Pharyngula

Bettie Page, dead at 85

She had a good run, although part of her life was marred by mental illness and religion. Now an icon of the sexual revolution is gone.

I’m rather curious to know how many readers here have never heard of her before — this could make me feel very old.

Comments

  1. #1 DaveG
    December 12, 2008

    PZ, it’s all good. I know she was (one of the?) original pin-up girl(s).

  2. #2 LisaJ
    December 12, 2008

    I will be the first to admit, PZ, that I had never before heard of Bettie Page.

  3. #3 Bachalon
    December 12, 2008

    You’d be surprised how many young people are familiar with her.

    All of my friends and I am. None of us is older than 25. We could be an exception, though.

  4. #4 Eshto
    December 12, 2008

    I know who she is, but only because I saw a documentary about her.

  5. #5 Matt7895
    December 12, 2008

    No idea who she was, but I have heard the name before.

  6. #6 Dirty Hairy
    December 12, 2008

    I was lucky enough that my dad had a classic Page calendar that I, uh…”liked to look at”.

  7. #7 Sven DiMilo
    December 12, 2008

    I don’t count. I’m old too.

  8. #8 imflyboy
    December 12, 2008

    She was iconic. Super sexy without being trashy, something some of our current stars don’t seem to get.

  9. #9 Fred Mounts
    December 12, 2008

    There was a movie that came out about her a few years ago, so that might help. The Notorious Bettie Page, starring Gretchen Mol.

  10. #10 Glen Davidson
    December 12, 2008

    Never heard of her, but I’d like to see more.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/6mb592

  11. #11 Rosie Redfield
    December 12, 2008

    I’m probably older than you and I’d never heard of her, but then I’m female.

  12. #12 Badjugger
    December 12, 2008

    I see the movie was mentioned. I enjoyed it quite a bit. At 48, sadly I was unaware of her until seein the movie. She seemed to be a bit of a refreshingly free spirit.

  13. #13 Rhysz
    December 12, 2008

    I’m dutch and even I know the late, great Betty Page

    Regards,
    Rhysz

  14. #14 Greg Peterson
    December 12, 2008

    “…mental illness and religion. But I repeat myself.”

  15. #15 Joe M
    December 12, 2008

    She was a huge influence on me. She’s one of the main reasons I took up photography. During a time when talking sex, even a little, was taboo, she showed that a woman could be beautiful, happy, seductive, sexy, bawdy and innocent all at once. She will be missed.
    btw, as far as age goes, I’m 44 so it’s not only senior citizens who know Bettie. Go look on some forums for photographers or models, and you’ll quickly see the impact she had.

  16. #16 Elyse
    December 12, 2008

    I’m only 21 and of course I know who Betty Page is. I thought every American did. Psh.

  17. #17 Tulse
    December 12, 2008

    Super sexy without being trashy

    Depends on what one sees as “trashy” — she did bring S&M to popular attention (not that there is anything wrong with that).

  18. #18 Nomen Nescio
    December 12, 2008

    i’m considerably less than half her age, yet i’ve known of (and admired) her work for nearly half my life. you’ve no reason to feel older than me, at least not on this account.

  19. #19 spyderkl
    December 12, 2008

    Bettie Page was amazing. In every photo I’d ever seen of her, she just radiated a happiness and joy that was incredibly sexy.

    Of course, I’m 47 so I’m pretty old.

  20. #20 aiabx
    December 12, 2008

    Crap. Is knowing about Bettie Page the standard for being old now?

  21. #21 stevogvsu
    December 12, 2008

    I most certainly do know Bettie Page P.Z. The Dick Whitney pictures of her are some of the sexiest image ever in my opinion and I’m 21.

  22. #22 BGT
    December 12, 2008

    39 here, and I do know who she is. I have a book about her that was a sort of biography/pictorial history. I will unashamedly add that I have a few reprints of her as well. :-)

  23. #23 ryanm
    December 12, 2008

    I’m 25, and unfortunately I didn’t know who she was. Then again, I’m gay, so if I ever did hear about her, it was probably totally lost on me. Sexy girl, nonetheless.

  24. #24 Matt, Sexual Jihadist
    December 12, 2008

    No idea who she is, but then again, I’m relatively young.

