Pinup model and early fetish icon Bettie Page passed away on Thursday in Los Angeles. She was 85.
Much has been written about the pioneering pinup model whose innocent looks and killer body was the subject of numerous controversial photos in the '60s. She always seemed like the girl next door, even when brandishing a whip in her later S&M poses. Her photos eventually found their way into Playboy in 1955.
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"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," Playboy founder Hugh Hefner told The Associated Press on Thursday. "She was a very dear person."
Bettie vanished from the public eye and later renounced her iconic photos. She eventually granted interviews, but did not allow her photo to be taken.
"I don't want to be photographed in my old age," she told an interviewer in 1998. "I feel the same way with old movie stars. ... It makes me sad. We want to remember them when they were young."
It's possible that you are not familiar with her name, but chances are you are familiar with her image. (Check out Yahoo's slideshow for some great pics. ) She's the model for every pinup tattoo you've seen on LA Ink and her image can be found on everything from refrigerator magnets to guitars. Hard to believe that such a nostalgic image was ever considered scandalous, but it's true.
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It's difficult to describe how important Bettie was to American sexuality, especially at a time when you can turn on network TV at 8 o'clock and find some fairly graphic sexual portrayals. She radiated joy and promise, but also showed that there was a darker side waiting to break free. In a nutshell, she was post-war America. All promise and prosperity, just waiting to break free and discover what it was really capable of. RIP Bettie.