Tragically, on Thursday, December 11, 2008 former pinup star Bettie Page passed away. She had been hospitalized with pneumonia several weeks prior and had been on life support since suffering a heart attack on December 2nd.
Page was notorious for being one of the most sensual stars of the fifties, but came from humble beginnings. She was born in Nashville on April 22, 1923. When she was ten years old her parents divorced, forcing Bettie to live at an orphanage for a short period of time. She was a bright student in high school, and graduated from the Peabody College for Teachers with a B.A.
In 1947, after a brief marriage and a stint working as a secretary in Haiti, Bettie found herself in New York City, continuing life as a secretary while dreaming of one day becoming an actress. After three years she met aspiring photographer Jeffrey Tibbs. Tibbs immediately became interested in Bettie’s image: her curvy body and short, blunt bangs that quickly became her trademark. Tibbs took photographs for Bettie’s first modelling portfolio.
Bettie quickly became popular amongst the burlesque scene. She was often quoted as saying that the human body was natural and not to be ashamed of, and built her career around being erotic without being vulgar. Her career thrived throughout the 1950’s, and even won the title “Miss Pin-up Girl of the World” in 1955.
Bettie chose to retire early in her career, but she was hardly forgotten. Aside from a short revival of her pictures in the 1970s, she was immortalized in a fanzine entitled “the Betty Pages” and again in the 2005 film “The Notorious Bettie Page,” starring Gretchen Mol.