  25. #25 pixelFish
    December 12, 2008

    Bettie has a hairstyle named after her. She was the brunette antidote to the blonde bombshell. I think she’s classic. So no worries on the being “old” for knowing who she is. Half a zillion baby goff and emo girls have her hair.

    I’m told that this was the last public photo of her…in 2003. If so, she looked pretty good for somebody who had hit 80. (Dyed hair or not.)
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/cubistliterature/3058177951/

  26. #26 Robert W
    December 12, 2008

    31 years old here; never heard of her. :(

  27. #27 Bad Wolf
    December 12, 2008

    Hmm I thought she was dead already for some reason.

  28. #28 Ashley
    December 12, 2008

    I was born in 1986 and I know who she is. :-D Bummer she got all religious and killed her career.

  29. #29 Norman Doering
    December 12, 2008

    I doubt if Bettie Page was as famous in the fifties as she became in the 80s and 90s. All of the original work I’ve seen her do was really cheap fetish films and photography club photos. I think she might have been the original model for the Vampira comics.

    She became a big influence later on other models who copied her look. Just check out the girls playing poker in this photo:
    http://normdoering.blogspot.com/2008/12/why-they-want-to-silence-us.html

    Isn’t that two of the Bettie Page looks?

  30. #30 ZacharySmith
    December 12, 2008

    I first heard about Betty Page several years ago. Saw some old photos and was absolutely enchanted!

    It may please you, PZ, to know that in the eclectic, hip, liberal town of Royal Oak, Michigan (just minutes away from my former my former residence) there was a gift store that sold all sorts of retro stuff – cardboard cut outs of James Dean, reproduction vintage lunch boxes (The Jetsons, Lost in Space, etc) and other such goodies.

    Betty Page memorabilia was in abundant supply. T-shirts, posters, photos, refrigerator magnets, you name it.

    This is the same store where I bought my “Dogma” Buddy Christ figure. It now stands prominently displayed next to my Tales of Glory Jesus doll.

  31. #31 Diana
    December 12, 2008

    There is a line of fairly hip accessories featuring Bettie Page that are popular with young people: metal lunch boxes, tank tops, etc. So a lot of young people know her as sort of a pop icon.

  32. #32 HumanisticJones
    December 12, 2008

    The woman is an American icon, everyone here in the colonies should know her. At least she didn’t die on December 10th, after loosing Richard Pryor on my birthday 3 years ago…

  33. #33 pixelfish
    December 12, 2008

    I should add that I am a mere 31. And have known about her since I was 20.

  34. #34 Will E.
    December 12, 2008

    I found out about Bettie Page probably through Harlan Ellison, when he raved about the comic The Rocketeer in the ’80s, when I was in high school (a character in Rocketeer was based on her). One of my best friends was a comic book nerd and the comics shops had lots of Bettie merch everywhere. A middle-aged guy I worked with was astonished I knew who Bettie Page was. I said, “I’m an 18-year-old guy who hangs out in comic books shops. Of course I know who Bettie Page is!” Many years later I got in trouble working in a bookstore when I ordered a beautiful book on her to stock; the oh-so-sensitive staff were quite taken aback by her fetish gear. They had no idea who she was. I’m hoping today they’re getting lots of orders for that book…

  35. #35 minusRusty
    December 12, 2008

    I always got Betty Page and Betty Boop confused… :-\

  36. #36 Norman Doering
    December 12, 2008

    minusRusty wrote:

    I always got Betty Page and Betty Boop confused… :-\

    Is this why:
    http://www.laweekly.com/2006-04-13/film-tv/bettie-boob/

  37. #37 S. Fisher
    December 12, 2008

    I knew her pictures long before I knew her name.

  38. #38 mcshemp
    December 12, 2008

    If it makes you feel any better about the age thing PZ, I’m in my late 20s and I know who Bettie Page is. A lot of my peers are big fans.

  39. #39 electricbarbarella
    December 12, 2008

    35 here and I not only know who she is, but do Betty Boop as well and I adore them both. :)

    toni

  40. #40 Don Smith, FCD
    December 12, 2008

    I know who she is, but then I’m the same age as you are and that probably doesn’t help with the feeling old bit.

  41. #41 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    December 12, 2008

    What if they had a sexual revolution and no one came?

