Pinup model Bettie Page -- she was on more magazine covers than Cindy Crawford -- passed away yesterday.
I have long admired Miss Page's grit and positive attitude. Growing up poor and unappreciated, in circumstances for which "difficult" is an understatement, she was salutarian of her High School graduating class and went on to achieve a teaching degree, only to discover that at 5' 3" and wildly attractive, teaching High School students was next to impossible.
She stumbled into pinup work ten years older than most of her peers -- and thanks to good genes and healthy living, kept at it ten years later than most models, too. (Yes, boys, any time you see a photo of Bettie with an age listed, add a decade). Rather than be exploited, she undertook posing for pinups as a craft, one she worked at but never took too seriously; and that undoubtedly contributed to her enduring appeal.
Bon voyage, Bettie Page. There will forever be imitators but there's only one Bettie.
(Update: Dave Stevens, the artist who dreamed up The Rocketeer, also passed away this year, back in March. If the Disney film is all you've seen, the connection is that in the comic books, the Rocketeer's girlfriend is named "Bettie" and is very obviously Bettie Page. Another connection is, Dave led the effort to find Bettie in retirement and pay her royalties for the use of her image. ...At Dave Stevens website, I found his drawing of me. Not really, but after having been told by strangers for years that I look just like someone they know, I've finally seen her).
1. I also borrowed her trademark hairstyle, long ago, and have kept it ever since.
2. Don't scoff -- one of my H.S. English teachers was a near-twin of Marilyn Monroe and maintained control in the classroom only by dint of near-superhuman mind games.
4 months ago