This comes up more than any other aspect of Jayne’s life. It doesn’t help that The Church of Satan claims Jayne was a member, and documentaries like Mansfield 66/67 run with the idea all the time. Besides questions on Jayne being a Marilyn copycat and how exactly she died, Jayne’s connection to LaVey is what I’m asked the most. People are usually pretty disappointed when I tell them no, she wasn’t a satanist–but she did have some sort of friendship with LaVey. I used to recommend a Buzzfeed article by a fellow Jayne fan, but as with all things, I should have relied on my own research in conjunction with what someone else came up with.
It helps to start at the very beginning. For that, we have to go back to October of 1966 where Jayne’s exhibitionist behavior ruffled feathers in San Francisco. Below is the timeline of Jayne’s trip.
Most Likely Early October or Late September
Jayne is invited to attend the San Francisco Film Festival–although she must plan around nightclub engagements she already has booked. All of her expenses will be paid for by the SFFF’s organizers with a performance agreement.
Thursday – October 20, 1966
Jayne arrives in San Francisco and attempts to purchase two stuffed animals from the San Francisco airport (story below). She attends the opening dinner for 400, hosted by the SFFF organizers and the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce at the Fairmont Hotel’s Gold Ballroom. Jayne wears the black lace up dress she had popularized in her nightclub act. Jayne is supposed to appear on stage during the opening of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, but when called up by the MC, doesn’t appear.
Friday – October 21, 1966
Jayne attends a party for Jack Warner.
Saturday – October 22, 1966
Jayne makes an appearance at a supper dance hosted by Mr. and Mrs. Marshall Naify. Her outfit is considerably toned down.
San Francisco Examiner, October 24, 1966
Sunday, October 23, 1966
Jayne does in fact visit the Black House and meets LaVey, although her visit is centered around his tiger, Togare. She doesn’t spend a whole lot of time with LaVey, although he does give her literature about the Church of Satan, including the Satanic Bible. This is supposedly when LaVey curses Brody. The visit doesn’t generate headlines and no known pictures exist.
Monday – October 24, 1966
Jayne is announced as being banned from the festival, and organizers insist she was never invited. Jayne holds a press conference that night to prove she was invited, although a direct invitation is nowhere in sight. Considering Jayne’s attendance rested on her making an appearance, it’s unlikely she ever had a formal invitation like an attendee–instead she would have had a business contract. With her failure to appear on stage the first night, it’s not surprising Jayne was asked to leave.
Tuesday – October 25, 1966
Going into damage control mode, Jayne gives interviews about her time in San Francisco. There is a rumor that Jayne again visits the Church of Satan (check out the Buzzfeed article I linked above). If she did visit, it’s unreported by the papers.
Wednesday – October 26, 1966
Jayne leaves for Vancouver, Canada. She arrives at 6 in the morning.
Now we must fast forward to February of 1967. An article runs by Marilyn Beck with LaVey claiming Jayne joined the Church of Satan.
Jayne retorted on the 28th:
Everything then goes quiet. Jayne announced the possibility of conversion to Judaism:
Also note the guestbook May Mann put together for Jayne’s 1967 memorial in Los Angeles was written in Hebrew.
But what about the pictures of Jayne with LaVey?
Jayne and LaVey were both friendly with photographer Walter Fischer. The publicity stunt was orchestrated by Fischer and a publicity man named Tony Kent. Jayne took the photos shortly before her death, and the group had dinner together at La Scala. The supposed curse on Brody came within several months of Jayne’s death. LaVey had contact with May Mann, who included some of LaVey’s recollections in her book, although May does insist Jayne didn’t put much credence in LaVey’s religion.
According to ChurchofSatan.org:
LEGEND: Jayne Mansfield, Hollywood sex symbol and actress, was a card-carrying Satanist and had an affair with ASL.
REALITY: Publicity agent Tony Kent, an associate of Ed Webber, arranged the meeting between Mansfield and ASL as a publicity stunt. ASL was smitten with the actress. Mansfield, who made no secret of her many affairs, denied knowing ASL intimately, and no associate of hers has ever confirmed any supposed romance with ASL. In a 1967 interview she said, “He had fallen in love with me and wanted to join my life with his. It was a laugh.” According to ASL’s publicist Edward Webber, Mansfield would ridicule her Satanic suitor by calling from her Los Angeles home and seductively teasing him while her friends listened in on the conversation. ASL’s public claims that he had an affair with Mansfield began only after Mansfield’s death in an automobile accident, which he also claimed was the result of a curse he had placed on her lover Sam Brody.