Posted on August 12, 2020
Melanie from the Daily Mail article told me that the “brother of Cici Huston” had Paige’s “sex tape” in his possession and would not hand it over to Paige, despite her repeated requests.
And that Paige frequently expressed the serious mental anguish this was causing her.
The Daily Mail didn’t publish this as he “wasn’t a big enough name.”
…..fearful of a “sex tape” that “a relative of a major celebrity had made of her,” is how the Daily Mail phrased it.
CiCi Huston had three brothers.
One of the Shane brothers, David, is a major candidate as the one holding on to Paige’s sex tape; he was very active on the Sunset Strip social scene at the time: 1950s-1960-1970s. Shane owned businesses on the Strip and he was very attractive to women.
In a message to me, Celeste Huston seemed angry in her message to me that her brother David was sex partners with both Paige and Tamara Green.
He started a popular car rental agency, Hav -A -Kar, in the heart of the Sunset Strip. Hav-A-Kar was later sold to Thrifty, and David, as the property owner, saw the space become a Kenneth Cole store for many years before its current iteration, the Eveleigh restaurant. In the early 1960s David, who loved to cook, opened a burger joint called Alfie’s. It was a colorful fixture on the Strip and a veritable celebrity magnet. David decided to eventually lease the space in 1971 to the new owners who created Mirabelle, which remained steadfast on the Strip for over 40 years…… David was a jet setter and an avid outdoorsman. He attended USC for two years before transferring to the University of Mexico, in Mexico City, where he befriended painter Diego Rivera.
Bob Shane is the oldest brother, originally Myron Shane Jr. I know nothing about him but that he changed his first name.
The youngest Shane brother Stephan, not mentioned in the obituary above, moved out of Beverly Hills and lived further north in California. He married, divorced and died young, in the 1970s.
David and Celeste’s father was Myron Shane, already a wealthy business owner from Kansas City who moved his young family to Beverly Hills in the 1940s.
Myron Shane owned a yacht named the “Celeste.” He rented it out to wealthy celebrities including Frank Sinatra.
Myron Shane also used his yacht for charitable purposes.
Myron started Hav-A-Kar per newspaper articles and apparently signed it over to his son David L. Shane.
Melanie told the Daily Mail, and me personally, that Paige went out with several men.
Paige told Melanie that some of her boyfriends paid her living expenses including kitchen appliances and a dog run for her Akita.
( Don’t know what happened to Joshua the Weimaraner or Hamish the horse)
However much Paige expressed her distress over the Shane brother and his refusal to hand over the sex tape, ultimately she built a shrine of sorts about hatred and blame, towards Hugh Hefner.
From the Daily Mail:
“It was covered floor to ceiling with photos of Hugh Hefner, there were news clippings, magazine articles, everything you could think of. Written across it was something like ‘Hugh Hefner is the devil.” The whole wall was a shrine saying, ‘I hate Hugh Hefner,’ the crux of her anger was against him. That was the message she wanted to get across to me. She was pointing up at things, showing me around it. She’s put a lot of work into this, it must have taken her days.”
According to Melanie, Hefner and John Huston were mentioned in the suicide note as well.
“The cops had Paige’s suicide note and read some of it to me…the whole thing was about her anger towards the men who she believed had chewed her up and spat her out. The two men who got the most attention were Hugh Hefner and the director John Huston. I know she dated Huston for a while and had just gotten back from a trip to Ireland with him.”
“Paige also vented against other Hollywood stars who had used her, says Myers.”
To be continued.
Category: 1970s, 1970s, LA Locations, Playboy, Popular Culture Tagged: 1970sLA, 1974, Alfie's, Alfie's Hamburgers, Beverly Hills, Burger Joint, Car rental LA, Celeste Shane Huston, Cici Huston, Daily Mail December 2014, David L. Shane, David Shane, Ed Ruscha, Hav-A-Kar, Hugh Hefner, John Huston, Mirabelle, Myron Shane, Paige Young, Restaurants, Ruscha, sex tape, suicide, Sunset Strip, The Strip, Westwood
Posted on August 7, 2020
March 16, 1974 is Paige Young’s 30th birthday.
