Friday, December 12, 2008

Rest in Peace, Bettie Page


2008 has certainly been a year for us to lose some of the greats, be it the genius of Arthur C.Clark, the talent of Heath Ledger, or the mysterious beauty of Vampira.

Sadly, we've lost another major icon: the beautiful Bettie Page. Even if you don't know the name, I can assure you that you know her face. She was queen of the pin-up models in the 1950's, until she left that business forever to pursue a quiet life. She lived in anonymity for the next several decades, not realizing the impact she had on the pop-culture and counter-culture alike. Artist Olivia frequently painted her, while her image also appeared on numerous rock albums and other media. She inspired the love interest in the Rocketeer comics, as well as Goth girls the world over.

In the early 90's, she was found by some intrepid journalists who tracked her down over the course of many years. She was living in poverty, completely oblivious to the fact that she was owed millions in royalties for the unliscensed use of her image. Fortunately, most of the artists and musicians who had used pics of her were more than happy to pony up the dough they owed her. She was that loved by her fans. She never allowed pictures of her to be taken in her old age, preferring for people to remember her when she was in her prime.

This past weekend, she slipped into a coma, from which she never awakened This morning, she passed away. Her image will forever stand as the ultimate pin-up. Her look will be forever imitated by models and rock stars alike. We'll miss you, Bettie, but you'll always be with us.