Where to start when talking about Bettie Page? Especially in her case, where a picture is worth a thousand words? I've decided to include the Queen of Pin-Ups on this site for her major influence on many actresses' career. Of course, Bettie never really shot any movie (although she participated in three burlesque musicals and many naughty short films), but is nonetheless revered by many fans around the world to this day.
I've been aware of Bettie's presence in this world for more than twenty years. Many moons ago, I collected the French magazine Métal Hurlant (who influenced my writing style, for better or worse... well, in French, anyway!), for its astounding art and for their incisive and biting critics. In a specific issue, a writer gave his impression on an American magazine published by Belier Press in 1980 which had as its subject an underground model of the fifties named Betty Page. She was introduced as "the most perfect female body ever photographed since the invention of the camera". Personally, I was moved by the black and white photograph included, especially her particular haircut, which I had seen in many comic books depicting beauteous femmes fatales with irresistible and lethal charm. At that point, I was aware of being introduced to an important living personality who had contributed to my inner imaginary world. In other words, Bettie Page had just made another victim.
Shortly after, I purchased an issue of Prevue magazine, published by artist Jim Steranko. Many pages of this publication offered the purchase of many books about cinema, actors, comics, models, etc. And in there, I saw a chance to buy a very slight book of Bettie Page photographs, for the outrageous sum at the time of $7.00 US! A fortune! I ordered two books and in a very short time, when received, I became a fan of fifties erotic art (especially when Bettie was involved, big surprise). Erotic is a fancy word to describe the naughty photographs of the time: nudity was more often than not suggested and not graphically shown, so forget about all the explicitness that would come years later. I still admire the type of female beauty in vogue at that time (as I'm an old fart with white in his beard), which can be described as "being built like a Coke bottle". I'd rather talk about Julie Newmar, Anita Ekberg, Jayne Mansfield or Sophia Loren than the anorexic "beauties" still common today.
And all this for what? To admit that with the vision of one photograph, The Mystery of Bettie Page would continue a tradition (that I predict is immortal): that of converting many fans without much persuasion. In reading the short bio included in my two mags, I was dismayed to realize that no one knew what had happened to Miss Page at the time (it was really not known if she was still alive). A popular rumor insisted that she had become a born again Christian and was praying for her soul since the late fifties. Nothing very convincing, so I remained chagrined that this unique individual, on whom I marveled on her tremendous influence, had vanished. And I was not alone, as you'll note later on. The road to tracking down Bettie Page would be a long one for Greg Theakston and I'll return to it in the last part of this bio. So, this is the life of Bettie, as we know it now.
WARNING: Bettie Page herself made it clearly known that the right spelling of her name is really B-E-T-T-I-E, and not B-E-T-T-Y, even if it's the later than was most in use during her modelling career. To honor the good woman, the word "Bettie" is the choice made for this text.
Bettie Mae Page was born on April 22, 1923, in Nashville, Tennessee, the second child of six. Being the eldest girl, Bettie found herself in charge of the youngest, as her parents' finances remained precarious, the family moving frequently. Edna Mae Pirtle and Walter Roy Page were at odds with each other, apparently from failure to agree on the frequence of their sexual activities (he wanted more, she less). With the climate of the Great Depression in the United States, Roy's skills as a mechanic were not much in demand. Without a job, the Pages were thrown out of their rented house in Tulsa, without a penny. The father decided to steal a car to drive his large family at his mother's, thus going back to Tennessee. He would be arrested the next day, unaware that he had chosen the local sheriff's personal automobile! He would serve time in an Atlanta jail for the next two years.
The Page clan finally reached grandma's house and stayed there till Roy got out of prison in 1931. A farm would be purchased with their meagre savings. So poor were they that the children didn't even have shoes for school. All this took an even more disturbing turn when the parents eventually divorced (as it was discovered that Roy had a pregnant 15-years old mistress!), with Edna working day and night to feed the kids. All this back-breaking work would not suffice: at the age of 10, Bettie and her two sisters became guests at an orphanage, their mother visiting on Sundays, for the next two years.
Soon after Bettie's thirteenth birthday, Roy Page appeared once again, broke as usual. He rented a room in the basement of the house where his family lived. In the next months, he would sexually abuse his eldest daughter. Bettie was too ashamed to confide in anyone. She decided to find refuge in her studies, constantly having a book open before her eyes. Her mother's hysterical religious sermons (mainly on the sin of lust) were not very helpful.