April 7th 1974 is a Palm Sunday, on that day Paige commits suicide with a gunshot to her head, the location was her residence, pictured below.
Below is the account neighbor Melanie gave to reporter Ryan Parry of the Daily Mail.
“She was terrified of it coming out, in that day you knew your career was going to be over once it got “round.”Daily Mail Dec. 2014
“For weeks all she could think about was getting hold of that tape, she thought it was going to ruin her.”Melanie, Paige’s neighbor in the Daily Mail
“Paige had the whole thing planned down to the last detail… It was Palm Sunday and she came to tell me she was going to kill herself. She stayed in the back of the house where we (B.J.) lived and I was at the bathroom window. She comes up to the window and calls out to me “I want to show you something.” I couldn’t be bothered by any more of her drama. But she was like, “No, you’ve gotta come and see it.” So I go to her apartment and she gave me a guided tour …of her suicide scene in her bedroom….It was chilling..there was a large American flag draped across her bed and there was a pentagram laid out on the wooden floor…I remember her showing me around it because it was somehow important, but I didn’t know what it meant.”
But it was the bedroom was that shocked Myers the most.
“It was covered floor to ceiling with photos of Hugh Hefner, there were news clippings, magazine articles, everything you could think of. Written across it was something like “Hugh Hefner is the devil.” The whole wall was a shrine saying, ‘I hate Hugh Hefner,’ the crux of her anger was against him. That was the message she wanted to get across to me. She was pointing up at things, showing me around it. She’s put a lot of work into this, it must have taken her days.
Myers said that Young then calmly explained that she planned to kill herself.
She produced a gun and put it into her mouth…lay back on her bed and said, ‘this is how I’m going to do it.’
“It was chilling. We were friends but not the best of friends, I was always bitching about her and her dog, so I was scared. I thought maybe she could shoot me, you know, take me with her, it was all so weird. I thought, I’ve got to get out of here.”
“Myers quickly retreated to her apartment and called the police. LAPD officers arrived soon afterwards and cordoned of the whole of Eastbourne Ave.”
Myers said, “The cops didn’t want to go in her apartment first, so they asked me to go check on her, so I did.”
“I walked into her apartment and they were behind me. I walked into her bedroom and she was lying dead on the bed. She had shot herself in the head as she told me she would. There was a huge mass of blood, her whole bed was soaked red, it was shocking. But she looked happy and very peaceful, she didn’t look in distress.”
“The cops had Paige’s suicide note and read some of it to me…the whole thing was about her anger towards the men who she believed had chewed her up and spat her out. The two men who got the most attention were Hugh Hefner and the director John Huston. I know she dated Huston for a while and had just gotten back from a trip to Ireland with him.”
Paige expressed anger to other Hollywood stars who had used her.
“I believe Paige was making a huge statement in a bid to get at the elite of Hollywood…She thought the story of her death would spark a big scandal, but it didn’t. Sadly no one cared.” DailyMail.com Dec. 2014
Paige in the late 1960s. Photo by Peter Gowland.
and says she was told by Paige Young that a member of Hefner’s entourage filmed and had possession of a tape of her in a sexual situation at the Playboy mansion. And she was very afraid of it “getting out.”
And at her “staged” suicide scene, a wall in her room was dedicated to images of Hugh Hefner and her hatred of him.
Why did Paige “blame” her suicide on Hefner and others?
All evidence points to a major factor being this sex tape she appears in, and its’ association with the Playboy mansion scene.
Below is a photo of the death certificate copy I obtained. A partial autopsy/police report copy is included in the Daily Mail story, but not the death certificate.
Reporter Ryan Parry of the Daily Mail discovered that Paige did not die of a drug overdose as is stated in “The Playmate Book” and several websites, but actually committed suicide from a gunshot wound to the head, per an autopsy report and death certificate as one can see.
