Pinup model Bettie Page died December 11, 2008 at age 85 after her family agreed to discontinue life support. She had been in a coma after a heart attack a week earlier.
Page had a long, well-documented and inconsistent career, marked by an ebullient personality, a wide variety of interests, husbands and new starts. She appeared in thousands of photo magazines, films, and personal appearances. A new generation became interested in Bettie Page the 1980s and 1990s; her photos and films were re-released and became instantly collectible. In 2006 Page was the subject of a critically acclaimed biopic, The Notorious Bettie Page.
“I think that she was a remarkable lady, an iconic figure in pop culture who influenced sexuality, taste in fashion, someone who had a tremendous impact on our society,” Playboy founder Hugh Hefner told the Associated Press. Page appeared as a centerfold model in one of Playboy’s earliest editions.
In 1979 Page was committed by a California court to the Patton State Hospital in San Bernardino, California where she she spent 20 months. She was given a diagnosis of schizophrenia. After a fight with her landlord, Page was court committed to state psychiatric supervision for eight years. Her final exit from Patton State Hospital was in 1992.
Page was a longtime believer in Christianity, and attended Multnomah Bible College in Portland, Oregon at one point. She worked in the 1960s for Billy Graham in Florida. Page’s funeral service was delivered by television evangelist Dr. Robert Schuller.