As many young girls of this era, Bettie and her sisters found refuge in wearing hearstyles and makeup like the movie stars they admired, to forget their difficult existence. This inspired Bettie to learn how to sew, a talent that would become useful later. In fact, she was an excellent student and soon became editor of her high school's newspaper. She prefered to be involved in various student activities rather than to be at home and be bothered by her family. She was considered "most likely to succeed". Ironicaly, being the most popular girl in school meant being a solitary invididual, her mother having forbidden any relationships with boys. Of course, one of them became more interested: Billy Neal, two years older than Bettie, but academically one year late. They began a secret liaison, going to the movies or dance halls.
A week before graduation day, Bettie's mom found all about the couple and forbided Bettie to ever see Billy again. A violent quarrel followed, which inspired Bettie to go live with her father, who had remarried. On June 6, 1940, Bettie graduated, honored with a trust fund of $100 (!!!) and she enrolled for Peabody College, with the goal of learning to be a teacher. The next fall, Bettie began to learn dramatic arts, with the faint hope of becoming a movie star. She also found her first job, typing the manuscripts of author Alfred Leland Crabb.
When Japan bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941, Billy became a perfect candidate for Uncle Sam. He freaked out when thinking of what would happen to his Bettie while he would see action overseas. He was in fact jealous of his girlfriend being more bright than he, and couldn't stand other guys looking at her. He constantly insisted on a wedding, which finally took place on February 1943 in a civil ceremony, an union that Bettie regretted that very first day.
After college, Bettie became a teacher in 1944. She qualified that decision as being a complete disaster, her disrespectful male students more interested in flirting with their brand-new innocent 21-years old teach! Discouraged, Bettie uncharacteristically decided to participate in the Miss Tennesse Pageant, where she came in second place. She followed Billy in San Francisco, where he would leave the next month for army duty. Easily getting another secretarial job, Bettie continued to fix herself some clothes.
In 1945, she met Art Grayson, who introduced himself as a former silent movie director. Involved in a publicity agency, he urged Bettie to contact somebody at Twentieth Century-Fox for a project that he heard about. After sending some pictures of herself, she would receive an offer for the illustrious studio to come to Los Angeles. Soon after arrival, Bettie was disappointed in the way they made her up, but shot a screen test anyway, where her Southern speech patterns couldn't be more evident. She became victim of the casting couch, where a producer offered her a part if she... Horrifided, she left the studio, knowing fully well that this chance could be the only one.
Back in San Francisco, Bettie began to take courses in modelling and eventually would model for a furmaker, parading before potential clients. Again, she came second for another beauty contest, winning $50 in war bonds. A more paying job for a clothing company soon followed.
In April 1946, Bettie confessed to her returning husband Billy that, well, she didn't love him anymore. She had enjoyed a short-lived relationship with another soldier, that of which Billy was suspicious of and which turned him mad. A month after, she would announce that she was pregnant. Billy denied any part in the creation of this child and left for Nashville. Oddly, he would constantly write to her, begging her to come join him. Bettie would finally accept, after rejecting an offer from Warner Brothers. But family life didn't see an improvement, as Bettie would lose the infant.
Believe it or not, she again left Billy to go to Miami, officially asking for a divorce. She seized an opportunity to work in Haiti as a secretary, where she lived four months, forgetting all racial prejudice that she was accustomed to in the South of her young years. Seems that she even assisted to a voodoo ceremony! Back in Miami, Bettie worked at a night-club for the first time, alongside comedian Jackie Whalen. With $50 bucks in her pocket, she decided to try her luck in New York, where a new medium was making waves: television.
In 1947, Bettie arrived in Manhattan, easily finding office work. Soon after, a stranger asked her to come dancing with him. Naively, she agreed. Shortly, she found herself in a deserted alley with five guys intending to abuse her. She claimed that this was her time of the month: they bargained for oral sex. Bettie returned home hysterical and called Billy to announce her return to Nashville. Once again confronted by her husband's jealousy, she would finally divorce him.
And here we go again! Bettie back in the Big Apple! Finding a new job as a secretary! Taking tap-dancing lessons! Falling in love with a Peruvian already married with kids! Hubba! His wife found out many months later and verbally abused Bettie. From her was walking away the one that she would considered the love of her life. Desabused, she would go back to her ex for an eventual reconciliation (as Billy was now a shoe salesman). Nothing worked. Without any money, what did Bettie do? Go back to New York, third take!