On April 9 Price-Daniel Mortuary handles Paige’s death services. Her cremation takes place at Roosevelt Memorial Park in Gardena. Burial of her ashes to take place at sea near Santa Monica shoreline.
It is unknown how the (false) story of Paige overdosing on drugs started to be written and repeated on the internet so much that it became her “official” means of suicide.
Is the Playmate Book the source? This book is a compendium of all the Playmates who have appeared in the magazine since the first issue in 1953, up to the date of publication. An update on the lives accompanies each woman’s entry.
From an article in 2007 upon the death of Anna Nicole Smith.
Paige Young’s entry says she died of a drug overdose in 1974.
Paige’s suicide appears to have never been reported in the Los Angeles media, in 1974 or since.
I haven’t found any death, obituary or memorial announcement.
This is one reason I was motivated to research more about Paige Young.
Back to 1974……..
What about this alleged sex tape?
A well known part of Hefner’s biography is that he was fascinated by audio and video technology.
He collected home video, film cameras and cutting edge stereo equipment before they were available to the mass consumer.
In the early decades of the magazine, Playboy magazine often featured an ideal “bachelor pad” decked out with the finest stereo equipment and other electronic gadgets, sure to impress the ladies, (or other men) like a Cadillac or Picasso painting might.
The docu-series Secrets of Playboy has revealed accounts of sex being filmed by Hugh Hefner at his mansion in Holmby Hills. (See accounts by Sondra Theodore, Butler Stefan Tetenbaum and others.)
There are reports of video tapes of sexual encounters over the decades, with some involving celebrities.
Secrets of Playboy shows an interview with former head of Playmate Promotions Miki Garcia, reading her personal notes about actor Tony Curtis. Curtis and his lawyers were quite upset about Tony’s appearance in sex tapes filmed at the mansion.
Stories of “sex tapes” go back to the Chicago Playboy mansion days: an ex-girlfriend of Hefner’s, with help from one of his secretaries, snuck in the mansion and retrieved “her” tape. This incident was told to Russell Miller, and published in his book Bunny: The Real Story of Playboy.
One of the clips shown in the opening from the Secrets of Playboy opening features a 1970s Hugh Hefner talking to reporters about all the “electronic equipment in the mansion,” including cameras and that “sometimes stuff happens in the bedroom.”
There are reports of Hefner ordering the tapes and films destroyed before his death, by sinking them in the ocean.
Allegedly, Hefner had become fearful after friend and frequent Playboy model Pamela Anderson had her, and her husband Tommy Lee’s, private sex tapes stolen and released to the public.
“Hugh Hefner dumped a casket full of his private sex tapes into the sea before he passed away, insiders have revealed.
The Playboy founder chucked his collection of sex tapes into the Pacific ocean because he feared that his most famous and secret conquests would be exposed, sources told The Sun.
It comes as the Playboy founder’s most personal belongings are being auctioned off later this month.
But while his signature pipe, dressing gowns and other items are currently on show to the public before they go under the hammer, paranoid Hefner made sure his dirtiest secrets would never be found.
The veteran Hollywood lothario, who passed away in 2017 at the age of 91, gathered up his entire hidden collection of tapes, X-rated photos and even intimate notes from superstars.
He then threw them all in a specially-made casket lined with cement and had his aides dump them in the sea.
Hefner’s trusted head of security at the Playboy Mansion Joe Piastro – who died in 2011 – is believed to have overseen the burial.
“Hugh was terrified of the world finding out everything about his past,” a source revealed. “He had kept a treasure chest of memories of his life with all these beautiful women dating back from the 1950s to the mid-1990s.”
“He only shared a few of the stories with his aides, but kept his personal items of his time with many famous beauties a secret.
“There was a batch of tapes, shot on 8 mm and cinefilm, which were filmed during some of the orgies he enjoyed in the 70s.
“Some famous male movie stars too were in those videos and had that come out it would have been a huge scandal.
“Hef also had thousands of photographs taken at photo shoots or given to him by the girls over the years.
