Bettie Page, the iconic pin-up girl of the post-World War II era and the 1950's, died Thursday in Los Angeles. Page suffered a heart attack last week, and had been in a coma ever since.
The product of an abusive home, Page fled a bad marriage in her home of Tennessee and headed to New York. Once in the Big Apple she fell in with a pair of siblings who ran a pornography ring. From 1949 to 1957, she was the subject of more than 20,000 pinup photos. Many of the photos dealt with bondage subjects that are now regarded as an important gateway to the 1960's sexual revolution. She was also one of the first Playboy Playmates. In later years her photos developed a strong following for their mixture of wholesome sexuality and risque subject matters.
Once Page became a Christian, she gave up her modeling career. Her later years were marred by depression and mental illness, but she did live long enough to see herself become a pop culture icon and said that she wanted to remembered "as I was when I was young and in my golden times. I want to be remembered as the woman who changed people's perspectives concerning nudity in its natural form."
Page's death was reported by her agent, Mark Roesler ,on her website, bettiepage.com. She had been hospitalized before three weeks with pneumonia before suffering the heart attack on Dec. 2 that sent her into a coma. She was transfered to Kindred Hospital where she had been on continuous life support until her death at 6:41 PM PST on December 11, 2008.