This time, Bettie got involved in the theatrical world, with small roles in plays and also in doing behind-the-scenes work. In October 1950, walking around Coney Island, Bettie met Jerry Tibbs, a black policeman from Harlem who amused himself with photography. She became his model, thus changing her life forever. Tibbs was the creator of Bettie's trademark haircut, as she was still parting her hair down the middle, which he found old-fashioned, giving her a too-rounded face. Did he realize then that he was turning around the world of photography and the nocturnal life of million of men over the world? His first pictures of Bettie were published in an Harlem newspaper and enjoyed instant success. Once again, Bettie finished second at a beauty pageant (Miss New York 1951). She began to create her own bikinis.
Tibbs introduced Bettie to other photographers, who went nuts in acquiring her services. At that time camera clubs were popular, where amateurs jointly paid models to pose for them, for indoor and outdoor shootings. Sometimes, for a couple of bucks more, the young model could be persuaded to take off some articles of clothing... for more spicy pictures. For a session, each amateur had to pay around $4 or $5 bucks. For an outdoor session, around $8. Thusly, Bettie would receive abount $10 to $25 per hour, depending on the location. Needless to say that she soon left office work. Being athletic, Bettie enjoyed outdoor sessions involving beaches. She became the photographers' favorite model, for her good mood and ease to work with. And posing nude was not a problem, as long as she was surrounded by people she could trust.
In December 1951, none other that Billy Neal came back on the scene to haunt Bettie. He was arrested by cops when waiting too long before his ex-wife's building. Can everyone spell L-O-S-E-R with me? He enjoyed a night in jail to come back the next day at Bettie's, banging on her door (she would not answer) and having a fight with another tenant wearing only pajama bottoms. Once again, Billy met more of New York's finest. Some days later, he started another fight in a bar and soon after met the same judge for the third time, who ordered him to return to Nashville.
Some pictures of Bettie came to the attention of cheesecake magazine editor Robert Harrison. His principal publications were Wink, Flirt, Beauty Parade and Eyeful. He hired Bettie to pose for his two-page picture stories, absurdly scripted, depicting models in lingerie. Bettie adored playing these characters, acting out joy, sorrow, surprise, pouting... all in good charm. Let's not forget than men's magazines of these prudish times couldn't propose anything controversial. A guy willing to acquire nude photos of women had to purchase "art" magazines, with naked models supposedly the pretext for showing some new camera tricks. Yeah, sure. Camera tricks. Why not? This was the time when couples were shown in movies and television sleeping in separate beds. It was in Harrison's magazines that Bettie's name became BETTY.
In a very short while, Bettie could be seen everywhere, on postal cards as on album sleeves, on garage calendars as on pocket books sleeves. Bettiemania ran wild when she met Irving Klaw. This small portly man was owner of a store selling photographs and Hollywood stars souvenirs, named Movie Star News. During WWII, he had made a fortune selling pin-ups of Betty Grable and Rita Hayworth to GIs. With time, Klaw received requests for bound and gagged females. He decided to provide his own products, hiring models from Robert Harrison's books or some local strippers. Of course, it was working alongside Klaw that Bettie became famous.
Klaw sold his little and innocent S&M pictures forty cents each, $2 for a set of eight. For promotion, he edited a bi-annual catalog where a potential client could choose his favorite poses. Always the entrepreneur, Klaw pushed another product, short films of his photo sessions, with titles like Dominant Betty Dances With Whip or Betty Gets Bound and Kidnapped. Even today, it's her work with Klaw (who was assisted by his sister Paula) that makes Bettie popular in her fans' eyes. She could portray a cruel dominatrix or an innocent victim with equal ease, with a grain of salt. Paula Klaw was in charge of tying up the models and more often than not, any one of them could free themselves from these loose knots. The Klaws were considered charming and respectful of their models' comfort. No vulgarity was allowed, and no nudity.
Most of these photo/film sessions took place on Saturdays, with close to six complete hours of work. Models could make up to $50 for the day, resulting in 300 photos and at least a short film. It seems that Bettie was very often legendary late, always concerned about her appearance and continually interested in combing her dark tresses. One of her favorite story is about a shooting of a women wrestling match where the other model landed on Bettie's knee. A physician recommended an operation to Bettie. But waiting for entry at the hospital, she heard a voice while she was at home telling: "Bettie, Bettie, you can move your leg". By miracle, all pain vanished and Bettie found herself cured, believing that the Almighty Lord had intervened.