  42. #42 Efogoto
    December 12, 2008

    Cheesecake artist Olivia did some Betty Page inspired work, which was how I learned of her years ago.

  43. #43 Mark
    December 12, 2008

    33 here and I knew of her. Probably from the 35th anniv issue of playboy but I did watch the movie with Gretchen Mol.

  44. #44 ppb
    December 12, 2008

    I heard about her first from my 23 year old daughter. I think I was too young to know about her the first time around and too old to catch her revival.

  45. #45 Alverant
    December 12, 2008

    I thought she was a fictional character. I didn’t think she was real until today.

  46. #46 deang
    December 12, 2008

    I was born in ’65, so she’s a little before my time, but since I hung out with rockabilly revivalists and other postpunk subculture types in the 80s, I learned about her around 20 years ago from people obsessed with 1950s pop culture. She was one of the 50s women rockabilly girls would try to dress like. I still haven’t seen the movie about her that came out a couple of years ago.

  47. #47 Kassul
    December 12, 2008

    Despite being a youngin’ I knew Bettie Page. Heard about her through multiple sources by now. A psychology of human sexuality class, a friend, and a webcomic(Questionable Content, the main character’s mother is described on the cast page as “Marten’s mother, who was a former fetish queen a la Bettie Page and went by the stage name Veronica Vance…”)

  48. #48 Chris N
    December 12, 2008

    I’m 24 years old and consider (young) Bettie Page to be one of the hottest women to ever walk the Earth. Sexy, yet not whorish, as is all to often the case today.

  49. #49 Brian's A Wild Downer
    December 12, 2008

    <-25 and been a fan of hers for probably about 9 years now. But then i was also listening to Elvis Presley on my iPod today.

  50. #50 MC
    December 12, 2008

    I live in Seattle and there’s a house along the I-5 corridor that has a giant painting on one side that looks like Bettie Page. It always makes me think of her at least.

  51. #51 Runolfr
    December 12, 2008

    Betty is still remembered and revered at Dragon*Con, which hosts an annual Betty Page Look-Alike contest, so you are not alone.

  52. #52 Brian's A Wild Downer
    December 12, 2008

    Well what i TRIED to say before was that i’m 25 and have been a fan of hers for about 9 years. But then I was also listening to Elvis on my iPod before my finals today.

  53. #53 ggab
    December 12, 2008

    The legendary Dave Stevens is responsible for her more recent fame. He’s the artist that did the Rocketeer comics, and several pin-up illustrations of her.
    He had thought that she died years before (as was the rumour at the time). When he found out that she was still around, and not in good health, he decided to spend a significant amount of his time taking care of her.
    Unfortunately, he passed away from cancer recently (far too young).
    Perhaps she had a hard time with him gone. He had been taking care of her for quite some time.

  54. #54 AlanWCan
    December 12, 2008

    So she was well and truly schizophrenic when she was born again and hooked up with Billy Graham? That’s a pretty common story. mental illness…new found religion. Funny that.

  55. #55 Ian
    December 12, 2008

    I thought she got much more popular after her time. So yea, 24 and know of her.

  56. #57 negentropyeater
    December 12, 2008

    Born in 1964, French, her name rang a bell but I didn’t know what she was famous for.

  57. #58 Scott
    December 12, 2008

    40 years old, and I was aware of her. Her photos are fascinating — the combination of sexuality, innocence, and joy has probably never been matched so perfectly.

  58. #59 Ragutis
    December 12, 2008

    Don’t feel old, PZ. I’m 37 and not only know who Bettie was, but knew that today would’ve been Frank Sinatra’s 93rd birthday. (Listening to him w/Tommy Dorsey now, actually)

    As you said though, reaching 85 and being an influence and icon for several generations is a pretty good score to end the game with.

    And yeah, I’m sure a lot of the younger set know about her, at least indirectly, by her influence on Dita Von Teese, nu-burlesque and the various aspects of retro, goth, and punk subcultures.

  59. #60 Cruithne
    December 12, 2008

    I discovered Betty Page through the comic books of Dave Stevens, comics like The Rocketeer.
    Sadly, Dave also passed away earlier this year at the tragically young age of 52.

