Friday, September 25, 2009

Unusual Hollywood deaths, part 7

True or False: Actress/sex symbol Jayne Mansfield was decapitated in a car crash in 1967? (False. This is a myth which trivia pursuit players insist is true to this day. She did suffer extensive head trauma when her speeding car went under the rear of a slow-moving truck that night. But she wasn't decapitated. Her boyfriend and the 20-year-old driver were also killed; her three sleeping (?) children in the back seat survived. One of those children, Marishka Hargitay, is today a popular actress in her own right.)

But another fact is worthy of being part of your store of trivia information: Her death prompted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to require the installation of a safety bar on the rear of all tractor-trailors (and other high trucks) to prevent a car from sliding underneath it in the event of a rear-end collision, which formerly would "peel off" the tops of cars like sardine cans.

This protective bar is known as a "Mansfield Bar". Believe it or don't.

Short movie: "The Death of Jayne Mansfield"


  1. A few years ago there was a report of a boy who lived near us having his head severed in a car crash on a racing circuit. When I heard he'd been admitted to hospital, I discovered that it was a "technical" decapitation - his spine was severed in what they described as a hangman's injury, with the skin and muscle still intact. Miraculously he recoverd and is now racing again!

    All of that just because I wonder if Jayne Mansfield suffered the same injury. If so it could account for the apparently cinflicting reports.

  2. I know of the same type injuries. Could it be what spurred the rumors?

  3. The top of Mansfield's head was taken off as the car went under the truck, so not the same. She was killed. The reporters showed up before the accident scene was cleaned up. There was a blonde wig lying on the wrecked car. The reporters took that to be her head (or said they did) and ran with the story without checking facts. Her body was lying on the ground nearby where the police had laid it, so the reporters could have easily verified the truth rather than running back and reporting nonsense rumors. But gruesome sensationalism sells more papers.

  4. Argh.
    We have rear bars, and sidebars too, on trucks, I wonder if ours are mansfield bars too? I've only heard them called under-run bars, I wonder if truckers and truck builders actually call them Mansfield Bars?

    The story makes me shudder. I knew a young boy, brother of a friend, who ran into the back of a stationary truck, on a motorbike. He was seventeen, the bike was only a puny 125cc Yamaha, he had only a learner's permit, and he was decapitated less than a mile from his home. His friend managed to throw his bike down, and slide under the rear axle of the truck, and survived, albeit with severe injuries.
    His father lost the will to live, and died six months later, his mother lost her mind, and never accepted he was dead, "Oh, he's out with his friends, he'll be home soon".

  5. @A. - I cannot imagine a person who gets another chance like thaat simply going out and trying to do it again. Maybe he didn't die because there just weren't any brains there to kill!

    Anyway, I had never heard of that. Interesting. Okay, I must admit here that I am having doubts his spine was severed. Or at least that his spinal cord was severed.

  6. @Ettrose - Yeah. That's it. :)

    You are so endearing when you try to be serious. I will try to write about something less gooey. I want the old Ettarose back. Set her free!

    I don't mean you are not intelligent enough to comment on any subject at all. I just miss your humor lately. I am turning you into a thoughtful person with good grammar and I apologize. Tell me to fuck off or something.

  7. @Soubriquet - That's a scary story. And I don't know if the term "Mansfield Bar" is used by trailer makers or just slang by truckers here. Here are a couple of (pretty short blog post) links that mention the term though:

  8. Hey Max, glad you are still hanging around. Haven't seen you in a couple of days. I am posting a weird pic tomorrow. Just thought you should know you will be in it. I do not expect a comment either. By the way when is the last time I told you to BITE ME? :)

  9. The Mansfield Bar so so Morbid - I f'n LOVE it!!!!

  10. @Ettarose - I saw the picture and I liked it. You know how much I like to be the center of attention, right? ;)

    @Petra - You never change. Good.



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