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Pinup queen Bettie Page dead at 85

December 11, 2008 |  7:03 pm

Bettie's pen

Bettie Page, the brunet pinup queen with a shoulder-length pageboy hairdo and kitschy bangs whose saucy photos helped usher in the sexual revolution of the 1960s, has died. She was 85.

Page, whose later life was marked by depression, violent mood swings and several years in a state mental institution, died at a Los Angeles hospital where she had been on life support since she had a heart attack on Dec. 2, according to her agent, Mark Roesler. A cult-culture figure, Page was most famous for the estimated 20,000 4-by-5-inch black-and-white glossy photographs taken by amateur shutterbugs from 1949 to 1957.

“Exactly what captures the imagination of people in terms of popular culture is something hard to define,” Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner once said of Page. “But in Bettie’s case, I’d say it’s a combination of wholesome innocence and fetish-oriented poses that is at once retro and very modern.”

--Louis Sahagun

Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times