  60. #61 AL Jeremy
    December 12, 2008

    Do I know who she is? Let’s see, I have a metal Bettie Page lunch box sitting above my computer. I also have a Bettie Page alarm clock that someone gave me for my birthday some years ago. Then there’s the calendar from 1975 (my birth year) where Page is the June (my birth month) photo that my mom’s boss gave me last year.

  61. #62 senecasam
    December 12, 2008

    I’m older than I’d like to admit – and a big fan of Bettie Page.

    She was the epitome of sexy.

  62. #63 jj
    December 12, 2008

    24 here – I remember about 3 years ago I bought my girlfriend a the time a Zippo lighter with Betty Page on it, she loved her, probably more than me.

  63. #64 the pro from dover
    December 12, 2008

    I am familiar with “Playboy”, but I never read any of the articles.

  64. #65 catta
    December 12, 2008

    28 years old, and have had photos of her on my wall for nigh on ten years. Not knowing who she was (or even thinking she was a fictional character) isn’t so much a sign of youth, I think. It’s more likely to be a result of her not allowing any photographs after her retirement. In current celebrity culture, that pretty much is the same as not existing, being dead or being entirely fictional.

  65. #66 Curt Cameron
    December 12, 2008

    I’m 47 and had never heard of her before she died. Pity.

  66. #67 Mike Rondeau
    December 12, 2008

    I’m 31 and I heard of here when I was around 8.I found a picture of here in my dad’s room. I have been a fan since.

  67. #68 c
    December 12, 2008

    45 here. I first became aware of Bettie Page from a LIFE magazine from the 60’s or 70’s.

  68. #69 Azdak
    December 12, 2008

    Old? Nah. Just up on your pin-up trivia. If you remember Dorothy Stratten’s death, then you’re old. Jayne Mansfield’s? Ancient.

  69. #70 Duae Quartunciae
    December 12, 2008

    I’d never heard of her, and I’m nearly 50. Ah well.

  70. #71 Azdak
    December 12, 2008

    Oh, and I should state, for the record, that I carefully chose my criteria in #68 so as to ensure that I still feel young — at the expense of some of you, to be sure.

  71. #72 Joseph Peacock
    December 12, 2008

    Here in Las Vegas, we have a Bettie Page store in one of the malls. I’m not sure if it’s a chain, or if there are any others around the world. The store sells all kinds of pin-up materials, paraphernalia, kitsch, memorabilia, anything they can sell that’s Bettie or pinup themed. It’s a pretty cool place, but I know I look like an out-of-place weirdo going there.

  72. #73 mothwentbad
    December 12, 2008

    26, and I know who she is.

  73. #74 Fiat Lex
    December 12, 2008

    Heck, I’m 25 and I know who she is, and so did most of the people I went to high school with. Mostly because her photos are still super-sexy but retro enough that people’s parents didn’t throw them out. :)

    I still have a cigarette case with a Bettie Page print on it, in fact. She was a beautiful and admirable icon.

  74. #75 GregW
    December 12, 2008

    44 and got through high school and college with several of her pin-ups on locker/dorm doors.

  75. #76 Rey Fox
    December 12, 2008

    I know her, but I always assumed she died a long time ago. So does that make you feel old?

  76. #77 E.V.
    December 12, 2008

    Betty’s comprehensive body of work (NSFW) http://www.brian-davis.me.uk/Bettie/Myfiles/index.htm

  77. #78 Dr. Strangelove
    December 12, 2008

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0404802/

    The movie about Bettie from director Mary Harron and writer Guinevere Turner (“I Shot Andy Worhol” and “American Psycho”). Very good movie for those are interested in the lovely pin-up. The dvd has a good commentary track and a little 15min documentary on pin-ups. My library had a copy of it. Good Stuff.

  78. #79 ShadowWalkyr
    December 12, 2008

    I’ve known about Bettie Page since I was in my early teens (so, about twenty years now), but it was several years before I put the name to the image. And until I read your article, I didn’t know a thing about her history.

  79. #80 JJR
    December 12, 2008

    This 37 year old certainly knows who Bettie Page is; The original “American idol” if you will; America’s favorite pin-up girl. Too bad she “got religion” and went all god-botty in later life. Alas.

    Sort of like the career of writer John Dos Passos…I like the young, vibrant, socially aware & critical Dos Passos, and despise the older God-that-failed McCarthyite bastard he became.

