Bettie Page, the iconic pinup and cult figure, died yesterday in Los Angeles, at the age of 85. She suffered a heart attack last week and had been in a coma ever since.
The product of an abusive home, Page fled a bad marriage in her native Tennessee for New York where she fell in with a pair of siblings who ran a pornography ring. Between the years 1949 and 1957, Page was the subject of more than 20,000 pinup photos, many of them dealing with bondage subjects that are today regarded as an important gateway to the sexual revolution of the 1960s. Page's photos developed a following in later years for their unique mixture of risqué subject matter and almost wholesome sexuality.
After becoming a Christian, Page gave up her modeling career. Her later years were marked by depression and mental, illness, but she lived to see herself become a pop-culture icon, a turn of events that baffled her even as it kept her solvent. "I want to be remembered," she said, "as I was when I was young and in my golden times. . . . I want to be remembered as the woman who changed people's perspectives concerning nudity in its natural form."
Bettie Page, Queen of Pinups, Dies At 85 [NY Times]