Posted on June 8, 2021
UPDATE: Richard L. Sample passed away on August 10, 2021.
Recently, I interviewed Richard Sample, Paige’s ex-boyfriend and friend, painter, sculptor, collage, furniture maker.
He now lives in the Coachella Valley area of California.
Richard Sample was still living in Sun Valley, Idaho when he was interviewed by Daily Mail reporter Ryan Parry in 2014. He says he doesn’t know who gave his name to Parry in association with Paige Young.
I am thankful to Richard Sample for inviting me to interview him in person and taking the time and effort to talk about Paige Young. It was not always easy for him (or me).
Thanks also to his niece Ellen Sample who has been very helpful.
At the appointed time, I pulled up in my rental car and parked next to Richard’s house. There was a chainlink fence and gate that had a big padlock on it and the house was about 10 yards beyond it; I called out his name several times and did not get a response.
Luckily, Richard’s niece Ellie pulled up in her car, got out and told me Richard’s neighbor had called and told her that “there is woman in a red car was in front of her Uncle Richard’s house.”
Ellie unlocked the gate and as we walked toward the house, she told me that Richard doesn’t hear very well now.
Ellie said that she was aware of the interview, but “didn’t ask him any questions so that he feels he has his own life.” Ellie lives one street over and has been very involved with caring for Richard after he moved to the area.
Richard warmly greeted me with a hug as did his dog Tolly. Ellie left us to the interview.
Richard Sample gave me permission to publish what he said during our interview.
After we sat down to talk, Sample said to me:
“In 2001 I got throat cancer. I got radiation that burned the lining of my throat and my whole body. I also had a surgery and they cut my throat, it left me hard to talk, hard to drink, hard to eat… I am dying.”
Richard Sample is now 84 years old and obviously does not hear well or speak easily. I strained to hear his whisper of a raspy voice to understand what he was saying, and I didn’t always understand right away. I got better at understanding pretty quickly as our conversation got going.
I will say Richard and I didn’t have a have a normal flowing conversation, but more of a question and answer session, and mostly the answers Richard gave took him a long time to say. I also got to know him as a person and shared my journey with researching Paige’s story.
This chapter and the next will be a mixture of exact quotes from my tape recorder as well as transcribed hand notes.
Background: Richard and Paige got together after the end of his relationship with Sylvia Nicolosi, daughter of famed LA based sculptor Joseph Nicolosi. She was one of three sisters.
Richard said he was in the military but “never made it to Vietnam, just Ft. Bragg North, Carolina.” He showed me his military ID,
He had several memories of Paige he wanted to tell me right away.
“Paige lived in a converted chicken coop on the edge of Malibu.“
Richard doesn’t remember which edge.
For a dinner party, Paige had a different chair for each guest to use, not a matching (dining) set.
She would only eat salad if it was a day old.
“I never saw Paige with shoes on.” (see chapter 1970 Warhol, Paige appears with her date at the Warhol opening in Pasadena. She is photographed wearing a ankle length Rudi Gernreich dress and is barefoot as described by the reporter.)
“She is the only person I’ve ever known who ate ice cream with a fork,”
I asked about Hamish, the horse she had owned since junior high and still had in late 1964 according to her divorce filing. Richard says she did not keep a horse in Malibu that he knew of. Malibu is a town where people have kept horses and been involved with horses for many decades.
Paige would often strip down to her underwear and “run around topless or even nude.” Confirmed. Westwood neighbor Melanie told me that Paige often walked around nude in the shared backyard and it got on her nerves.
How Richard met Paige
Paige was “going with a man named Harry Gesner. He was an architect who designed the Cooper house in Malibu. The house was on the cover of Life magazine. Harry Gesner was a client of my landlord. My landlord was Edward Ravick; he was involved with the Malibu Colony and maybe lived there at times.”
“Ravick sent Gesner and Paige to my studio in Malibu, to see my art.”
(I have found two mentions of an Edward Ravick in a Malibu paper connected to real estate in the 1960s.)
Richard and Paige “immediately hit it off” and began dating.
Harry Gesner passed away in June of 2022 at the age of 97.
I had contacted Richard months earlier by writing a letter. I asked him what he knew about Jonathan Winters.
Richard asked me why I asked about Jonathan Winters.
I told him of Paige’s newspaper interviews from 1969 when she promoted Playboy around the country. In some of them, it says that Paige “has appeared in many skits,” on The Jonathan Winters Show. (1967-1969 CBS) (See my chapter on Paige’s Most Public Year 1969).
I then asked Richard why he called Jonathan Winters an “asshole” in his letter back to me.
His answer below.
“Dennis, (does not remember his last name) was the owner of the Golden O Gallery, in Los Alamos, he told me that Jonathan Winters used to come and sit on the sidewalk at Dennis’ gallery and talk about Paige, and he had nothing good to say, it was always nasty or negative. I never met the man, but Dennis could tell you all about it. Richard added that Dennis never met Paige, but he “did know about her.”
Presumably because of Jonathan Winters.
Richard said that Paige did not say anything about Jonathan Winters when they were together.
He said he wasn’t aware of her appearing on the show during its run from 1967-1969.
He said it is a possibility that she did and he didn’t know about it.
I have since learned 2 thing about Jonathan Winters: He painted seriously as a hobby, and even published a book of his paintings entitled “Hang-Ups.“
And Winters had a residence in Santa Barbara which is quite close to the art infused town of Los Alamos.
Richard said he would occasionally pick up Paige at the Sunset Strip Playboy Club, after her shift. She worked at the club “for about 3 months,” he said.
Bill Cosby was a frequent visitor and performer at many Playboy Clubs. He was a close friend to Hugh Hefner.
