NEW ORLEANS, LA Jayne Mansfield, the platinum blonde who never won true Hollywood stardom but gained worldwide fame and fortune because of her shapely figure, died early Thursday in a car-truck smashup on the curve of a narrow Louisiana road.
She and her lawyer and a chauffeur were killed and three of her children were injured.
'Dumb Blonde' Role
Miss Mansfield, a curvaceous 40-22-35, won the title of "Miss Photoflash of 1952," and built from there on publicity and pulchritude into a series of movie roles cast as a "dumb blonde."
|...The others killed in the crash were Sam Brody, 40, of Los Angeles, her lawyer, and Ronnie Harrison, 20, of Mississippi City, Miss., the chauffeur who had been loaned to Miss Mansfield on Wednesday night to take her party from a Mississippi night club back to New Orleans for the night.||The impact sheared off the top of the luxury car, shoving it back so that it appeared a convertible.|
... The car came around a curve on U.S. 90 at about 1:00 AM at a point some 23 miles from downtown New Orleans and smashed into the rear of a truck that had slowed behind a machine "fogging" the area with insecticide spray.
Car's Top Sheared
The impact sheared off the top of the luxury car and shoved it back so that it appeared for a time that it was a convertible. The three victims were caught in the jumbled wreckage of the front seat Miss Mansfield in blue stockings, blue dress and blue boots, and the two men also in the front seat beside her, badly mangled.
Miss Mansfield's dress was torn in shreds.
The children, in the back seat, were not caught so badly in the crush of the two vehicles. The truck driver, Richard Rambeau of Pensacola, Fla., was not injured.
Miss Mansfield was decapitated.
... Pet Dogs Killed
Two small tan Chihuahua dogs were found dead in the wreckage and two others were found still alive and were taken to an animal shelter. [The article continues.]
On April 4, 1998, two years after the death of its eccentric owner and one month after officially closing its doors, the Tragedy in U.S. History Museum in St. Augustine, Fl offered for auction its entire collection of morbid memorabilia, which included Mansfield's 1966 Buick Electra. The death car, however, "crumpled like a piece of tinfoil after a cookout, with its roof torn off and its front end smashed," failed to fetch a buyer.
Auction attendees report that Mansfield was not decapitated, but was instead scalped, which was apparently confirmed by police photos of the accident scene, and which explains why some accounts reported that she merely lost a wig. Neither it seems was she caught in crush of vehicle she was thrown clear nor was she wearing a dress, but slacks & knit top.
Other items up for auction included:
Attendees speculated that the bidding was low because the auction wasn't well publicized.
From Auction Sells the Ghastly, Bizarre
Associated Press, Apr 5, 1998
[Thanks to Haystep2@aol.com for the update.]