I love Jayne Mansfield
The actress and singer Jayne Mansfield (born Vera Jayne Palmer on April 19, 1933) was one of those quintessentially American pop-culture creations who helped define the country’s mood — playful, naive, expansive — in the middle part of the 20th century. That she was also, in large part, a self-created icon who reveled in publicity stunts only added, and still adds today, to her appeal: it’s difficult, after all, to dislike someone who so giddily pursues fame, and who so exuberantly embraces it once it’s attained.
Here, on Jayne Mansfield’s 81st birthday, LIFE.com remembers the archetypal blonde bombshell with a series of photos — none of which ran in LIFE magazine — made by Peter Stackpole in the spring of 1956. Mansfield was in her early 20s at the time and, while she was not yet a full-fledged movie star, she was clearly someone to watch; she had already made…
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