LOS ANGELES (AP) — Bettie Page, a 1950s pinup known for her raven-haired bangs and saucy come-hither looks, was hospitalized in intensive care after suffering a heart attack, her agent said Friday.
“She’s critically ill,” Mark Roesler of CMG Worldwide told The Associated Press.
He said the 85-year-old had been hospitalized for the last three weeks with pneumonia and was about to be released when she had the heart attack Tuesday. Page was transferred to another hospital in Los Angeles and remained in intensive care Friday.
A family friend, Todd Mueller, said Page was in a coma. When asked to confirm, Roesler said, “I would not deny that,” but he would not comment further on her condition.
Page, a secretary turned model, is credited with helping set the stage for the sexual revolution of the rebellious 1960s. She attracted national attention with magazine photographs of her sensuous figure that were tacked up on walls across the country.
Her photos included a centerfold in the January 1955 issue of then-fledgling Playboy magazine, as well as controversial sadomasochistic poses.
Page later spent decades away from the public eye, and during that time battled mental illness and became a born-again Christian.
After resurfacing in the 1990s, she occasionally granted interviews but refused to allow her picture to be taken.
Mueller credits his business dealings with Page for bringing her out of seclusion. He said he first met her in 1989 when he offered her “a bunch of money” to show up at autograph signings.
“I probably sold 3,000 of her autographs, usually for $200 to $300,” he said. “Eleanor Roosevelt, we got $40-$50. … Bettie Page outsells them all.”