they aspire to be like that. They say, ‘I wish Olivia was my mother. Then she could have protected me.’”

Tough, emotional stuff — yet that bond is an unintended boon for the network. In the years since “SVU” premiered, the audience for broadcast has shifted and become much more female-friendly. For NBC, having a series that portrays not just a powerful female lead who helps victims, but one whose real-life portrayer does the same, has helped brand the show in ways that couldn’t have been planned.

Another plus: Benson and Hargitay’s appeal spans generations. “SVU” is a particularly sticky show thanks to its Twitter presence, and Leight says that it’s not just the expected over-35 audience that likes watching an over-40 actress (Hargitay is 49), it’s also the Twitter generation. “Kids watch it with their moms,” he says. “There’s a college audience. And every week we have an extremely vibrant social media response to the show that doesn’t always reflect ratings.”

Says Vernon Sanders, current programming exec VP at NBC, “It’s hard to say how much of our audience is coming exclusively for Mariska, but women are our primary audience. Mariska is one of those performers who transcends. The fact that she’s got appeal to not just one demographic … is a unique thing on the television landscape.”

Naturally, there’s a hitch: Even Hargitay, who has invested so many years and a good chunk of her personal time into the show and its social issues says it may be time for a break.

“I shoot 14½ hours each day, and I have two babies at home, and there are a lot of things I haven’t done acting-wise,” she says. While she’ll be directing episodes for the first time this year and says she’s still challenged by the material, it appears she’s considering ending her run with the series.

“It is a place of darkness that I’ve been immersed in, and there are times it does get to me,” she says. “I need more light and joy. A lot of that I can exorcise by working with Joyful Heart and being an agent of change. It’s a great role, and it has been great to me, but it’s like running a marathon. I’ve been doing it a long time.”

So what happens when, inevitably, the heart of the show opts out? “I’m glad we haven’t had to face that,” says Sanders, who says NBC would have to talk with creator Dick Wolf and Leight about whether the series should even continue if Hargitay leaves. “We’d have to give it a lot of thought, and it would be a collaborative decision.”

Leight says if, and when, she does go he’s sure they’ll find a way to ease her away, rather than abruptly see her disappear. “We’d have a way to arc her out; she might not leave all at once. There would be a chance for closure, and then you hope you can reinvent the show.”

“SVU” started shooting its first episodes of season 15 in July, and Hargitay — as promised in her tweet — was back and cracking up the crew and her fellow actors (“She has a wild sense of humor, people don’t always know that,” says Sanders). But she still speaks — to continue her metaphor — like a runner who has glimpsed the light at the end of a very long tunnel.

“Sometimes when you see the finish line you can run faster and you have more energy,” she says. “So that’s how I’m sort of approaching it. I’m going to give it my all and sprint as hard as I can.”



Star Coincides With “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” 15th Anniversary

WHO: Mariska Hargitay
Emcee: Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, President/CEO Leron Gubler
Guest speakers: Actress Hillary Swank and “Law & Order: SVU” Creator and Executive Producer Dick Wolf

WHAT: 2,511th Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
in the Category of Television

WHERE: 6328 Hollywood Boulevard
next to the star of her mother, Jayne Mansfield

WHEN: Friday, November 8, 2013 at 11:30 a.m. PDT

Event will be live-streamed exclusively on www.walkoffame.com

The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce proudly announces that Mariska Hargitay will be honored with star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Friday, November 8 at 11:30 a.m. PDT at 6328 Hollywood Blvd. “We are thrilled to let the fans know that we are placing L.A.-born Mariska Hargitay’s star next to the star of her mother, the legendary actress Jayne Mansfield on this very special day,” stated Ana Martinez, Walk of Fame producer. “Fans have been waiting for this ceremony for a while now and will be here in droves, I am sure,” she added.

Emcee Leron Gubler, President & CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and guest speakers Hillary Swank and Dick Wolf will help Hargitay unveil the 2,511th star in the category of Television. The star ceremony will be streamed live exclusively on www.walkoffame.com


Over the course of six years Howard Schatz invited actors to his studio for a photo shoot and interview, including Mariska. Remember the shoot that appeared in Vanity Fair a few years ago? It’s probably that same photo shoot.

