1950's Pin-Up Queen Bettie Page Dies at 85

by Joey Paur

About a week ago Bettie Page suffered a heart attack and she never regained consciousness. She was 85 years old.

If you don't know who Bettie Page is she was one of the most famous pin-up girls of all time. I first learned about Bettie page when I was an assistant for a movie poster illustrator when I was 16 years old. One of the things he specialized in was doing pin-up girl art. I remember looking through all his art and books and stuff and he gave me a run down of the history of the pin-up girl. Bettie Page being on the top of his list of best. 

The following is just a little taste of who she was.

Her popularity as an underground, guilty pleasures phenomenon has continued to soar despite the fact that the reclusive Page disappeared almost a half century ago, leading many to believe that one of the most photographed individuals of the 20th century was already dead.

As the model who many have argued raised cheesecake to an art, Page combined exuberant, wide-eyed innocence with confident, sometimes aggressive sexuality. VANITY FAIR praised the playfully seductive Page as “our Uber-pin-up.” The NEW YORK TIMES has declared that today “her star shines more brightly than it did in her brief heyday from 1950 to 1957.” PLAYBOY immortalized Page as one of its inaugural centerfolds and recently named her “the model of the century, yet she remains one of its best kept secrets.”   In a recent TVGuide.com poll, Bettie Page was voted the “ultimate sex goddess,” outscoring others such as Marilyn Monroe.

She earned a 1944 Bachelor of Arts degree in education from Peabody College in Tennessee. It was an uncommon achievement for a woman at that time. She tried teaching school, but her heart-breaking good looks made it impossible for the kids in class to focus on anything else but their pretty teacher. “I couldn’t control my students,” she would say with an irresistible wink, “especially the boys!” Two decades later Page returned to Peabody to work on her master’s degree.


Her story is an impossible incursion of near misses, bad luck, contradictions and lost opportunities.   Page was strong-willed, and fiercely independent. She battled long and hard against both physical and mental illnesses. From the 1950s and beyond, when strangers would recognize her, she would deny her identity. “Bettie Page?” she would respond, “Who is that?” And yet to friends, she always told the truth, and would candidly (and sometimes endlessly!) discuss any aspect of her long life, including any conceivable question one might pose with respect to sexual activity. And under the spell of those sparkling blue-gray Bettie Page eyes (at any age), sometimes one was too distracted to even process what she was saying. 

Funeral services will be Tuesday with a private service and burial at Westwood Cemetery a few feet away from her blonde sex icon counterpart, Marilyn Monroe.


Tp learn more about Bettie Page you can go to her website 

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