  80. #81 Peter McKellar
    December 12, 2008

    I’m 50 years old, but have know of the Betty Page icon since I used to flick through playboys and penthouses at the local newsagent – at age 15. Playboy had a resident artist that did classic drawings of her.

    Anyone that isn’t aware of the ephemera of these people hasn’t studied history except in the textbooks. Gypsy Rose Lee claims she dragged the world out of The Great Depression and Mae West is both bad and better. A silent screen siren last seen in The Whales of August, somewhat ravaged by age was Lillian Gish. She was beautiful in her youth – prior to those self-sensorship laws hollywood imposed.

    Betty should be up there with Marilyn and I suspect will “oustrip” her – she seems to hark back to Art Deco days and Cate Blanchett’s look in the last Indiana Jones movie borrows from Betty’s look.

    These icons all pre-date me – so I commend those in their 20s that have taken the trouble to research some of these people. Remember too that these individuals were generally more interesting and colourful than the monarchs and politicians we learn about in school – and in the long run at least as influential.

  81. #82 Shamar
    December 12, 2008

    I’m only 26 and I am just dumbfounded by the number of people posting who don’t know much about who Betty Page was! She was a sexual icon in her day, and is still revered by many to this day as such. Betty Page, along with Alfred Kinsey and others were a huge part of the sexual revolution of the 60’s.

    Hell, I have a female friend who is younger than me that loves Bettie Page and collects every bit if Bettie Page merchandise that she can get her hands on.

    Have the rest of yall been living under a rock, or what?!?

  82. #83 Patrick
    December 12, 2008

    She’s a fixture at our house. Magnets, pictures, posters, videos, etc and will continue to be. Shame she’s gone. Oh, we’re mid to late 20’s…

  83. #84 Jadehawk
    December 12, 2008

    You’d be surprised how many young people are familiar with her.

    ditto. the entire psychobilly subculture is firmly grounded in the 50’s, and a lot of the clothing is based on her looks and style

  84. #85 Shobocop
    December 12, 2008

    Yeah, im 26 and i must say, she was pretty hot in her day!

  85. #86 Greta Christina
    December 12, 2008

    I definitely know Bettie. A very important person in my field.

    Bettie was sex- positive before we had a word for what that was. She was a role model for fetish pride, for taking pleasure in bodies and in sex, for women proudly and cheerfully claiming their sexuality… way the hell before it was cool. She was shameless — not the wild, defiant, “fuck you and your shame” Jezebel sort of shameless (which I’m also fond of, don’t get me wrong), but the sort of shameless that doesn’t even see what there is to be ashamed of. She was always smiling and playful and full of radiant joy. (And even after she found religion and quit modeling, she never disavowed her erotic and fetish work or treated it like it was something to be ashamed of.)

    A great lady. She will definitely be missed.

    (Oh, and for the record: I’m 46, turning 47 this month.)

  86. #87 A
    December 12, 2008

    Never heard of her before. But that’s because I’m from another country.

  87. #88 Neil
    December 12, 2008

    It’s funny…my brain is a magnet for pop-culture b.s. I know names of characters from current television shows and the actors that play them, and I don’t even watch t.v.
    Bettie Page is way more than the usual pop-culture B.S. A joyful person who did great, campy work that still pushes buttons today. I love that such an innocent looking face can make so many people blush, even decades later.
    Needless to say, I’ve known of Bettie Page by image for most of my life, and by name since I stole my first Playboy at ten years old in 1983. One of the poster prints by Olivia is hanging, old and tattered, on my bedroom door.
    I thought knowing about Bettie Page was required knowledge, in the U.S. at least! If not, it should be!

  88. #89 Lago
    December 12, 2008

    Betty put quite a few young boys through puberty, and ’til this day I still think she is one of the sexiest women I have ever seen…

    Does anyone have pictures of Betty after the fact, when she became born again and all that? I heard an interview with her once, but it was audio only as she forbid cameras. Her voice was as rough as an old dirt road, and it was a shock to think of her beauty and hear that voice. I believe she was a heavy smoker…

  89. #90 Riker
    December 12, 2008

    27 here; know her.

    People were pecking around it, but not explicitly. The Hot Topic retail chain had a huge thing to do with her pop culture revival, at least within the upper-middle-class ‘goth’ Generation Y demographic.

