Not totally photo related, not just a journal. A bit of both.

Friday, December 12, 2008

'anti-Marilyn' pin-up Bettie Page dies at 85.

Bettie Page in Miami - by Bunny Yeager in 1954

Bettie Page, arguably the most famous post WWII pinup model died yesterday evening in LA at the age of 85.

Her agent Mark Roesler said in a statement on - which also has an excellent bio/obit:
"With deep personal sadness I must announce that my dear friend and client Bettie Page passed away at 6:41pm PST this evening in a Los Angeles hospital. She died peacefully but had never regained consciousness after suffering a heart attack nine days ago.

She captured the imagination of a generation of men and women with her free spirit and unabashed sensuality. She is the embodiment of beauty."

This tribute comes from a review of The Notorious Bettie Page, the 2005 biopic that follows her (somewhat inaccurately) from her Nashville years up to the end of her magazine career:
If you can tell a society by its smut, America in the 1950s couldn't have been just a Frigidaire of repressive hysteria. Hidden somewhere in the closets of Pleasantville and Peyton Place, after all, was a stack of fetish mags bearing the face and hourglass figure of Bettie Page, and all the mysteries they contain. Here was a brunette Amazon in a sea of soft and curvy blondes -- an anti-Marilyn, dominant and demanding where Monroe was compliant -- who deflected the ravenous gaze of strokebook buyers with a look of defiant self-possession.

At the same time, the kinkier the scenario--be it girl-girl slap-and-tickle or a little night music for gag and rope harness--the more she looked like a giggly teen at a pajama party. By the 1980s, when Page reemerged as a pulp icon, her combination of severe bangs, growled come-hithers, and strapping poses served as camp, nostalgia, an emblem of postfeminist subversion, and a fantasy figure for tops as well as bottoms. In her photos and one-reelers, she has the ingredient perhaps most crucial for obsession: an image capable of reflecting anything a viewer projects onto it.

Page began giving interviews again in the 1990s after a 40 year hiatus, but wouldn't allow reporters to take her picture, figuring fans would prefer to remember the sultry sexpot she once was, or, as she told the Los Angeles Times in 2006:

"I want to be remembered as the woman who changed people's perspectives concerning nudity in its natural form."

More here at the IHT and Reuters, Time (a great obit), Bloomberg, and E!Online, but curiously no CNN post despite her passing some 9 hours ago.

** edit @12 noon 12/12/08. I saw that CNN now has an obit for Bettie Page in their Top Entertainment Stories section. Not their front page or even as a lead on their Entertainment page. It ends with:
A private funeral service is planned for Tuesday. Page will buried at Westwood Cemetery in Los Angeles, just a few feet away from Monroe.


Mike Wood Photography

1 comment:

movie fan said...

Page made it into a few mainstream movies too, didn't she?