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Bettie Page - American Icon

Updated on December 9, 2013

"It makes me feel wonderful that people still care for me... that I have so many fans among young people...." -- Bettie Page

Bettie Page was an artist's model whose all-American good looks and perky smile made her an icon.  Her image has moved into the realm of pop culture and continues to be an influence decades after her peak working years and retirement.

Bettie Page, from the girl next door to popular icon

Bettie Page was just a simple girl from Tennessee. She'd had dreams of being an actress and moved to New York in an attempt to pursue those dreams. She turned to modeling as a better way to support herself after doing secretarial work while she worked towards the theater.

She started modeling for camera clubs, which were private groups that didn't publish pictures and then started doing magazine features as she became more popular. Her photo shoot with Florida photographer Bunny Yeager in the mid 1950s catapulted both of them to fame and Hugh Hefner featured her in Playboy magazine shortly thereafter. It's said that Bettie was photographed even more than Marilyn Monroe.

Betty herself was never really that dark, other than her hair-color. No matter what she did, she still projected an aura of innocence and fun, like what she was doing was perfectly normal, even when it was getting tied up or having a staged cat fight with another model.

However, one of the main jobs that paid her bills and made her famous was her modeling for Irving Klaw. He produced fetish photographs and sold them via mail-order. Bettie can be seen getting dressed in fantastic fetish heels, getting tied up, or having a cat fight in his images. As much as her mainstream work in magazines like Playboy got her broad attention, in the 40s and 50s, she was the Queen of the fetish underground.

Eventually, Klaw was investigated for obscenity, which ruined his business. Bettie herself was investigated and although no charges were brought against her, her growing religious side and the rumors that she had actually appeared in a sexually-explicit film was what made her retired in the late 1950s.

Bettie Page History

Here are some books that talk about Bettie's life story. You can also get the DVD of the movie "The Notorious Bettie Page" which was released theatrically in mid-2006.

Bettie Page Rarities and Collectibles

Vintage photos and pin-ups of Bettie are what her fans favor most. Remember, due to the time period, all genuine photos are going to be black and white.

Bettie & Bunny

In 1954, Bettie first met photographer Bunny Yeager. By that time, Page was the top model in NYC. Yeager, who had been a beauty queen and model herself, was branching out into creating the images and not just posing for them.

The two ladies created many images which truly propelled Page's modelling career and it was Yeager's pictures that captured the attention of Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner.

The ones which really stood out where taken at a now-defunct tourist/safari park called Africa USA, where Bettie posed nude with a pair of cheetahs.

image © Bunny Yeager

Rest In Peace, Bettie Page

April 22, 1923 - December 11, 2008

In December 2007, Bettie came down with pneumonia and a kidney condition and was hospitalized. She became well enough to be released to a nursing home in January. She celebrated her 85th birthday in April 2008.

Then in the fall of 2008, Bettie was back in the hospital again, enduring several weeks of pneumonia. She suffered a heart attack on December 2nd and passed on Thursday December 11th. A family spokesperson stated that memorial services for Bettie took place on Tuesday December 16th and that she was laid to rest "near Marilyn Monroe."

Here is a photo of Bettie at 80, taken during a signing event.

Bettie Videos

Bettie made everything she did seem cute, sexy and fun. Here she is doing a few fully-clothed dance routines.

Also here is the trailer for the movie made about her in 2006, The Notorious Bettie Page, starring Gretchen Mol.

Do you love Bettie Page? Share your thoughts and comments with other fans!

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    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Enjoyed your lens. All Bettie Page fans should watch the movie The Notorious Bettie Page.

    • profile image

      Edutopia 6 years ago

      Great lens. She has had an undeniable impact on American pop culture and this lens is a great homage to her.

    • profile image

      Beepopalula 6 years ago

      I'm a Bettie Page Fan. I ever wear her bangs ! XD. Love your lens !

    • mysticmama lm profile image

      Bambi Watson 9 years ago

      Vert cool lens...I've been a Betty Page fan for years...thanks for the lens 5*

    • profile image

      Oosquid 9 years ago

      Betty was the absolute best. I was sad to read of her passing.

    • profile image

      iron1 9 years ago

      This is one of my favorite lenses of all time!

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      fantastic lens, she's an icon!

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      anonymous 10 years ago

      Hi, my name is Daniela, from Italy.

      i really like this web site, and I love Her haircut. she's sublime. best wishes for her health.bye.


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      thomasz 10 years ago

      Interesting lens. Nice info.