Playboy centerfold appearance
Preceded by Terry Ryan
Succeeded by Jayne Mansfield
Born Betty Mae Page
April 22, 1923
Nashville, Tennessee, US
Died December 11, 2008 (aged 85)
Measurements Bust: 32″
Height 5 ft 5 in (1.65 m)
Bettie Mae Page (April 22, 1923 – December 11, 2008) was an American model who became famous in the 1950s for her pin-up photos. Often referred to as the “Queen of Pinups”, her jet black hair, blue eyes, and trademark bangs have influenced artists.
Page was “Miss January 1955”, one of the earliest Playmates of the Month for Playboy magazine. “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.
In 1959, Page converted to evangelical Christianity and went on to work for Billy Graham. The latter part of her life was marked by depression, violent mood swings, and several years in a state psychiatric hospital. After years of obscurity, she experienced a resurgence of popularity in the 1980s.
Page was the second of six children born to Walter Roy Page and Edna Mae Pirtle. At a young age, Page had to face the responsibilities of caring for her younger siblings. Her parents divorced when she was 10 years old. (In the 1930 Census, a few weeks before Bettie’s 7th birthday, her mother Edna Pirtle Page was already listed as being divorced. After her father, whom Page would accuse of molesting her starting at age 13, was imprisoned, Page and her two sisters lived in an orphanage for a year. During this time, Page’s mother worked two jobs, one as a hairdresser during the day and washing laundry at night.
As a teenager, Page and her sisters tried different makeup styles and hairdos imitating their favorite movie stars. She also learned to sew. These skills proved useful years later for her pin-up photography when Page did her own makeup and hair and made her own bikinis and costumes. During her early years, the Page family traveled around the country in search of economic stability.
A good student and debate team member at Hume-Fogg High School, she was voted “Most Likely to Succeed”. On June 6, 1940, Page graduated as the salutatorian of her high school class with a scholarship. She enrolled at George Peabody College, with the intention of becoming a teacher. However, the next fall she began studying acting, hoping to become a movie star. At the same time, she got her first job, typing for author Alfred Leland Crabb. Page graduated from Peabody with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1944.
In 1943, she married high school classmate Billy Neal in a simple courthouse ceremony shortly before he was drafted into the Navy for World War II. For the next few years, she moved from San Francisco to Nashville to Miami and to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where she felt a special affinity with the country and its culture. In November 1947, back in the United States, she filed for divorce.
- Newbury Street going retro with shop inspired by ’50s pinup model (bostonherald.com)
- Bettie Page shoes (bagladyboutiqe.wordpress.com)
- First Look: Bunny Yeager’s Darkroom, a Book on the Photographer Who Put Bettie Page on the Map [NSFW] (nymag.com)
- And more US Retro from Bettie Page (styleontheedge.com)
- Tatyana Designs Announces New Stock Symbol – “TATD” (virtual-strategy.com)
- Beautiful Bombshell Bettie Broke Boundaries in BDSM (jl10ll.wordpress.com)
- When Porn Got Personal (andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com)
- Iconic Influence – Bettie Page (mistressfoxx.wordpress.com)
- WIWT: Bettie Page Clothing at Coney Island! (vintagevandalizm.com)
- “We will never know exactly who first figured out that using a Polaroid camera meant whatever…” (exp.lore.com)