“Marilyn [Monroe] was definitely in them as well as many superstars who graced the pages of his magazine.
“Some of the women were in relationships and others never even made the magazine, but simply were partying with him.
“He had hundreds of other photographs of women who were not famous, but he had enjoyed one nights stands with or even short relationships. There were also audio tapes too.
“In the 1990s, he had concerns about these personal items being stolen and sold around the world … it filled him with dread.
“What actually sparked his concern was when Pamela had her tape with Brett Michaels aired and then Tommy Lee.
“He got so upset and paranoid that he decided it was best to have them disappear. He didn’t trust people to burn them in case they got stolen, so he charged Joe with getting rid of them in the ocean.
“Joe had been his trusted head of security for years and had saved Hugh from many embarrassing situations in the past.
“So he decided that Joe should go out in the middle of the ocean with the cask and dump it all.
“Hugh explained that he didn’t want anyone’s lives, marriages or careers to be destroyed by what he had In his library. Joe did it and never told anyone.”
Hefner decided to take action in the late 90s as parties at the Playboy mansion were becoming wilder.
“The parties at the mansion were becoming grander affairs and it was difficult to control where guests were going,” the source added.
“He was terrified that some of this material would be stolen and the leaked out.
“After what [Anderson] had told him, he was certain that this material was best lost rather than locked away.
“He even worried that if anything happened to him it could get in the wrongs hands and hurt those who were still alive.”
Former Playboy employee Lisa Loving Barrett says in Secrets of Playboy, that she heard the the ocean burial story and has reason to believe it is true.
I am going to conclude that Paige Young’s case is an early example of what later became known as “sex tape scandals,” although this was one that never went public. It seems to have remained firmly swept under the rug by people at Playboy, at the time that it happened and subsequent decades.
I was told by an individual working on the Secrets of Playboy docu-series that there was a “female fixer” working for Playboy/Hef in Los Angeles in the early and mid-1970s. I did not see this information included in the series.
Paige’s suicide and notes left behind, which implicated Hefner and his friends, certainly presented a problem that needed to be fixed.
April of 1974 was not a good time for bad publicity to be attached to Hefner/Playboy as Bobbie Arnstein Hefner’s deeply loyal and equally troubled Chicago secretary, had been arrested for drugs in front of the Chicago Playboy Mansion, only two weeks previous to Paige’s suicide.
San Francisco Examiner Mar. 22, 1974
Hugh Hefner had been spending more and more time in Los Angeles since meeting 18-year-old Barbi Benton in 1968 on the CBS set of Playboy After Dark.
Driving around one day in 1971, Barbi located the mansion in Holmby Hills in 1971.
Back in the Chicago mansion, Bobbie Arnstein was increasingly feeling left out and let down by her mentor. Hefner had previously been so dependent on her.
Bobbie had shared with a few friends her frustration in not receiving more credit and a commensurate salary for her complete devotion to Playboy the corporation, and Hugh Hefner the man, both professionally and personally.
Despite her conflicted feelings, in 1975 Bobbie was supposed relocate to the west coast and continue to be Hefner’s secretary. Tragically, she killed herself shortly before that scheduled date arrived.
In the fall of 1974, Bobbie was given a 15-year provisional jail sentence for a drug crime she did not commit; it was a set-up, even thought Bobbi was a drug abuser. She refused to give false evidence to implicate Hugh Hefner and she praised him in her suicide note.
Bobbie’s suicide in 1975, is usually cited in Hefner biographies as finalizing his decision to leave behind the midwest, and reside in LA full time.
The local police were friendly, and on good terms with Hef and welcomed at the mansion, as several former employees say in Secrets of Playboy.
Former police were employed by Hef as security guards on many occasions.
The local police would have attended Paige’s suicide scene and written it up. (See chapter LAPD suicide report.) And word would have made it to the Mansion in short order. Probably to the “female fixer,” before Hefner.
Math figures show Paige’s age on mortuary paperwork.