Along all this, she still wanted to be an actress. The same old obstacles disillusioned her: her strong Southern accent and her refusal to become the sex toy of movie producers. In 1952, Bettie went to Miami for some vacation time. Vacation? More pictures were taken of her, fooling around on the beach. She even took part on a cigarette TV ad. Many more postal cards saw the light of day, which would be on sale for the next 20 years on local stands!
Back in New York, Bettie still pursued some drama classes, at one point making the acquaintance of actor Robert Culp. She began to be known on the scene, debuting with some appearances on the Jackie Gleason Show on television. Her big-screen debut did not really fit her youthful ideas of movie stardom: she has a naughty scene (in a bubble bath) for Strip-O-Rama, a colorful burlesque musical. It enjoyed big box-office for such a production at the time, gaining around $80,000. Irving Klaw concocted two similar projects, Varietease and Teaserama, with Bettie alongside some famous strippers, such as Lily St.Cyr and Tempest Storm.
In the spring of 1954, Bettie met Bunny Yeager, former blonde model and now photographer herself. With Bunny, Bettie would create her most immortal quality work. Together, they would come up with the Jungle Princess shooting, eventually having fun with a real leopard, before being captured by some cannibal tribe. Equally prestigious was the honor of being the January 1955 Playmate for Playboy magazine, wearing only a Santa Claus hat, once again immortalized by Bunny.
Bettie was frequently seen at Herbert Berghof's studio, learning the then-topical Method Acting, as popularized by Marlon Brando, James Dean and Paul Newman. When the Broadway show Lil' Abner was being staged, Berghof pleaded Bettie to read for the part of Moonbeam McSwine, ideal for her, but she became too nervous to audition. Sadly, we can only imagine a show starring Bettie Page and Julie Newmar, wearing these colorful and tiny costumes! Still, she was elected Pin-Up Girl of the World (!) on a variety show. Happily, she worked more and more for television, like Eyewitness Show for NBC or U.S. Steel Hour for CBS, with some off-Broadway parts. Eccentric millionaire Howard Hugues offered Bettie a screen-test for RKO, but nothing came out of it.
Bettie's celebrity would take an unexpected turn in the coming months, as the US government was living through a period of purges and inquiries. After senator Joseph McCarthy's witch hunts, one of his colleague, Estes Kefauver, began an astonishing morality campaign. In April 1954, Kefauver was successful in banning horror comic books such as Tales from the Crypt, Vault of Horror and many others (now considered classics), with the pretext that these publications were turning youths into half-mad juvenile delinquents. He now became interested in Irving Klaw.
The FBI was keeping an eye on Klaw for some years, aware of the catalogs depicting tied-up models in fetish clothes, a topic eternally misunderstood. Undercover agents were always trying to order more explicit material, with Klaw turning them down, stating that this was not the mission of his office. He denied that his photos were pornographic in tone. Alongside Kefauver, none other than the Big FBI Cheese himself, J. Edgar Hoover, became involved. Above it all, the political implications of leading such a crusade on such a juicy and scandalous topic surely appealed to Kefauver. He began to speak about the little girl customers visiting Klaw's store (who were more interested in buying Clark Gable or Bozo the Clown pictures than any other possibility of purchase) exposed to such dirty and immoral product. Two federal agents knocked on Bettie's door, trying to trap her into turning against Klaw. Offended, she simply told the truth, claiming to no nudity was tolerated at photo shoots.
Postal inspectors were now joyously involved in the scheme. On May 24, 1955, Paula and Irving Klaw, accompanied by Bettie Page, arrived to testify before court. Klaw was accused of being a porno king, his photos encouraging crime, inciting to insane behavior, and even murder. He was mercilessly questioned, with suggestions as allegedly hiring minor models, producing explicit material, etc. Klaw stood his ground, claiming the protection of the American Fifth Amendment on liberty of expression. Happily for her, Bettie was not to speak before these inquisitors.
Finally, Klaw was only accused of contempt of the court, but it was a bitter verdict all the same, as his reputation was thusly soiled. Ironically, the company that treated his photos had also as client Walt Disney Studios. Guess who they kept on the active list? Many more problems were to come, even with moving the store and stopping any production of S&M products in 1957. Klaw would be arrested in 1963 and gained his liberty with the promise of destroying his fetish archives (as he was still selling his old photos). He would die in 1966, sick and bitter.