An extraordinary new exhibition devoted to Actors Acting – 85 leading actors explore an enormous range of scenarios in one-on-one improvisation, capturing the dynamic energy of actors in full creative flight. In addition, the exhibit presents powerful and compelling portraits of each actor with an extensive interview, focusing on the creative process. Created and photographed by internationally acclaimed photographer Howard Schatz, documentarian Beverly J. Ornstein and Owen Edwards – this is a compelling presentation for audiences drawn to art and the world of stage and screen.

The exhibition explores the magical transformation that happens when an actor takes hold of words on a page and becomes another person. Schatz demonstrates his mastery as a director, leading 85 actors to explore an enormous range of parts setting scenarios for the actors in one-on-one improvisations.

Included are Pierce Brosnan, Jeff Daniels, Sissy Spacek, Michael C. Hall, Bobby Canavale, Mariska Hargitay, Hugh Laurie, John Malkovich, Jane Krakowski, Michael Douglas, Colin Firth, Jane Lynch, Laurence Fishburne, Geoffrey Rush, Amy Poehler, Brendan Fraser, John Goodman, Melissa Leo, Sir Ben Kingsley, Greg Kinnear, Robin Wright, Tracy Morgan, Peter Dinklage, Elisabeth Moss, Ricky Gervais, Michael Imperioli, Joan Allen, Jeff Goldblum, Nathan Lane, Brooke Shields, Sam Waterston, among other artists — rising to the photographer’s challenge with dynamic energy and creativity

The inventiveness of the exhibition results in a surprising, delightful, and richly entertaining revelation of the fantasy of transformation. Caught in the Act introduces us to the compelling world of actors and the creative process— in addition to the improvisations, are powerful, creative and enchanting portraits of selected actors. Included are in-depth multi-media interviews with the actors explore their craft and how they endeavor to bring forth an imaginary world from print on paper.


The book will be available in bookstores everywhere October 20th if you want a copy for yourself!

Mariska Hargitay was floored when fans of “Law & Order: SVU” began sending her mail that wasn’t just praising her performance on the show, but disclosing their own stories of abuse.

“The theme in all the mail was isolation, shame and fear,” she told ABC News.

“SVU” stands for Special Victims Unit, a department of law enforcement that deals with sexually based offenses considered especially heinous. Immersing herself in these types of crimes to adequately portray Detective Olivia Benson, Hargitay said she came across staggering statistics.

“Every two minutes a woman in the United States is sexually assaulted,” she said. “I was just like ‘What!?’”

Her answer was Joyful Heart in 2004 and now the No More campaign, an effort to put domestic assault and sexual assault under one blue circular symbol just like the pink ribbon for breast cancer or the red ribbon for HIV. The campaign also promotes action and raising awareness about abuse.

Hargitay, 49, covers some pretty dark content on the show, and aside from her work with Joyful Heart, she said her “incredibly supportive” husband Peter Hermann and three children — August, 7; Amaya, 2; and Andrew, 2 — are the “brightest light” in her world, even after the darkest scenes she’s filmed.

Even a season 15 premier in which her character was held hostage by a rapist.

“They have so much joy and I see their face and they can transport me out of anything.” she said. “I just race home from work and it’s transformative.”

Her son August, only in second grade, is still trying to figure out mommy’s fame and her impact on people — on and off screen.

“We walk down the street and people are like, ‘Olivia, I love you!’” she said. “He’s like, ‘Mommy, why does everyone love you?’”

She said the work she and Hermann are doing to raise awareness and spread kindness is something August is absolutely picking up on and sharing with his younger siblings.

“[Amaya and Andrew] love their big brother,” she said. “They do a lot of repeating of what he says. They are just trying to impress him and get his attention. He is the king. They are like little parrots.”

No matter what comes up in the show, however gruesome, Hargitay said her home is the space that always brings her peace.