Santa Monica Beach Fall 2022
Category: 1970s, 1970s Tagged: #Paige Young, 1974, A&E, Bunny, Creamation, Daily Mail December 2014, Donna Cotterell, Donna Holroyd, Gardena, Hugh Hefner, John Huston, LA History, LA Locations, LAPD, Miki Garcia, Paige Young, Peter Gowland, Playboy Mansion Parties, Playboy Playmate, Price-Daniel Mortuary, Richard Sample, Roosevelt Memorial Park and Mortuary, Russell Miller, Santa Monica beach, Santa Monica California, Secrets of Playboy, Sondra Theodore, suicide, Tony Curtis, Westwood
Posted on July 30, 2020
The photo appears to be taken from the same photo session as the one used in the 69/70 Ridgid Tool Co. calendar.
It’s her only appearance in any of the Gowland instructional books that I have viewed, which is most of them.
It was around this time that Paige moved into a carriage house in Westwood, near UCLA, after feeling “antsy,” while living in a large house in the Trancas Beach area of Malibu. This was told to me by Paige’s friend Henry, who offered Paige a rent free room in his large house, along with other renters.
The house was off Broad Beach Road and across from the Trancas Market.
Paige told Henry that the “isolation” of the location was interfering with her ability to paint.
According to the Daily Mail report, Paige complains to (neighbor who lived in a duplex in front of the carriage house) Melanie about her relationship with famed film director John Huston:
“She (Paige) said she had an affair with John Huston, and that he had done things to her, abused her. I remember one incident in which John hid her shoes to make her think she had gone crazy. It was a small thing, but she was really bothered by it.”
“I know she dated Huston for a while and had just gotten back from a trip to Ireland with him.”Daily Mail 2014
Huston’s daughter, Oscar winner and director Anjelica, spent many years there as a child. She discusses this in detail in her memoirs.
Melanie is quoted in Daily Mail that Paige had “just returned from Ireland,” after a visit to Huston.
The St. Clerans estate was sold sometime in 1973/4 but wasn’t completely vacated by John Huston until 1976, according to Celeste Shane Huston in an online comment.
Paige Young’s visit is in the same time frame of John Huston’s marriage to Celeste Shane Huston, Huston’s 5th marriage and “CiCi’s” 2nd.
Celeste Shane Huston’s first husband is screenwriter Wally Green. They have a son named Collin.
Known as Cici, she spent time living (visiting really) St. Clerans during her marriage to Huston.
Celeste was (and is) involved with horses and boarded at least one at Sepulveda Stables in the early 1960s. I talked with a woman who was 12 years old during these years and knew both Paige and Celeste at Sepulveda Stables.
It’s another factor which places Celeste and Paige in the same world.
Cici visited Huston’s St. Clerans, Ireland estate as a newlywed, it was August/September of 1972. She brought along her son Collin and his caregiver Maricella, who also acted as Cici’s “maid.” His dad Wally Green also visited his son at the estate.
Cici grew up in a wealthy Beverly Hills family with three brothers. Her father owned a successful car leasing company and rented out his yacht to celebrities like Frank Sinatra. (See chapter: The Shanes of Beverly Hills)
Another love of CiCi’s in the late 1950s and early 1960s was famed Hollywood hairdresser Gene Shacove. Los Angeles Times June 22, 1958
(One of her best friends during that time and for many decades was actress Jill St John.)
Huston later said “Cici was as out of place at St. Clerans as anyone could possibly be.”
Cici said “I wasn’t prepared for the eleven servants, the mistresses, Betty O’Kelly, Gladys.”
Betty O’Kelly and Gladys Hill were assistants with a fawning devotion to Huston. Hill co-wrote scripts with him.
Cici observed the women and several employees of the large staff and felt they were taking advantage of Huston by overcharging him. Huston was frequently absent due to directing films all over the globe, plus he was not that interested in managing money. Huston had a lackadaisical attitude about what the employees and assistants were doing, and that drove Cici crazy.
Cici wanted most of the staff fired and Huston refused.
This created a lot of tension at St. Clerans.
