Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Bettie Page

I don't usually incorporate people into the cult phenomenon, but there's no denying that some people throughout history have a huge cult following. One of the biggest and certainly one of the most beautiful is the lovely lovely Ms. Bettie Page. Bettie was born in Nashville Tennessee into a poor and abusive household. She left Tennessee for the bright lights of New York with hopes and dreams of becoming a great actress. She won a few beauty contests, but unfortunately fame as an actress eluded her. While walking on the beach one day, she was spotted by an off duty police officer named Jerry Tibbs with a hobby in photography. After doing some modeling for him, they became friends. He also suggested that she change her hairstyle by adding bangs. This style would become her lifelong trademark. Soon she began modeling for local camera clubs and was eventually introduced to Irving Klaw and his sister Paula. The Klaws ran a very successful photography and modeling operation that produced celebrity photographs as well as their own photos using hired models. The Klaws also specialized in a new form of fantasy photography including various forms of bondage. As risque' as this was at that time (mid 50's) Bettie seemed unconcerned and was quite comfortable with this form of modeling. Because of these photos, Bettie began to gain some attention in the modeling world as somewhat of a dominatrix. This couldn't have been farther from the truth. After all, it was just modeling and it was all pretend. To quote Bettie herself "I've never whipped anyone in my life!" Paula did the tying up and always made sure that the ropes were loose and comfortable. In the 1950's, bondage was still seen as a taboo and soon Irving and Paula Klaw were facing some distribution difficulties. Bettie loved the beach and when things got a little hectic in New York, she would always return to her beloved Florida. While there, she met another photographer named Bunny Yeager who was a rising star in photography side of the modeling world. From this union came some of the most famous of Bettie Page photos. She even made the prestigious centerfold of Playboy, a magazine that was very new and very classy. Bettie was the second Playboy model ever (Marilyn Monroe was the first). Although Bettie gained much notoriety for her cheesecake, burlesque and bondage shots, fame (as an actress) and fortune continued to elude her. After a few close calls with stalkers and the lost enthusiasm from the continuation of non-profit modeling. Bettie Page called it quits and disappeared... literally. No one really knew what happened to the missing pin-up queen. Rumors were that she had committed suicide, was rubbed out by the mob, etc. etc. The truth was far less shocking. Bettie had moved to Florida permanently and tried marriage and family (children from her husbands previous marriage, Bettie never had any children of her own). She also gave her life over to God and became a Christian Missionary for many years. She didn't just keep a low profile, she quite literally had disappeared entirely from the public eye. For years and years, no one knew what had become of Ms. Bettie Page. And although she had vanished, her pictures had not. Unbeknownst to Bettie, a huge cult following was evolving around her. Her pictures became more and more popular and her fame continued to grow at a rapid pace. Paintings, post cards, calendars, statues... soon Ms. Page was everywhere and more adored than any model in history.. After decades of seclusion, Bettie was finally located by the show "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous". She lives in an undisclosed location in California with her brother Jimmie. When she was rediscovered, Bettie had absolutely no idea that she had become so famous and was actually quite shocked. She's 84 years old now and prefers to stay out of the public eye, wanting only to remain the young beautiful woman she left on film so many years ago.

Dear Cult fans, It's with deep sorrow that I bring some terribly sad news. The eternally beautiful Ms. Bettie Page has passed away. About nine days ago, Ms. Page suffered a heart attack and was hospitalized. She never regained consciousness and was taken off life support at 6:41 EST Thursday December 11th, 2008. A private ceremony will be held this Tuesday, December 16th, 2008 at an undisclosed location. She will be laid to rest in Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles. Anyone who took the time to get to know the real Bettie Page (beyond their own masturbatory fantasies) knew that she was as beautiful on the inside as she was on the outside. A beautiful soul through and through, she will be deeply missed by so very many. On a lighter note, we all know how religious Bettie was and I find great comfort in knowing that she finally gets to meet Him. On a personal note... I love you Bettie, rest in peace, beautiful.

1 comment:

Cultfiend said...

It's a sad sad day in the life of Bettie Page admirers. Ms. Page died last night, Thursday December 11th, 2008, of natural causes. She was 85 years old, unfortunately not fulfilling her dream to live to be 100 years old. A turbulent yet delightfully innocent life has ended, but I truly believe that Bettie would want to be celebrated for the joy she brought so many and not mourned, for she is at peace with her maker. R.I.P. Bettie, we'll always love you.