Bettie Page : biography
In a late-1990s interview, Page stated she would not allow any current pictures of her to be shown because of concerns about her weight. However, in 1997, Page changed her mind and agreed to a rare television interview for the aforementioned E! True Hollywood Story/Page special on the condition that the location of the interview and her face not be revealed (she was shown with her face and dress electronically blacked out). In 2003, Page allowed a publicity picture to be taken of her for the August 2003 edition of Playboy. In 2006, the Los Angeles Times ran an article headlined A Golden Age for a Pinup, covering an autographing session at her current publicity company, CMG Worldwide. Once again, she declined to be photographed, saying that she would rather be remembered as she was.
In a 1998 interview with Playboy, she commented on her career:
Within the last few years, she had hired a law firm to help her recoup some of the profits being made with her likeness. According to MTV: "Katy Perry’s rocker bangs and throwback skimpy jumpers. Madonna’s Sex book and fascination with bondage gear. Rihanna’s obsession with all things leather, lace and second-skin binding. Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction. The SuicideGirls Web site. The Pussycat Dolls. The entire career of burlesque dancer Dita Von Teese" would not have been possible without Page., Pinup Bettie Page — Who Inspired Katy Perry, Madonna And Many More — Dies At Age 85, MTV December 12, 2008. Many rockabilly and gothic girls emulate Bettie’s hairstyle with the black blunt bangs. You can see Bettie’s hairstyle and timeless facial features emulated in many modern pin-up models, such as Bernie Dexter and Masuimi Max.
In 2011, her estate made the Forbes annual list of top-earning dead celebrities, earning $6 million and tied with the estates of George Harrison and Andy Warhol, at 13th on the list.
Years out of the spotlight
Photographer Sam Menning was the last person to photograph a pin-up of Page before her retirement.
On New Year’s Eve 1958, during one of her regular visits to Key West, Florida Page attended a service at what is now the Key West Temple Baptist Church. She found herself drawn to the multiracial environment and started to attend on a regular basis. She would in time attend three bible colleges, including the Bible Institute of Los Angeles, Multnomah School of the Bible in Portland, Oregon and, briefly, a Christian retreat known as "Bibletown", part of the Boca Raton Community Church, Boca Raton, Florida.
She dated industrial designer Richard Arbib in the 1950s. She then married Armond Walterson in 1958;[https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/VJKS-3J1 Florida, Marriage Index, 1927–2001]; volume: 1776; certificate number: 32899. Retrieved from FamilySearch 2012-01-28. they divorced in 1963.
During the 1960s, she attempted to become a Christian missionary in Africa, but was rejected for having had a divorce. Over the next few years she worked for various Christian organizations before settling in Nashville in 1963. She worked full-time for Rev. Billy Graham.
She briefly remarried Billy Neal, her first husband, who helped her to gain entrance into missionary work; however, the two divorced again shortly thereafter. She returned to Florida in 1967, and married again, to Harry Lear,[https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/VJDM-ZRV Florida, Marriage Index, 1927–2001]; volume: 2493; certificate number: 4402. Retrieved from FamilySearch 2012-01-28. but this marriage also ended in divorce in 1972.
She moved to Southern California in 1979. There she had a nervous breakdown and had an altercation with her landlady. The doctors who examined her diagnosed her with acute schizophrenia, and she spent 20 months in a state mental hospital in San Bernardino, California. After a fight with another landlord she was arrested for assault, but was found not guilty by reason of insanity and placed under state supervision for eight years. She was released in 1992 from Patton State Hospital in San Bernardino County.