For anyone who doesn’t know who Bettie Page is, she is best described as a former American model who became famous in the 1950’s for her pin-up photos and her fetish modeling. But to me, more famous than the who is the the look of Bettie Page.
The “Bettie Page style” is still seen today thanks to her cult following. Jet black hair that falls past the shoulders, very short, very straight bangs and bright red lipstick. Countless fashion designers and models are inspired by Bettie Page and try to capture the Bettie Page look which Playboy described as “suggesting forbidden fruit as well as apple pie”.
Bettie Page’s pin-ups were so taboo at the time that the United States Senate Committee launched an investigation into them. Then, just like that, Bettie Page was gone. No one knew what had happened. She simply disappeared. There were countless rumors about what had happened to Bettie Page. No one actually knew the truth until four decades later.
Bettie Page had secretly fled to New York and devoted her life to Jesus Christ. What she had wanted more than anything was privacy and anonymity. What wasn’t known until pretty recently was that while in New York, Bettie Page at the age of 58 was imprisoned for attempted murder. She was convicted of stabbing her roommate repeatedly with a knife while saying that God had inspired her to kill the roommate.
What is very interesting is that even though most of her pin-ups were destroyed around the time of the United States Senate Committee investigation and even though she basically dropped off the earth for 40 years, the Bettie Page legend and cult status is thriving. Bettie Page has become a living legend. There are countless comic book characters that resemble Bettie Page as well as contemporary artists who have immortalized her with their images.
It seems that due to all of the problems surrounding Bettie Pages earlier pin-ups she has been left with not much money to speak of. She, even at this very moment, is enduring countless legal battles. It has been said that Bettie Page is now surrounded by people who have her best interest in mind.
Is it Bettie or Betty?
While it reportedly says “Betty Mae Page” on her birth certificate, “Bettie” is the form that she has always used since she was a child (such as for signatures), so Bettie is therefore the preferred spelling.
However, whether due to oversight or for the sake of simplification, in her 1950’s photos and films she was often billed as “Betty Page.” So for Bettie or worse, today the two spellings are used more or less interchangeably.