  90. #91 Caveat
    December 12, 2008

    This is likely a repeat but you are younger than I am and I’d never heard of her until today.

  91. #92 Blake Stacey
    December 12, 2008

    Can I use this as one more reason to feel old?

    As perhaps the youngest SciBling (by a few months, I think), I need every scrap of maturity I can get.

  92. #93 GaryB
    December 12, 2008

    Sorry PZ, I was born in the ’50s and I’ve not heard of her. That may be because I’m Canadian and we’re usually a decade or so behind you guys.

  93. #94 omar
    December 12, 2008

    24 and yes, I’ve heard of her.

  94. #95 LisaJ
    December 12, 2008

    Sorry PZ, I was born in the ’50s and I’ve not heard of her. That may be because I’m Canadian and we’re usually a decade or so behind you guys.

    Hmmm, I’m Canadian too. Perhaps this is why I seem to be one of the only 20 somethings that have never heard of her. She sounds like a fantastic lady though, and it’s too bad that this is how I’ve first heard about her.

  95. #96 Ragutis
    December 12, 2008

    Aw, Damn. Van Johnson has died as well. 92 is pretty impressive, though. Guess I’ll go look and see if I still have “Thrill of a Romance”, “A Guy Named Joe”, or “Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo” on VHS somewhere.

    (Esther Williams in that bare-midriff dress in ToaR… mmmmm mmm.)

  96. #97 moo
    December 12, 2008

    This Canuck has oggle…cough …heard of her — I’m surprised that some have not.

  97. #98 Ragutis
    December 12, 2008

    Oh… maybe I should include a link…

    Van Johnson, Dead at 92

  98. #99 Nemo
    December 12, 2008

    I (39) was long familiar with her, though I was surprised to find out she only died today. My mother (72) said she never heard of her. (I decided not to explain her.)

  99. #100 Kurt Greenwood
    December 12, 2008

    I think the amazing thing about Bettie Page is that, even after all these years, her pictures are still so hot that they make me want to play with myself – nobody else from back then has that effect on me.

  100. #101 SC
    December 12, 2008

    21, and know of her.

  101. #102 SC, OM
    December 12, 2008

    SC @ #100,

    Please find another moniker. SC is taken. Thanks. :)

  102. #103 John Morales
    December 12, 2008

    Lago @88,

    Does anyone have pictures of Betty after the fact, when she became born again and all that

    Try google images; I found this at the first try.

  103. #104 bendyball
    December 12, 2008

    I am 41 and I have several books featuring her.

  104. #105 FastLane
    December 12, 2008

    Not only do I know who she is, I did a drawing of her, from a photo, when I was a senior in high school (1986).

    Let’s just say that copies of the drawing were very popular amongst my friends. ;-)

  105. #106 David
    December 12, 2008

    Just when I think 2008 can’t get any worse, news like this pops up. I’m only 30, but I think you’d had to have led a WAY too sheltered life to never have heard of Bettie Page.

  106. #107 Blind Squirrel FCD
    December 12, 2008

    OMG! Womens got hair down there? Who knew?

  107. #108 Mr Twiddle
    December 12, 2008

    Any boy who grew up in the 50’s knows who Bettie Page was….gee ain’t science fun?

  108. #109 Strider
    December 12, 2008

    I didn’t think we were that far apart life stage wise but I’ve never ‘eard of ‘er.

  109. #110 Chakolate
    December 12, 2008

    I’d never heard of her, but I’d definitely seen her. Never knew her name.

    I’m a 56 y o female, if that matters.

  110. #111 Robin
    December 12, 2008

    I’ve been well aware of Bettie for most of my adult life.

    And I’m a big ‘mo.

    But, even being a ‘mo, I can appreciate Bettie for what she was. Before she got all fucked up with religion, that is.

  111. #112 Holydust
    December 12, 2008

    I’m pretty sure no one else has mentioned this, but Bettie was also known for her historic photo shoot with an African-American man on a beach. Until then, I believe there’d really been no biracial sexy photography (whatever the best terminology is!). She talked about it on a radio interview I heard with her about seven or eight years ago. It was sweet the way she talked about it. She really did have this amazing innocence that was just like, “I don’t see what the big deal is”. I think the way that her life went was just a sign of the times.