Of the treasured horse’s caretaker Cici said, “I caught him with quadruple charges for horseshoeing. I know about horses. He couldn’t screw me around.”
Cici was especially outraged by the visit of her husband’s young mistress, Zoe Sallis, who of course brought along her out-of-wedlock son by John Huston: Danny Huston. Cici resented the monthly allowance (and breakfast in bed) afforded to Zoe.
Zoe claims that Cici “forbade” Huston to cast her in the movie “The Man Who Would Be King.” A part that went to Shakira Caine. Zoe felt and still does, that this was a missed opportunity for her.
John and Cici left Ireland and returned to Cici’s place in the Palisades at some point.
Theie divorce was finalized in 1977.
John Huston and Paige were both painters in addition to being horse lovers; these factors may have played a role in their “connection”.
He wasn’t one to indulge in “one-night-stands.”
Huston was a womanizer and had several marriages, flings, short and long-term affairs with numerous women over the decades and apparently of all ages. This was apparent after reading two biographies of John Huston:
“The Hustons” by Lawrence Groberl. published by Scribner’s.
“Courage and Art” by Jeffrey Meyers.
Also, from what I’ve read, Huston had a meanstreak in his personality that he would sometimes unleash on the ones most likely to be hurt by it.
Example: The Daily Mail story Melanie tells of Huston hiding Paige’s shoes, “It really bothered her,” even though “it was a little thing.”
As I have previously written , Celeste and Paige both boarded horses at Sepulveda Stables.
Celeste messaged me that she is the one who introduced Paige to Sepulveda Stables.
When I read her message, I already knew that Paige boarded her horses at the stables located at Sepulveda Blvd.& Hatteras since grade school when she was known as Diana Cotterell. (See related chapter)
“Diana Cotterell,” gave 2 school photos to the owners of the Stables which were published on a website about Sepulveda Stables. Diana definitely looked grade school in these.
That would mean Cici knew Paige as Diana in grade school and I don’t buy it. She gave no indication she knew her as Diana. Paige was tight lipped about her past.
Diana lived nearby Sepulveda Stables as did several of her classmates, like Joan Edwards, who boarded a horse there in the mid and late 1950s.
As did Celeste in the early 1960s along with actresses Donna Reed and Jill St. John. I can believe they met at that time.
Given what Melanie said in the Daily Mail and the sale of St. Clerans, Paige’s visit was likely and necessarily 72-73, even early 1974. If so, she may have witnessed or even been involved in the drama between Cici, Betty, Gladys, and Zoe Sallis. According to biographer Jeffrey Meyers, Huston enjoyed women fighting over him.
I had an email exchange with Celeste Shane Huston and she confirmed that she and Huston knew Paige and they “were only trying to help her.”
She denied that Huston and Paige had affair. She wrote that 2 prominent lawyers purchased Paige’s ticket to Ireland for the visit.
Another visitor to St. Clerens during these years was Bill Gardner.
The same Bill Gardner from the Pasadena Art Museum chapter. He knew both John and Celeste Huston as did Paige.
The following paragraph is what Bill wrote on for his author page on Amazon.
William Louis Gardner started his career getting a diploma from the Pasadena Play House in the fifties. The US Air sent him to Pasadena, California to learn film and television production. During his education at the Playhouse he was sent to do on-the-job-training at ABC, CBS and NBC. He spent time on the on the sets of Colgate Comedy Hour studying, observing and watching the process of television variety type shows. Bill became acquainted with the Martin & Lewis show, Jimmy Durante Show, Danny Thomas Show, Lucille Ball, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland and Milton Berle Shows. After William left Hollywood he joined his squadron and wrote and produced films for the US Air Force. When he was discharged from the Air Force he returned to Hollywood and went to work for Mickey Rooney as his assistant and manager for ten years. After he joined Jonathan Winters as his manager. In 1965 William moved to Ireland and joined director, John Huston, as his assistant. He worked on John’s films in England and Morocco. John sent Bill to East Africa to do pre-production for a film Bill had written called “The Games End”. The film has yet to be made. William, left the industry in 1972 and came back to California and moved to Montecito and became a real estate broker. He formed a Real Estate office in Santa Barbara and retired thirty five years later to write a novel “Confession of a Hollywood Agent” and numerous screenplays. His novel “The End of the Game” struggles with Africanization, intrigue and murder to save the elephant. Present, Bill keeps on writing.scribd.com
He mentions Jonathan Winters and John Huston, both associated with Paige Young.
