1968 November Paige Young appears as Playboy Magazine’s Playmate of the Month.
It will be her primary “claim to fame” in popular culture. Well-known pin-up photography team and married couple Peter and Alice Gowland were the photographers. Alice has said she clicked the shutter on the “back-scratch” centerfold. (From Playboy interview with Alice Gowland)
The Playmate story of Paige Young is that of a full-time painter who admits to the difficulty of this endeavor, but loves the fact that “My time is my own.” Paige lives in Malibu, is a scuba diver and gourmet cook who loves to host beach cookouts for friends. She can often be seen running on the beach with her Weimaraner named Joshua.
Paige hates the “9-5 (office) doldrums.”
Paige has had many offers to buy this rendition of her favorite author Truman Capote however, since someday she would like to gift him personally with the painting, she’s even refused an offer of $500.
Maybe you already know that Paige Young’s other “claim to fame” is appearing on internet lists and articles about Playboy Playmates who died young and/or committed suicide. (See my “About” page.)
1969 is clearly Paige’s most documented year: She travelled the US, Canada and Japan, as part of her contract with Playboy to make appearances and give interviews to promote the TV show Playboy After Dark (PAD). And basically to function as a brand ambassador.
What follows are several articles I found from 1968 and 1969 on a newspaper archive website.
Take the time to read the articles, if you want a little insight into the person that was self-named Paige Young. I apologize for the quality of a few of them.
Some articles are revealing and appear to be truthful. Paige gives a few contradictory answers on the subject of her body and weight for centerfold “acceptability.”
I think this trip to the Boston auto show was her first stop on the tour, Oct. 26-Nov. 2, 1968. That makes Paige the Playmate of the current issue of Playboy magazine during the Boston event.
“I met Paige when I was 14. She was signing autographs at the Boston car show. in late 1968. We talked about art. She was intelligent, beautiful, and kind. I’m looking to find original art by her as I think she was a great artist who was hobbled by her beauty. ” Feedback left by a reader, Daniel, he describes more details in the e-mail below:
I vividly remember Paige. She was beautiful and intelligent.”
” I was 14 years old. My friend had dared me to ask her to sign the centerfold, but she politely demurred and signed the first page of her pictorial which was a headshot. She also gave me an autographed photo. Unfortunately, my grandmother was horrified and it was all confiscated and thrown away.I told her that I admired her portrait of Truman Capote and she immediately brightened. She said art was what she “really wanted to do.”
I would love to find paintings by her to buy. But I imagine that not many survived.
Daniel- Thank you for sharing your memory, much appreciated!
ALSO in 1969...
Paige continued to battle estranged husband Mark F. Segal, who had yet to pay for 5 of the 6-months alimony he owed her and Marvin M. Mitchelson since 1964. By now her law firm was Silverton, Ruderman and Graf of Studio City.
Paige visits NYC in June of 1969
Atlanta, August of 1969, photo appeared one week after the Tate/LaBianca murders in Paige’s hometown of LA. Many people who lived there at the time, have talked about the traumatic impact the murders had on the residents of Los Angeles.
1969 In March and April, images of Paige wearing a polka dot bikini appeared in dozens of USA newspapers; she was named “Queen of the Fleet” for the first annual Desert Sailboat Regatta, to take place in the fairly new city of Lake Havasu City, Arizona. (LHC)
I think some context is important, so briefly...
“Lake Havasu City is in western Arizona. It’s known as a base for trails in the nearby desert and water sports on Lake Havasu. London Bridge, relocated from England, links the mainland to marinas and a looped path in an area known as the Island.” wikipedia
Lake Havasu City, Arizona was established in 1963 after businessman Robert McCulloch purchased the land in 1958.
McCulloch bought the London Bridge in 1968 when the City of London placed it for auction. He had an idea that it would be a successful lure for tourists and potential home buyers.
McCulloch bought 100s of ads in different newspapers across the US, from LA to Davenport, he promoted a vacation to LHC, and as a land investment. Just two examples below.
LHC placed the London bridge about 1 year after Paige appeared as “Queen of the Fleet.” McCulloch was advertising it way before.
Queen Paige Young and the Regatta Sailing event, were designed by McColloch to advertise the marvelous boating and water recreation activities available in LHC.
And hey, maybe you will enjoy yourself so much you will want to live in Lake Havasu City year round!
As you can see, this particular photograph of Paige as “Queen of the Fleet,” was a popular one.
This newly found article (April 16, 2021) mentions McCulloch as regatta chairman and details information about the boats entered. Probably because it’s in the “Outdoor” section of the paper.
With the exception of the last, this next set of clippings refer to Paige as “graduating from Van Nuys High School.”
I have researched classmates.com for many hours, in the years she would have attended and/or graduated: 1959-1962.
I have been unable to find any Paige Young or Diana Cotterell in the VNHS yearbook, nor can I find her class photo in yearbooks of nearby Grant High School, North Hollywood High School or Birmingham High School.
These high schools were all very near where Paige was living, if she lived with Virginia or Donna and stepfather Jack Holroyd.
