Bettie Page, a 1950s pinup known internationally for her raven-haired bangs and saucy come-hither looks, and a Fetish Icon the world over for her open and new posture on sexuality, was identified as in a coma in intensive care after suffering a heart attack.
The secretary-turned-model was admitted to hospital last month, suffering from pneumonia. She had a heart attack while there and never regained consciousness.
Page is credited with helping set the stage for the sexual revolution of the rebellious 1960s. She attracted national attention with magazine photographs of her sensuous figure that were tacked up on walls across the country. She featured in posters and photographs.
However not everyone was happy with the pictures. Some US lawmakers were concerned they amounted to pornography and subpoenaed Page to testify at a congressional hearing, although in the end she never had to appear.
Bettie Mae Page was born in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1923. Her career took off after an amateur photographer in New York asked her to pose for pictures in 1950. Her photos included a centerfold in the January 1955 issue of then-fledgling Playboy magazine, as well as controversial sadomasochistic poses.
Playboy founder Hugh Hefner called her a “very dear person”
“I think that she was a remarkable lady, an iconic figure in pop culture who influenced sexuality, taste in fashion, someone who had a tremendous impact on our society,” Hefner was quoted as saying.
Page later spent decades away from the public eye, and during that time battled illness. She was married three times but had no children.
After resurfacing in the 1990s, she occasionally granted interviews but refused to allow her picture to be taken.Looking back on her career, she told Playboy in 1998: “I never thought it was shameful. I felt normal. It’s just that it was much better than pounding a typewriter eight hours a day, which gets monotonous.”
The announcement came late Friday Night.
“With deep personal sadness I must announce that my dear friend and client Bettie Page passed away at 1841 this evening in a Los Angeles hospital,” her agent Mark Roesler said.
“She captured the imagination of a generation with her free spirit and unabashed sensuality”, he said. “She is the embodiment of beauty”.