Pin-up beauty Bettie Page’s mugshot from October 29th 1972. Many of Bettie’s fans don’t seem to know that she left the pinup world and became a religious fanatic. Years later she was diagnosed of having ( acute schizophrenia ) and she ev…entually spent 20 months in a state mental institution because she stabbed three people. A husband and wife the first time, and her 66 year old roommate the second time because she said that ( God inspired her to do it ) She died at the age of 85.
What was the dark secret of Bettie Page—the curvaceous black-banged pinup goddess who titillated 1950s America with S&M poses, abandoned her career in 1957, and disappeared? Other bios have chronicled her subsequent incarnations as an evangelical Christian, suburban housewife, and English teacher. But journalist Richard Foster, in his sensationalistic, albeit scrupulously researched book, The Real Bettie Page: The Truth About the Queen of the Pinups, reveals that in 1979 and 1982, Page (a diagnosed schizophrenic) tried to stab several people to death and was institutionalized and spent her last days as a recluse. She also made several foster attempts, clumsily, to reconcile her victimized childhood with her mental illness.
A cult figure, Page was most famous for the estimated 20,000 4-by-5-inch black-and-white glossy photographs taken by amateur shutterbugs from 1949 to 1957. The photos showed her in high heels and bikinis or negligees, bondage apparel — or nothing at all.
Decades later, those images inspired biographies, comic books, fan clubs, websites, commercial products — Bettie Page playing cards, dress-up magnet sets, action figures, Zippo lighters, shot glasses — and, in 2005, a film about her life and times, “The Notorious Bettie Page.”
“I want to be remembered,” she said, “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.”
Her life to an amazing twist at 35, Page walked away from it all. She quit modeling and moved to Florida, where she married a much younger man whose passions, she later learned, were watching television and eating hamburgers.
Page fled from her home in tears after a dispute on New Year’s Eve in 1959. Down the street, she noticed a white neon sign over a little white church with its door open.
After quietly taking a seat in the back, she had a born-again experience. Page immersed herself in Bible studies and served as a counselor for the Billy Graham Crusade.
In 1967, she married for a third time. After that marriage ended in divorce 11 years later, Page plunged into a depression marked by violent mood swings. She argued with her landlady and attacked her with a knife. A judge found her innocent by reason of insanity but sentenced her to 10 years in a California mental institution.
She spent most of her final years in a one-bedroom apartment, reading the Bible, listening to Christian and country tunes, watching westerns on television, catching up on diet and exercise regimens or sometimes perusing secondhand clothing stores.