In 1956, Bettie briefly returned in Miami to work for Bunny Yeager. In returning home, she parted with the Klaws. After these legal troubles, her hopes of becoming an actress disappeared. Friends became concerned with her bizarre attitude. Someone declared that she once tried to jump down a window with an urge to fly (?). More disturbingly, a stalker followed her, to such a point that she willingly became bait with the help of the FBI to catch him. A sixteen years old teen was apprehended. To make matters worse, Bettie (a non-drinker) found herself photographed in lewd positions after being incited to take alcool. In December 1957, she made the decision of leaving New York and her modelling days.
She found refuge in a cottage in Ford Lauderdale, where an amateur photog took some shots of her on the beach, which appeared on the June 1958 issue of Skin Diver magazine, the last work of Bettie for a professional magazine. That same month, Bettie became once again a teacher at the Monroe County High School at Key West. She resigned ninety days later. She then became a civil servant and worked at the naval base. In November, she married Armond Carlyle Walterson, a 13 years old younger former acquaintance from Florida. This union would last no more than a month and a half.
As they were screaming at each other on New Year's Eve, Bettie left the house to soon stand before a church. Going inside, all her past frustrations flashed inside her head and she decided to accept Jesus-Christ as her personal savior. In the summer of 1959, Bettie went back to California to live with her brother Jimmie, enrolling at the Bible Institute of Los Angeles, where she would work and study religion. She would move again in June 1961 in Chicago, again finding office work and still pursuing biblical studies. Bettie even worked with Reverend Billy Graham. And she would move again, to Oregon, enrolling at the Multnomah School of the Bible, taking care of pregnant teenage girls. Remembering her later, past coworkers qualified Bettie as "someone haunted by her past", but pointing out her passion in helping others. At that point, she hoped to become a missionary.
At 40 years of age, Bettie returned living in Nashville. She visited her father, who had his legs cut off because of diabetes. Oddly, he himself was going through an intense religious rediscovering. Father and daughter made peace, even after an incestuous past. At the end of the year 1963, Bettie contacted Billy Neal, her first husband, with the hope of rekindling their relationship with a second marriage. Always a bright star and himself divorced from a second wife named Betty (!), Billy accepted. Bettie's plan was to convert him to the Catholic faith, as he would become a missionary alongside her. Of course, nothing of this pleased him and many quarrels took place. The last one would be particularly violent, with Billy choking Bettie with his own hands as she laboriously described visions from Hell. This (re)union lasted one month. And Bettie went back to Miami.
In August 1966, Bettie met Harry Lear at the Miami's Palace Ballroom. Harry was a WWII veteran, father of three children and recently divorced, working for Bell in Florida and also for a funeral home as a chauffeur. They wed on St.Valentine's Day in 1967, and how would you bet on the success of this union? Everything worked fine with Harry, but the three kids, according to Bettie, hated her and believed their natural mother's gossips about her. Of course, Bettie insisted on incessant daily prayers. In 1969, the family hoped for the best in a road travel taking them to Quebec. Soon after, Harry claimed that Bettie began to write religious parables and declared herself a prophet. In January 1972, they divorced. And Bettie found herself in a religious community in Boca Raton.
Some days later, she was arrested for going around armed with a pistol and proclaiming that God's wrath would be terrible. Ex-hubby Harry reclaimed her, and down on the sofa she went for sleep. On April 13, 1972, Bettie ordered Harry and the kids to stand before a picture of Jesus and pray, at the point of a butcher's knife. For the following four months, Bettie was detained at a psychiatric facility. Harry had a room built for her for her return home. On October 28, police once again seized her, as she was beating on her husband and breaking everything in the house. She voluntarily accepted to go back to the asylum for another six months.
Once again, she returned to her room at Harry's, agreeing to do chores for pay. When Harry decides to move in 1978, Bettie went back to her brother Jimmie in Santa Monica. She would again pursue moving around the country. In 1979, she lived in a trailer park and on April 19, assaulted an old couple with a knife, injuring both on their hands. Bettie would spin around from asylum to asylum, waiting for a trial date. She was found guilty of assault, but mentaly disturbed. Once free, she was treated by psychiatrists.
In March 1982, Bettie was employed as a housemaid by Leonie Haddad, a 62 years old recent widow, living in Santa Monica. On June 12 of the same year, Bettie attacked her employer with a bread knife, slicing her victim's face and hand. Once again arrested, she went to the Patton State Psychiatric Institute and faced charges of murder one on September 26, 1983. She was considered dangerous to others and faced a 10 year sentence at Patton State. In hearing the judgment, she became hysterical and screamed obscenities to everyone around. Doctors considered her as paranoid schizophrenic.
