Infamous and Immortal: Miss Bettie Page

December 13, 2008

Bumped by Bettiebettie-small-100_0779

How would you feel if you emerged from a years-long stay in a mental hospital to find you were famous all over the world?  That those cootchiecoo pictures you made when you were a young woman in order to eat had rocketed you to immortality and fame? It happened.

What was it about her?  Sure, she was pretty, but so were a lot of other girls.  Sure, she was sexy, and posed nude, and in sexy costumes, but was that enough to rise to iconic status?  Watch this video, and you might begin to see why she captured our attention so vividly and permanently.  Like Marilyn, she had a healthy body and a natural sensuality that shone through the camera. Simultaneously sexy and awkward, charming and crude, natural and contrived, alluring and innocent, she was our Bettie.

ETA:  Okay, I notice the holiday snow, courtesy of WordPress, kind of detracts from the video, so here’s the direct link to YouTube:  Bettie

For another interpretation watch the movie The Notorious Bettie Page where she’s played by actress Gretchen Mol.  (Link courtesy of  Hulu.)

Even the word, “Bettie” is in our language now for a “classic pinup chick that is feminine and hot,” according to the Urban Dictionary.  My favorite images of her are those of artist Olivia de Berardinis. Like the thumbnail above, and this one, my favorite of all:


No, she didn’t have a tattoo, but she sure inspired many!  There’s a great one featured on the Needled blog. She also inspired many of us to play with toys, rock the rockabilly, and cut our bangs.


Here’s another person inspired by her beauty:  Beautiful Daughter No. 1, who has a line of jewelry called Wicked Gems, including the classic pinup poses featured here:  Wicked Gems on Etsy(She’s not taking any more orders until after Christmas, but you can still place them.  All orders contribute towards my old age nursing home expenses.) (Wink.)

bettie-4-il_155x12533166887I’m probably the last blogger in the universe to post a memorial to Bettie, but oh well.  Also, your regularly-scheduled weekly profile has been postponed due to the sad passing of Ms. Bettie Mae Page (sorry Chuck!).  Look for it tomorrow.

Images above are taken with my camera from my own Olivia book, Let Them Eat Cheescake. Thanks also to YouTube and Hulu.