Her name is Joan Edwards and she attended and graduated from Van Nuys High School in 1962. This should have been Diana/Paige’s graduation year also. She told me that she doesn’t remember seeing or talking to Diana after the end of their VNJH years.
It’s possible Paige dropped out of high school after the 9th grade, 1959. Her grandfather, Ned LaRocca, died in November of that year. Many of the interviews from 69 state she began painting professionally at age 16.
Could it be related? I don’t know. But possibly.
If she did attend or graduate from a high school, it definitely wasn’t Van Nuys High School.
The UPI photos never mention Paige’s title of Playboy Playmate, but the local Lake Havasu City paper does.
Notice the references to Playboy “Bunny.”
ALSO Notice the information of Paige’s appearance on the Jonathan Winters Show in the Lake Havasu article.
The terms Playmate and Bunny became interchangeable in the media very quickly. Here is another example; ad from a Fresno mall appearance with Playmate Lisa Baker.
Playmate of the Year 1967, Lisa Baker, was also supposedly on the Winters show.
I’ve been unable to find any credits for Paige or Lisa on the Jonathan Winters Show 1967-1969. The show was filmed at CBS Television City on Fairfax, as was Playboy After Dark. PAD ran from 68-70.
Paige and Lisa’s roles may have been as extras or “background décor.” I viewed several episodes of the show at the Paley Center for Media in Los Angeles and I could not spot Paige Young.
I haven’t yet been able to find Paige as an extra on Playboy After Dark; I have not viewed every episode though.
(I did find images of a dancer on Winters show that looked strikingly like Paige. It was eerie. The choreographer of the show was Robert Banas.)
The Paley Center does not own every episode of the Jonathan Winters show and neither does UCLA.
There have been several incarnations of Jonathan Winters show. The one from 67-69, had guests stars: The Doors, Barbara Eden, Vic Damone, Della Reese, The Smothers Brothers, Ray Charles, Nancy Sinatra, Tom Jones and many others.
Please see chapter Richard Sample interview for more on Jonathan Winters and a possible connection to Paige Young.
1969 travels continued…
In the summer of 69, Paige is interviewed for an article in “West,” an LAT magazine, featuring a few young people who reside in the “geographically desirable” community of Marina Del Rey.
Article tells about hip Marina Del Rey, considered “G.D.” It stands for “geographically desirable.”
(As opposed to the SFV or Pasadena?)
Paige lives in a houseboat in Marina Del Rey.
Wait, doesn’t she live in Malibu!?
This is the only reference to Paige living in Marina Del Rey that I found, so far. Update on May 19, 2021: Richard Sample told me that this is when he last saw Paige, living in her houseboat on the Marina. 69 or 70
1969 continued, still touring…..Montreal
Article says she met Hefner only once briefly in response to the writer’s slightly provocative question.
By the end of her life she knew Hefner more closely in her hometown of Los Angeles.
Shippy, long-time columnist, has a conversation with the chaperone and Playboy PR man accompanying Paige Young. We know it is Bob Sanders. Shippy derisively refers to Sanders as a “flack.” Not in person I presume.
During their conversation Shippey notices Paige “sitting there looking lovely and trying not to fall asleep. ” The attention goes back to Paige.
She says she is a self taught artist turned actress, with an art studio in Venice and drama lessons with Jeff Corey. So far though, she has only had a non-speaking role on the Jonathan Winters show and as an audience member on the set of PAD.
UPDATE May 19, 2021 Richard Sample (see my interview with him) told me that Paige knew Hefner while she worked at the Playboy Club on the Sunset Strip, mid to late 1960s. Hefner had not yet moved to LA full-time. When this article was published it was almost certainly her first time visiting the Chicago Playboy mansion.
September 1969: Japan
September 1969 Edmonton
Several local ads announcing the first annual “Winter Fun and Snowmobile” show in Edmonton.
As you will see by the following news articles, the scheduled appearance by November 1968 Playmate Paige Young was publicized as a highlight of the show.
But when it gets to the big day……
Devin Sheedy, women’s snowmobile speed record holder, steps in for an ailing Paige Young.
*For more information a possible reason for Paige’s illness in Edmonton, see the chapter on Nick Lees”*
1969 The articles show us that most of Paige’s year is taken up with Playboy promotional traveling and appearances; autograph signings at car shows, Playboy Clubs, TV stations, Battle of the Bands, radio interviews, newspaper interviews, etc.
The Edmonton Winter Sports show in late September of 69 is the latest date I’ve have found for her promotional appearances. (So far.)
Boston Auto Show: late Oct. 1968 to the Edmonton show: late Sept. 1969, is just under one full year. Perhaps Paige completed the contracted one-year to Playboy. Seems like she had really “had it” by the end.
Or was it just a ruse to run off with Nick Lees?
I don’t know how many people know that Sirhan-Sirhan’s hometown was Pasadena.
RFK of course, had been assassinated in Los Angeles June of 1968. Location: the famous Ambassador Hotel.