Friday, December 12, 2008

Bettie Page Dies at Age 85 - "Free at Last"

Bettie Page ... "Free at last!"

I think everyone knew it was coming. It's been a waiting game since the 2nd. So where does one start when the inevitable has happened? I guess to go with the standard obituary first ...

Bettie Page, the brunet pinup queen with a shoulder-length pageboy hairdo and kitschy bangs whose saucy photos helped usher in the sexual revolution of the 1960s, has died. She was 85. The L.A. Times' Louis Sahagun writes a nice obit. Sahagun was one of the last reporters to spend time with Page, back in 2006. He wrote about his visit here.

Page, whose later life was marked by depression, violent mood swings and several years in a state mental institution, died Thursday night at Kindred Hospital in Los Angeles, where she had been on life support since suffering a heart attack Dec. 2, according to her agent, Mark Roesler

"Bettie Page captured the imagination of a generation of men and women with her free spirit and unabashed sensuality," said Roesler, chairman of the Indianapolis-based CMG Worldwide, who was at Page's side when she died. "She was a dear friend and a special client and one of the most beautiful and influential
women of the 20th century."

A religious woman in her later life, Page was mystified by her influence on modern popular culture. "I have no idea why I'm the only model who has had so much fame so long after quitting work," she said in an interview with The Times in 2006. She had one request for that interview: that her face not be photographed. "I want to be remembered," she said, "as I was when I was young and in my golden times. . . . I want to be remembered as the woman who changed people's perspectives concerning nudity in its natural form."

In an interview 2 1/2 years ago, Hefner described Page's appeal as "a combination of wholesome innocence and fetish-oriented poses that is at once retro and very modern." With the help of admirers including Hefner, Page finally began receiving a respectable income for her work.

In an interview published in Playboy magazine in 2007, Page expressed mixed feelings about her achievements. "When I turned my life over to the lord Jesus I was ashamed of having posed in the nude," she said. "But now, most of the money I've got is because I posed in the nude. So I'm not ashamed of it now. But I still don't understand it."

She spent most of her final years in a one-bedroom apartment, reading the Bible, listening to Christian and country tunes, watching westerns on television, catching up on diet and exercise regimens or sometimes perusing secondhand clothing stores.

Occasionally, however, Page was persuaded to visit the Sunset Boulevard penthouse offices of her agents at CMG Worldwide to autograph pinups of herself in the post-World War II years of her prime. The agency controls her image and those of Marilyn Monroe and Princess Diana, among others.
During one such event in early 2006, Page needed about 10 minutes to get through the 10 letters of her name. As she pushed her pen over a portrait of her in a negligee with an ecstatic smile, she laughed and said, "My land! Is that supposed to be me? I was never that pretty."

She is survived by her brother Jack Page of Nshville and sister Joyce Wallace of Blairsville, Ga.

With the above being said, I am very sad yet relieved for her. She is finally at peace. Not in any pain. And, because she was a Christian; with God. On my blogs about Bettie, I've never posed the nude pics, nor put info about her past problems with mental illness or brushes with the law because she really just wanted to live her life as a Christian, and if God forgives and puts the past behind you, then shouldn't we? It seems one
can never escape one's past
, no matter how much one wishes. Sadly, society loves to keep at the negative things in one's life in the forefront, and I for one feel that the "past is the past." When does one let the past be for the person who lived it? What a dichotemy for Ms. Page. She said in later years in an interview published in Playboy magazine in 2007, mixed feelings about her achievements. "When I turned my life over to the lord Jesus I was ashamed of having posed in the nude," she said. "But now, most of the money I've got is because I posed in the nude. So I'm not ashamed of it now. But I still don't understand it."

Bettie Page walked away from the modeling and nudity at age 35. She became a cult figure in her later years . Everyone loved her for her smile, her bangs, her naivety, and girl next door wholesomeness ... and the nudity. Bettie turned her life around and became a Christian years ago and lived in poverty for years (while others took money for her photos, videos, etc.) and it wasn't until people like Hugh Hefner, her agent, Mark Roseler, Dave Stevens (Rocketeer) and others finally stepped in and were able to get licensing agreements and residuals for her so she could at least live somewhat comfortably. I do have to give kudo's to her handlers and agents, Bettie wanted to be remembered as she was and wanted no photos taken in her later years. How they were able to achieve that goal for her I will never know; but I am glad that she was able to have that wish. Bettie will remain forever young because that's how we see her. She was a star who shined brightly behind the clouds. God Speed Bettie. For more info on Bettie:

22 comments:

dirtsister said...

Long live Betty Page. Loved her.

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Anonymous said...

The picture you have of her with the fishing spear, is one of the last that was ever taken of her...

That particular shot was in a set of only SIX photos, that were taken on a Ft. Lauderdale beach after a day spent skin diving with friends...

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