Bettie Page

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Bettie Page : biography

April 22, 1923 – December 11, 2008

A compilation of her burlesque dancing performances from Striporama, Varietease, and Teaserama plus The Exotic Dances of Bettie Page (13 black-and-white dancing and cat-fight shorts) are on the Cult Epics DVD release Bettie Page: Pin Up Queen.

The DVD 100 Girls by Bunny Yeager (also by Cult Epics) is a documentary with behind-the-scenes footage on Yeager’s photo sessions with Page and other pin-up models. Page also appears in another set of Irving Klaw bondage reels in Bizarro Sex Loops, Volume 20, a collection of vintage fetish shorts produced by Something Weird Video.

Early life

Page was the second of six children born to Walter Roy Page and Edna Mae Pirtle. Accessed April 4, 2007. At a young age, Page had to face the responsibilities of caring for her younger siblings. Her parents divorced when she was 10 years old. (In the 1930 Census, a few weeks before Bettie’s 7th birthday, her mother Edna Pirtle Page was already listed as being divorced. After her father, whom Page would accuse of molesting her starting at age 13, was imprisoned, Page and her two sisters lived in an orphanage for a year. During this time, Page’s mother worked two jobs, one as a hairdresser during the day and washing laundry at night.

As a teenager, Page and her sisters tried different makeup styles and hairdos imitating their favorite movie stars. She also learned to sew. These skills proved useful years later for her pin-up photography when Page did her own makeup and hair and made her own bikinis and costumes. During her early years, the Page family traveled around the country in search of economic stability.

A good student and debate team member at Hume-Fogg High School, she was voted "Most Likely to Succeed". On June 6, 1940, Page graduated as the salutatorian of her high school class with a scholarship. She enrolled at George Peabody College, with the intention of becoming a teacher. However, the next fall she began studying acting, hoping to become a movie star. At the same time, she got her first job, typing for author Alfred Leland Crabb. Page graduated from Peabody with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1944.

In 1943, she married high school classmate Billy Neal in a simple courthouse ceremony shortly before he was drafted into the Navy for World War II.Cook, Kevin. , Playboy.com, p. 2, January 1998.[https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/VNZD-YN8 Tennessee, State Marriage Index, 1780–2002]; page: 282. Retrieved from FamilySearch 2012-01-28. For the next few years, she moved from San Francisco to Nashville to Miami and to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where she felt a special affinity with the country and its culture. In November 1947, back in the United States, she filed for divorce.