Famous LA writer sees Huston and Hefner with others including an “unidentified sex object,” possibly Paige Young, at a backgammon tournament, sometime in 1972. The observation by Smith happened around the time Cici and Huston tied the knot.
I have never seen a photo of the two men together or Huston at the Holmby Hills mansion.
Allegedly the cast and crew of Chinatown spent some off-set time at the mansion. The cast, of course, includes Huston and director Roman Polanski.
This would have been the timeframe that Paige had been hanging out with Hefner at the mansion “scene,” such as it was, at least on an occasional if not regular basis.
Paige was witnessed at the Playboy mansion near the end of her life as recounted by neighbor Melanie Myers, who herself was invited to the Mansion. This is told in the Secrets of Playboy documentary.
These were the last years of Paige’s life.
Chinatown was released 2 months after Paige Young’s suicide
More about John Huston ahead.
Paige was still modeling in the early 1970s; she appears in some Electrochemical Company photographs, credited to Peter Gowland, probably taken in 72 or 73. Tame by standards even then, I suspect Gowland had her in mind immediately for this job; he knew Paige needed the paycheck, and she would be willing to appear topless or nude.
There is an association between Electrochemical Company and the Ridgid Tool Company, Gowland’s long time clients. Paige appears in the 69/70 Ridgid calendar at the top of this chapter.
Paige was one model of a few featured in this series which looks like it was a gift for special clients. A calendar I guess. Ann Cushing and Brook Mills, two Gowland favorites, are the others. Plus one I don’t recognize.
The models all go uncredited including Paige, her “Playmate” status is not indicated anywhere. She is portrayed in this series, like the others, as an anonymous girl. I recognized her and informed the seller.
Category: 1970s, LA Locations, Playboy, PMOM Tagged: #Paige Young, 1970sLA, Alice Gowland, Ann Cushing Brook Mills, Bill Gardner, Celeste Shane Huston, Cici Huston, Collin Green, Courage and Art, Daily Mail December 2014, Danny Huston, Electrochemicals, Galway, Gladys, Horses, Hugh Hefner, Ireland, Jack Smith, John Huston, Jonathan Winters, LA History, LAT, Modeling, Peter Gowland, Secrets of Playboy, Sepulveda Stables, St. Clerans, The Hustons, Vintage LA, Wally Green, William Louis Gardner, Zoe Sallis
Posted on July 15, 2020
Paige’s photo appears in the January 1969 issue of Playboy magazine. It’s also the 15th anniversary issue of the massively successful magazine and empire. The issue shows all 12 Playmates of 1968, a brief update accompanies each one.
The contestants are in the running for the soon-to-be-named Playmate of the Year 1969. The Playmate of the Year was a big deal. A higher status title than Playmate of the Month obviously, it meant more photos, more publicity and more money.
The winner was born Constance Kornacki in Wyandotte, Michigan. She grew up in a strict Polish Catholic family.
She became a Michigan nursing school student and then a Playmate as Connie Kreski in January of 1968. Around the same time she moved to London and met singer/songwriter Anthony Newley.
Connie appeared to look much younger than her 21 years. This is why Anthony Newley cast her in his 1969 film “Can Heironymus Merkin Ever Forget Mercy Humppe and Find True Happiness?”
Connie plays Mercy, Anthony is Heironymus and his wife Joan Collins plays his wife in the film named Polyester Poontang. It was pretty much a flop and skewered by the critics.
Connie Kreski met another powerful man in London and began dating him: Hefner’s partner and close friend at Playboy: Victor Lownes. Lownes was head of the Playboy Club and casino in London during the Swinging Sixties.
