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Bettie Page Dies
Star succumbs to pneumonia aged 85

12 December 2008  |  Written by Phil de Semlyen  

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1950s pin-up star Bettie Page has died in Los Angeles, succumbing to pneumonia aged 85.

Equal parts Southern ingénue and sex kitten, Bettie Page was the rarest of ‘50s icons, a pin-up who won the hearts of born-again Christians and dirty-mac’d sinners alike. Like Ava Gardner and Betty Grable before her, Page adorned magazine covers and teen bedroom walls across the country, often wearing little more than suspenders and a smile. Unlike her pin-up predecessors, Page’s Hollywood career never took off, hamstrung by her broad Tennessee drawl and acting ability that she described with typical frankness as ‘terrible’.

Page appeared in three breathless burlesque pictures, Striporama (1953), Varietease (1954) and Teaserama (1955), as well as a host of 8mm peepshow reels, but her auditions with big studios only yielded the advances of lusty producers.

Page disappeared from the public gaze just as suddenly as she’d arrived, suffering serious bouts of depression, but her traffic-stopping figure and raven hair left an indelible impression. Her popularity outlasted many of her pin-up peers (Page’s official website registered 600 million page impressions in the last five years of her life), and led to a Hollywood tribute in the shape of 2006’s affectionate biopic The Notorious Bettie Page.

In truth, Page was never quite as notorious as the film’s title suggests, her wide-eyed charm winning her a legion of loyal fans during her decade in the lights. She was, in the words of Russ Meyer, "the nicest girl you'd ever want to meet." 


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Your Comments

RIP Betty
A fond farewell to one of the sexiest women who ever lived. Rest in Peace Betty you'll always hold a very special place in my heart. More

Posted by mightyhypnotoad at 14:45 on 15 December 2008 | Report This Post

Good ridance 2008
2008 has taken too many of cinema's great and good. for that, thank god it's almost over. let's hope 2009 isn't nearly as tragic. Especially wih regards the untimely passing of younger actor with much more to give. More

Posted by Adrian at 16:59 on 13 December 2008 | Report This Post

Good ridance 2008
2008 has taken too many of cinema's great and good. for that, thank god it's almost over. let's hope 2009 isn't nearly as tragic. Especially wih regards the untimely passing of younger actor with much more to give. More

Posted by Adrian at 16:34 on 13 December 2008 | Report This Post

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