    She’ll always be an icon, not just for how she looked on film, but for her spirit and all the barriers she broke down. Few people have had such a profound effect on me.

  112. #113 Parker
    December 12, 2008

    Never heard of her, but she is hawt.

  113. #114 MB
    December 12, 2008

    You’re my age – you are old.

  114. #115 antaresrichard
    December 12, 2008

    Van Johnson? Oh now I gotta get out the ball bearings and listen to Grieg’s “In the Hall of the Mountain King” for comfort. Sad to lose him as well.

  115. #116 Jeanette Garcia
    December 13, 2008

    I found some magazines hidden in my parents dresser drawer. Their pages featured pinups, all kinds of scantily clad girls, but one stood out for me, Betty Page. I thought she was the most beautiful woman in the world, and although I was barely pubescent at the time, I longed to look just like Betty Page when I grew up. RIP Betty.

  116. #117 Ryan F Stello
    December 13, 2008

    Amongst most of everyone here, I guess I’m a whippersnapper at 28, and I’ve heard of her.

    I was just a tinge saddened that no news agency ran a recent photo (thanks PixelFish #25, for the 2003 pic), but I guess everyone has that one thing in their life that will be referenced for the rest of your life.

    And what a thing that was. Grrr-aw!

  117. #118 Jenny Ashford
    December 13, 2008

    I’m 36 and I’ve known who she was for ages. She’s always been something of a goth/rockabilly icon, especially with that black hair with the bangs that so many goth chicks do (including myself). I even have a calendar of her, and an alarm clock with one of Olivia’s airbrush portraits of her on it. My 23-year-old brother has a bowling shirt with her on it, and a poster of her holding a whip. She was such a beautiful girl and seemed happy and sweet from the short glimpses of her I’ve seen on old promo films by Irving Klaw. She will be greatly missed at my house! :-(

  118. #119 jck
    December 13, 2008

    I discovered Bettie in the early 70’s when I saw an Irving Klaw photo in one of my dad’s Playboys. I thought, “holy shit! There’s a whole world I know nothing about!”

  119. #120 Rallymodeller
    December 13, 2008

    Used to date a girl who had a big Bettie tattoo on her back. Looked kinda like bomber nose art. It was cool.

    Then she found god.

    Bummer.

  120. #121 Josie
    December 13, 2008

    I’m only 21, and I know who she is. . . But my mom didn’t. Huh.

  121. #122 DLC
    December 13, 2008

    Odd how a woman can go from sexual icon to religious nut like that. but still, she was definitely something to look at.

  122. #123 LUFTRITTER
    December 13, 2008

    I’m 28 and I knew her thourough drawings in comics.

    Then a saw the photos. She was gorgeous. One of the most beautiful women that ever lived.

  123. #124 brandon
    December 13, 2008

    Bettie’s, erm, corpus was amazing. I was unaware of her born-againish. But it’s a shame she’s gone.

  124. #125 Crudely Wrott
    December 13, 2008

    So many references to how old or how young one is.

    Joy, beauty, happiness and unmistakable allure are (or in my twisted mind, ought to be) a ground state. Near the norm. To be otherwise is the exception.

    This lady has always been with us and she remains welcome as time goes by.

  125. #126 Cliff Hendroval
    December 13, 2008

    50, knew of her, but only because of her cachet among retro-hipsters – certainly didn’t know about her while I was growing up.

  126. #127 CortxVortx
    December 13, 2008

    My older brother had the Playboy magazine that featured her. I was 9 or 10 at the time. I will always remember those bangs.

  127. #128 XymbionicX
    December 13, 2008

    Im 48 and had never heard of her, but I am from the UK and us brits dont do sex – the only thing we have that gets stiff is our upper lip lol

  128. #129 JulesRynae
    December 13, 2008

    I was born in ’79 and I know who Bettie Page is – if anyone has never heard of her or seen her iconic posters, they have been living in a cave.

  129. #130 Wendy
    December 13, 2008

    Born in ’84, and she was sooooo fiiiine……

  130. #131 Zeno
    December 13, 2008

    Bettie Page appears to have achieved a late life renascence. One of my college students (late teen or early tween) was sporting a T-shirt with a voluptuous female figure on it. I didn’t immediately recognize it, but I felt comfortable enough with the student to ask: “Is that a Vargas pin-up or a Petty girl?” He shook his head, perhaps a bit disappointed in me: “No, it’s Bettie Page.” I wasn’t playacting when I nodded my head, because I had certainly heard of her before, but I was surprised that my student was a fan. It seems clear that Bettie Page is an enduring icon.