“Our house is like the most beautiful, chaotic mess of love and joy, fun and craziness,” she added. “It’s the fun house.”


Call it Law & Order toddler edition.

During a recent trip to the park, Mariska Hargitay says her 2-year-old daughter Amaya Josephine served up some playground justice.

“My daughter is the boss of me,” Hargitay, 49, told PEOPLE at the Law & Order SVU premiere party on Thursday. “She is so strong, her independence inspires me.”

The tot’s qualities were recently put to the test when a playmate began bullying her brother, Andrew Nicolas, 2.
Keep up with your favorite celebs in the pages of PEOPLE Magazine by subscribing now.

“Amaya went up to her and said ‘Stop it.’ She’s 2-years-old and she goes, ‘Stop it. No!’” says Hargitay, who adopted Amaya and Andrew in 2011.

According to the proud mama, Amaya’s good deed didn’t stop there. “Then, the little girl pushed her and she didn’t push her back! It was so simple, but so beautiful to me,” says the actress. “My kids are my teachers.”

In a chilling premiere episode, Hargitay returns as detective Olivia Benson on the 15th season of Law & Order: SVU, airing Sept. 25 on NBC. Her character is abducted and abused in gruesome scenes that Hargitay says took real life courage to shoot.

“It was brutal,” she recalls of filming the heavy material. “Definitely the hardest, most challenging work I’ve ever done. It called on me to be brave.”

Lucky for her, bravery runs in the family.


I’ve held off writing about an indie film called “Jayne Mansfield’s Car” which opened this weekend and didn’t do very well. I thought using Mansfield’s name in the title was exploitative and insensitive. The movie is written and directed by Billy Bob Thornton. If you’re too young to know, Jayne Mansfield was the beautiful mother of “Law & Order SVU” star Mariska Hargitay. Mansfield died in a car crash in 1967. She was 34 and left five children.

The new movie has nothing to do with Mansfield, but it has a title which seems excessively in poor taste. Jayne Mansfield was a human being and she has a family. Her name may be in the public domain, but the movie is using it and her accident to exploit itself.

Hargitay hasn’t done anything about it but she’s not happy. “I mean, come on, it’s horrible,” she told me the other night at the season premiere screening for “Law & Order: SVU.” She told me: “I don’t want to make a whole thing out of it. But they didn’t even ask me if it was alright.” Hargitay is too classy to make a scene. But it was a bad idea. And the result is bad karma for a film that will be on Netflix and DVD very quickly.


Mariska Hargitay Cover Party

When: Fri, July 19,7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Where: Sienna Restaurant and Ultra Lounge, 44 Three Mile Harbor Road, East Hampton, NY (map)
Admission: Invite Only
Description: Hamptons magazine Publisher, Debra Halpert and Editor in Chief, Samantha Yanks will honor cover star Mariska Hargitay at the magazine’s celebration of its special issue featuring “Philanthropy and Events”, Friday July 19th. The Emmy and Golden Globe-winning star of the highly acclaimed, TV series, “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” graces the cover of this special annual issue and talks about her work for the Joyful Heart Foundation, an organization Hargitay founded to provide support to survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse. Hamptons magazine’s “Philanthropy and Events” issue will debut on July 26th and features the top Summer events as well as highlights Hamptons-centric fashion and jewelry designers each who have designed collections for local charities. The exclusive celebration, sponsored by Freeze 24-7 and Ferrari-Maserati of Long Island, which will preview its new collection, will feature incredible cocktails by Russian Standard Vodka.


Hopefully we’ll get pictures from the event tonight and pictures from the magazine when they become available. Stay tuned!

For 14 seasons, Mariska Hargitay has played Olivia Benson on the NBC hit procedural drama Law & Order: SVU. Not only is the acting demanding on the series, it’s also very physically demanding. Hargitay is thrown into action a lot, whether it’s running or even fighting with a suspect. Hargitay told us she loves that aspect of the show, and evens begs the writers to put more action scenes in for her. Hargitay is physically in shape, which she says has helped her to do the physical scenes. (Click on the media bar below to hear Mariska Hargitay)


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