Detroit Press Nov. 17, 1969 BetteLou Petersen celebrity column.
Well known to those who have read some 1960s social history, Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate had their wedding reception at the London Playboy Club in 1968; Lownes, Hefner and Polanski were close friends.
Connie and Victor are seen together with several mourners at Sharon Tate’s funeral, on film footage seen on youtube.
Victor Lownes is the person seen in a famous photo holding up a collapsing Roman Polanski at Sharon Tate’s funeral.
Connie has about 10 TV and film appearances after “Hieronymus.”
She appeared as a guest on the Merv Griffin and Joey Bishop talk shows.
April 6, 1969. Long Beach Press Telegraph
She go-go danced on Laugh-In, was introduced on Playboy After Dark TV show by Hugh Hefner as “Connie Kreski, our Playmate of the Year.” Connie does not say one word the entire show.
She did have more lines on other episodes of PAD, mostly the ones from 1970, the last year of the program.
San Francisco Examiner Nov. 8. 1970 below
The People, London. Aug. 23, 1970
Valley Times Mar. 25, 1969
Kreski’s newspaper press indicates she was signed to a contract with Universal Studios.
Universal signed an extraordinary number of models, beauty contest winners and starlets in the 1950s and 60s.
After a few years Connie’s contract with Universal was dropped which merited one sentence in a Hollywood gossip column.
Detroit Free Press April 27, 1969
Connie appeared on a memorable 1970 episode of Love American Style starring Kaye Ballard, where she plays a topless waitress.
Her last credit is the mini-series Aspen from 1976.
Connie had a high profile romance with actor James Caan in the early and mid-1970s. She was identified in Hollywood news articles as his “girlfriend” and “ex-Playmate.” They got together fresh off Caan’s star making turn in the Godfather; he was much in demand by directors and studios. And by beautiful young women as well, according to several interviews at the time.
Playboy Mansion regular James Caan speaks about girlfriend Connie Kreski in NY Daily News Oct. 8, 1972
Below is from an early/mid 1970s Playboy feature on men’s jewelry with Connie and boyfriend James Caan.
It was determined that Connie Kreski died of cirrhosis of the liver at age 48 in 1995. Laennec’s is a cirrhosis most associated with alcohol abuse over time.
What happened in her life that caused it to end this way at the age of 45?
What happened to her friendships with Hefner and Polanski and that crowd? And James Caan?
Connie Kreski is rarely mentioned in any pop culture forum. I find that strange given the people that she was seen hanging out with.
Many of these people continue to generate attention and conversation. Some are still alive, many dead. Most recently, Connie’s ex and Playboy mansion regular and good friend of Hefner, James Caan passed away on July 6, 2022. His death drew numerous accolades and a film festival is in the works.
Unusually, Caan lacks a dedicated biography. This will likely be forthcoming.
Caan hadn’t been asked about Connie since the 1970s.
is incorrectly identified on the internet. It usually says “blocked carotid artery” or “cancer.” Connie’s entry in The Playmate Book, mentions her death in Beverly Hills, 1995, but doesn’t state a cause. I have included closeups of her death certificate.
Connie married Louis Edelman in New York in 1986 and they set up a marital home in Los Angeles/Beverly Hills.
Connie died in March of 1995 at age 49. She died before her about 10 years older husband, Louis Edelman.
Official cause of death for 1969 Playmate of the Year Connie Kreski.
I corresponded with Connie’s stepdaughter Barbara Cooper. She told me that Connie became pregnant and lost a baby boy (named Zachary) when she was 6 months along. This tragedy also occured in 1986.
Cooper told me that after the loss, Connie began an obsession with calorie counting and losing weight and on top of that she abused alcohol.
It’s no wonder then, that she died so young.
Barbara told me how consistently kind and sweet Connie was to her daughters and to everybody.
She said that Connie never talked about Playboy, Hefner, any of the Playmates, or her days in Hollywood.
More on Connie Kreski and her brief time in the spotlight
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