For those of the younger crowd Betty Page was a woman from the 1950s who made many a man’s heart race, along with other body parts. I just found out that she was in the hospital yesterday. She had been in the hospital for three weeks prior recovering from pneumonia and was near release when she had a heart attack and fell into a coma, being put on life support. This evening, she died at 6:41pm PST in a LA hospital. She was 85. No matter how hard women try to imitate her, there will be no one like her again.
Private Funeral Services will be on December 16th at Westwood Memorial Cemetery.
Page was discovered by accident on a beach in California and turned into “THE” pinup girl from the 50s. Page once said that “I was generally happy posing, and that seemed to shine through the pictures.” “Nobody knew this, but I used to imagine the camera was my boyfriend, and I was making love to him. I had fun teasing the guy with the camera until he was insync with whatever mood I was in.”
Her most famous photographs were taken in 1955 by fashion photographer Bunny Yeager. They included shots of a nude Page lounging with leopards, frolicking in the waves and deep-sea fishing, and a January 1955 Playboy centerfold of her winking under a Santa Claus cap while placing a bulb on a Christmas tree.
Page paired up with a photographer and her sister, and her modeling turning a bit to the “dark side” incorporating bondage. Seeing those pictures in recent years she would laugh an comment, “Oh I look like a meanie here … But honestly, who could take any of this seriously? I never understood how anyone believed those poses were sexy. To be tied up? I don’t get it.”
As a result of this, Senator Kefauver of TN, her home state, launched a congressional investigation into pornography. She was subpoenaed to appear in a Capitol Hill courtroom presided over by Senator Kefauver, yet she was never called upon to actually testify.
Because of this, Page left the public eye at age 34 in 1958, later saying she was hounded by federal agents who waved her nude photos in her face. Over the following years, she became a born-again Christian, married three times, and suffered a nervous breakdown.
Page moved to So. Cal in 1979 and was arrested after an altercation with her landlady around 1989, and doctors determined she had acute schizophrenia. She spent 20 months in a state mental hospital at San Bernardino’s Patton State Hospital and was released in 1992.
A fight with another landlord resulted in her arrest, but she was found not guilty because of insanity. She was placed under state supervision for eight years.
Over the years she refused to be photographed again, even in street clothes. “I don’t want to be photographed in my old age,” she told an interviewer in 1998. “I feel the same say with old movie stars. … It makes me sad. We want to remember them when they were young.”
Roesler who was an attorney who helped establish Page merchandise and licensing said “She was a remarkable woman, truly someone that changed the social norms, not only here in this country, but also around the world. While Jackie Robinson was changing the racial attitude, Bettie Page was changing our attitudes on sex. She became a James Dean type of ‘rebel’ figure as she allowed people to be less inhibited and look at sex in a different way.”
Page herself said in an interview in 2006 about her work, “Being in the nude isn’t a disgrace unless you’re being promiscuous about it.” “After all, when God created Adam and Eve, they were stark naked. And in the Garden of Eden, God was probably naked as a jaybird too!”
She also added about her continued fame well past the end of her modeling sessions, “I have no idea why I’m the only model who has had so much fame so long after quitting work.”
BTW, when Page was asked if breast implants were available during her time, would she have gotten them. “No, I would have not gotten implants. I don’t think God meant for anything artificial to be put in the body. I would rather have no breasts than something artificial like that.”
This is why, there will never be anyone, no matter how hard they try to imitate her, like her again. The girl was real all the way round.
- Bettie Page Official Website, including several videos (NOTE: Very slow loading and timeouts at this time.)
- Bettie Page Reveals All
- The Infectious Bettie Page Blogspot
- “The Notorious Bettie Page” Movie at IMDB
- Planet Bettie
- The Last Pinup Photos Taken of Bettie
- “A Golden Age for a Pinup”, LA Times, 11MAR06
- “Bettie Page Live Chat”, Nashville Citysearch, 23SEP98