Half supermodel and half B-movie starlet, Page was a readily recognizable face with her dark bangs. She also had a hidden personal history, but her popularity, while mysterious, is cult-like. I'm sure she would rather not cavort in skimpy bikinis or bondage motifs today at 82, but Bettie was rather fetching and dangerous-looking in her day. She recently gave an interview to the L.A. Times:
"Between 1949 and 1957 she was immortalized in thousands of saucy photos. Those images have spawned biographies, comic books, fan clubs and numerous websites, as well as commercial products — Bettie Page playing cards, Bettie Page lunch boxes, Bettie Page beach towels, Bettie Page action figures. According to her agents at CMG, who control the images of Marilyn Monroe and Princess Diana, Page's official website has received 588 million hits over the last five years. That's cult status. "And now a movie. If you want to see what commercial porn looked like before Hugh Hefner -- before it was even porn -- take a look at Bettie's photos.
"I don't know what they mean by an icon," she quotes herself at her own web site. "I never thought of myself as being that. It seems strange to me. I was just modeling, thinking of as many different poses as possible. I made more money modeling than being a secretary. I had a lot of free time. You could go back to work after an absence of a few months. I couldn't do that as a secretary."
The San Francisco Chronicle gives "The Notorious Bettie Page" a glowing review today.