Friday, December 12, 2008

Bettie Page, RIP

A legend has passed.

Betty Page (April 22, 1923- December 11,2008)

“I was not trying to be shocking, or to be a pioneer. I wasn't trying to change society, or to be ahead of my time. I didn't think of myself as liberated, and I don't believe that I did anything important. I was just myself. I didn't know any other way to be, or any other way to live.”~Bettie Page

Before Playboy, Penthouse, and pornography hit mainstream culture, there was pinup queen, Bettie Page. Her image was cutting edge. Page challenged the conservative 1950s, earning both a cult underground following and a Senate Committee investigation on juvenile delinquency.

Page was born in Nashville, Tennessee.She was her high school salutatorian and attended George Peabody College on a scholarship.By 1948, she moved to New York and tried to start a career in acting. While in New York, she hooked up with an amateur photographer that changed her life. Jerry Tibbs is credited with being the first to notice Bettie's potential and was the inspiration for her “Bettie bangs” hairstyle.From 1952 through 1957, she posed for photographer Irving Klaw for mail-order photographs with pin-up, bondage and sadomasochistic themes.In 1954, Bettie began working with former model turned photographer Bunny Yeager. It was Yeager who photographed Bettie's most famous images in leopard print. Yeager also later submitted photographs to Hugh Hefner and Bettie was featured as the Playboy centerfold and Playmate of the Month for January 1955.
At the height of her popularity, Bettie disappeared. But in 1979 and 1982, Page (a diagnosed schizophrenic) tried to stab several people to death and was institutionalized.

Page died on December 11, 2008, having been on continuous life support since a heart attack in early December.

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