  131. #132 Nick Gotts
    December 13, 2008

    I’d never heard of her. Following PZ’s link, her life as a whole is a pretty sad story (being “born again”, three divorces, paranoid schizophrenia), and I don’t get what makes her “an icon of the sexual revolution”. Pin-up photos are almost as old as photography.

  132. #133 Anonymous Coward
    December 13, 2008

    Don’t know her. But then, I live under a rock in the Netherlands. I won’t divulge my age, except to say that all the young people haven’t fully given up convincing me that I’m not old yet. Anyway, I watched a few clips and all I thought was ‘Was dat ‘t nou?’ I’m severely underwhelmed. She was not particularly sexy and to those of you who say she wasn’t trashy: well, I think she was, a bit more than slightly so.

  133. #134 PennyBright
    December 13, 2008

    Heh. I’m another 30-something with a Bettie-crush. A lot of us younger folks are familiar with Bettie Page. We like Veronica Lake, too. Certainly everyone in my cohort in college (late 90’s) was familiar with Bettie. Veronica was a little less popular. Of course, we were also a bunch of queer alternative religious free-thinker types.

    Weirdly, I’ve encountered a fair number of older people (50+) who claim to never have heard of either.

  134. #135 Ancient Brit
    December 13, 2008

    I hit 55 this year, and I’m pretty certain that I’d never heard of her until a few years ago, when I watched the movie The Notorious Bettie Page – but then I’m an ancient Brit, and we tend to forget our own history on a regular basis, let alone anyone else’s…

  135. #136 Salvatore Patrone
    December 13, 2008

    Betty was wonderful.

    I don’t think age is factor for knowing of her, as much as lifestyle is.
    Film majors/video store clerks, punk/rockabilly types, and pop culture junkies have worshipped her for years. Stores on South St. Philadelphia (where people went before Hot Topic), have sold merchandise featuring her since the 80’s.
    She’s an icon of American alternative culture.

  136. #137 gburnett
    December 14, 2008

    Oh yes, I have a coffee-table book of her photos. She was a real breath of fresh air, even if she did develop a theonoma in her later years. Oh, and I’m 39, so I’m getting up there.

  137. #138 Alex
    December 14, 2008

    Treating a human being like this… *sigh* fuck you PZ.

  138. #139 Tom S. Fox
    December 15, 2008

    PZ, I had no idea you were into this kind of stuff.

  139. #140 Pockets
    December 15, 2008

    I know who she is (27) and when I first met my wife one of the things that struck me was her full size poster hiding behind the door.

  140. #141 Rob Sparling
    December 15, 2008

    26 here and I’ve known who Bettie Page was for years. There’s a few great documentaries about her (HBO ran one a few years ago) and a decent Bio Flick called The Notorious Bettie Page starring Gretchen Mol. E! True Hollywood ran a piece on her that actually got her found again. Dark Horse Comics also has a graphic novel or two.

  141. #142 Zeekster
    December 15, 2008

    This 27-year-old reader is a big fan.

  142. #143 marilove
    December 15, 2008

    I’m only 27 but have known about her since I can remember….

  143. #144 OrchidGrowinMan
    December 15, 2008

    Late to the party, but I just drove past Seattle’s famous Betty Page House. It’s next to the main N-S freeway, and has been written-up in the paper, complete with an interview with the artist, but a pic is enough: http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/rnr/955947773.html

  144. #145 sarcozona
    December 17, 2008

    She’s still an icon for us young queer femmes :)

  145. #146 Skyeler
    December 22, 2008

    I knew who she was. I’m 21 years old but Betti has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember and allways will.

  146. #147 amanda
    December 25, 2008

    hah, im 19 years old and ive heard of her, i love Bettie, i have pictures of her all over my room.

  147. #148 ti.eastman
    February 14, 2010

    There will be plenty to learn about Bettie when her authorized documentary — her parting gift to fans — comes out during the second half of 2010. Meanwhile, check out the film’s website and Forum: http://www.bettiepagemovie.com

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