Long before Madonna, Dita Von Teese or any number of aspiring sirens squeezed into their first corsets, there was proto-vixen Bettie Page, who brought her own racy sensibility to the art of pinup photography in the 1950s. Although her legend will live on, thanks to legions of blunt-banged devotees and cheesecake enthusiasts, Page died Thursday at the age of 85 in Los Angeles after suffering a heart attack the previous week.
AP via Google News:
Page, who was also known as Betty, attracted national attention with magazine photographs of her sensuous figure in bikinis and see-through lingerie that were quickly tacked up on walls in military barracks, garages and elsewhere, where they remained for years.
Her photos included a centerfold in the January 1955 issue of then-fledgling Playboy magazine, as well as controversial sadomasochistic poses.
“I think that she was a remarkable lady, an iconic figure in pop culture who influenced sexuality, taste in fashion, someone who had a tremendous impact on our society,” Playboy founder Hugh Hefner told The Associated Press on Thursday. “She was a very dear person.”
Page mysteriously disappeared from the public eye for decades, during which time she battled mental illness and became a born-again Christian.
After resurfacing in the 1990s, she occasionally granted interviews but refused to allow her picture to be taken.
“I don’t want to be photographed in my old age,” she told an interviewer in 1998. “I feel the same way with old movie stars. ... It makes me sad. We want to remember them when they were young.”