In 1992, she became a free woman at the age of 69, cured of her violent impulsions and religious fanaticism. A sad part of her life came to end, and it is not my place to judge.
The main events since Bettie "vanished" in 1957 were unveiled some short years ago. Like I wrote before, nobody really knew what had happened to her for decades. Numerous cookie rumors went around, proclaiming suicide, a mafia hit, or even a victimization by a satanic cult! Oddly, those who claimed that she had found religion were right. Too much right.
During the sixties, photos of Bettie still circulated, always in demand, always appreciated. With the arrival of the X rating the next decade, new visual permissions in the world of porn would take over. Public curiosity for hardcore and the unveiling of genital parts in men's magazines like Penthouse or Hustler blew away all more innocent products. Between 1978 and 1980 were published volumes of Betty Page Private Peeks, of which I talked about at the beginning, and are still part of my collection. The seed was sowed for interest in Bettie Page. Artists like Olivia de Berardinis and Robert Blue would be inspired by photos to reproduce the likeness of Bettie in quality art. Dave Stevens (former husband of Brinke Stevens) would also utilize Bettie for a comic character in The Rocketeer. Soon after, various products were introduced on the market such as tee-shirts, posters, action figures, cars, comics (one of these co-starring wrestler/actor Tor Johnson!).
A fan named Greg Theakston began publication of The Betty Pages in 1989, with great success. In fact, Theakston is principally responsible for quite a mass appeal for Bettie, finally deciding to track her down, or at least find out what had happened to her. He shed some light on her family and concluded that Bettie was still alive, but surely not in a cooperative mood to tell her story. Tennessee journalist Tommy Goldsmith entered the dance, obtaining an interview with Bettie's brother, Jack. All this was happening as Bettie was released in 1992. She finally agreed to correspond by letters to Theakston, which would be published in The Betty Pages. Her recorded voice was heard on the TV program Lifestyle of the Rich and Famous (!). Even Entertainment Tonight followed with a story, showing a bit of an old film where Bettie dances frenetically. The world was in shock: Bettie Page was still alive! She refused to show herself or be photographed, finding herself too old and fat, and mainly not willing to shatter her fans' illusions for her immortal beauty. E! True Hollywood Story produced an interesting two-hour biography in 1998.
In a short time, Bettie and brother Jack were bombarded with various propositions from individuals and enterprises offering their services in marketing the Bettie Page universe. For many years, hundreds of products had proposed Bettie's features, making profits without our model ever benefitting financially (even though she didn't know anything about it). With this unexpected "return", why couldn't she finally enjoy these profits? After many headaches in finding some suitable advisors, let it be said they Hugh Hefner (ascot-wearing Playboy guru) became a key player in supporting Bettie along many false representations, non-approved material, unpaid legal rights and judiciary suits that could've been immeasurable. Bettie now lives comfortably in the Los Angeles area, mystified by her popularity still strong around the world. For Playboy's 50th Anniversary, a small photograph of her alongside Hugh Hefner was published in the magazine... she still looked basically the same, with the same haircut, now completely gray.
Even with her profound religious convictions, it's worth noting that she absolutely regrets nothing of her period as a photo model, particularly feeling no shame for her bondage pictures. For her, it was only a fun and financially interesting job.
Working in Bettie's favor, curiously, was the fact that she remained a mystery for so long, acquiring mythical legendary status as a lost and immortal beauty. Without having played in any cinematographic production, or any television series, nor having been a popular singer, she will always remain one of the greatest beauties of our times, alongside Marilyn Monroe, Sophia Loren, Raquel Welch, Brigitte Bardot and company. Still, all these black and white pictures of the fifties, often naive and clumsy, having as decor an ordinary living room, will never be erased from fans' memories. Again today, products with her likeness are available on the market, going from simple cigarette lighters to elaborate CD-ROMs proposing her scenes from Irving Klaw. I can only hope that she will end her days as happy as she ever was. Thank you, Bettie, you are now an honorary Siren.
Sadly, this unique individual passed away on December 10, 2008, after suffering a heart attack in Los Angeles and never to regain consciousness. She had been hospitalised for three weeks with pneumonia before the heart attack. Of course, she will never be forgotten.