“Bill Cosby was always trying to put the make on Paige. She didn’t want anything to do with him, she ignored him,” said Richard.
Richard then told me of one time when he was picking Paige up from the club after her shift. He saw Bill Cosby get angry at Paige after she rebuffed another one of his advances.
Richard then asked me if I was “sure that Paige committed suicide and was “not murdered.” I told him that I owned a copy of her death certificate with suicide by gun typed into the cause of death box. I brought it out and showed it to him.
“I wouldn’t ever think she would do that,”he said shaking his head at the document.
I decided not to tell Richard that there is more proof of a suicide besides the death certificate: witnesses like neighbor Melanie, the man D. DeWitt listed as a “2nd witness” on the police report, the police at Paige’s house on that day. (See chapter on LAPD report) And the coroner’s report.
Celeste Huston to me in a facebook exchange.
Melanie is the only one of these people to have spoken out publicly about the day of Paige’s suicide.
“She was a good person. I really miss her.” Richard said about Paige a few times that afternoon.
Richard Sample moved to Venice Beach, around 1967 motivated by the thriving art scene and to join his father, artist Charlie Sample, who was already there and had a storefront.
Richard’s father was Charles “Charlie” Sample, a well known artist, an eccentric Los Angeles and California character. He moved around a bit within California.
He was at least locally famous as a talented goldsmith/jeweler to the Hollywood stars, in particular the western ones. There are many newspaper articles about him.
“My father (Charlie Sample) was a famous gold and silver smith. He made silver spurs for $8000 and made belt buckles and horse saddles for Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, John Wayne, Mae West, Tim Holt.”
Richard shows me a recent catalog for a company producing high-end western gear, Bohlin, using Charlie Sample designs: horse saddles, bridles, spurs, belt buckles, bolo ties, rings, bracelets etc. Charlie was a lead designer for Bohlin for many years.
“Paige liked my father, he made some jewelry for her.”
Paige joined Richard not too long after he moved to Venice Beach. He said he invited her and was thrilled that she moved in. (more on this later) Records show that Richard was married in 1968 and not to Paige.
Like many artists, his house doubled as his art studio.
I asked Richard if he encountered any of the many artists who became famous out of the Venice Beach art scene (that started in the 1950s with “The Cool School” and the slightly later “Light and Space” or “Finish Fetish” movement.)
He said “De Wain Valentine had a studio next door to Paige and me.” (See chapter on Museum appearance with Warhol 1970)
“He was a friend of mine.”
“Another friend, Larry Bell, lived across the street from us, on Market.”
(Turns out Larry Bell had a building next door to Valentine, it was Robert Irwin who lived across the street. I did mention Irwin and Ruscha and Richard did not recognize those names.)
“We (Paige and I) all used to hang out a lot, with all these (Venice artists) at Barney’s Beanery.”
After I returned from my trip, I did some research and I found quotes from Bell and Valentine in Art magazines.
There were a lot of actors and writers. We all used to hang out at a place called Barney’s Beanery, which was in West Hollywood. It was a local bar, a funky little place right at the end of La Cienega Boulevard where all the galleries were. So after the Tuesday or Thursday night openings, everyone would go up to Barney’s and hang around—there was The Raincheck Room on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood as well.Larry Bell in Whitewall: Beyond the Walls, Dec. 2019
See chapter on Pasadena Art Museum for much more on DeWain Valentine.
Paige owned a yellow Mustang, a recent model and Richard owned a Corvette.
“A guy named Rex Ramsey stole our cars, but Paige got them back.”
I already knew about Rex Ramsey; he’s connected to Mark F. Segal, through renting Segal’s (where Paige lived as his wife) house at 4144 Crisp Canyon in Sherman Oaks. Both men spent a career heavily involved with cars: sales, importing. racing. Ramsey designed a successful race car once. He did some stunt driving in Hollywood.
(Rex Ramsey told me Mark’s family had a series of car dealerships and a towing service business. “They were quite well off,” Ramsey said. Otherwise he said he did not remember Paige Young but maybe he would later. I haven’t been able to reach him since the second phone call when he was unable to talk with me.)
Richard shows me a picture of himself decked out head to toe in animal fur, looking like mountain man Jedidiah Smith.
Richard and his father were both quite handsome.
He says that “unfortunately” he has no photos of Paige or paintings by her; he has lost a lot of his possessions and paintings over the years but he is hoping to retrieve some of Paige’s paintings in Santa Maria.
“I never knew Paige to be involved with drugs, except an occasional use of grass.” Richard said that she did sometimes drink alcohol and occasionally went to clubs “in the Marina.”
And possibly the Raincheck Room per Larry Bell’s quote.
After I asked about something else and not hearing my question, Richard said “Paige was basically a very good person, until she got mixed up with Hefner. She went downhill then.”
Lewis Beach Marvin 3rd
was born into the family, “who owned Green Stamps. He was a friend of Paige’s and mine. He introduced me to Robert Carl Cohen who put a lot of my sculptures in his movie Mondo Hollywood.“
Lewis Beach Marvin and the amazing dwelling he put together in the hills of Malibu, is featured in Mondo Hollywood. The movie is a cult film known as an important document of counterculture LA/1960s history.
I did some research and one story says that Lewis Beach Marvin is the young man who gives Jim Morrison a lamb on stage in Miami on May 1st 1969. This can be seen on a video. It’s the concert that resulted in Morrison’s arrest due to alledgedly exposing his penis on stage.
Lewis Beach Marvin was an vegan activist WAY before it was a “thing.”
He does appear in a Miami article with a lamb around the time of the Doors concert. I have also read a local Miami man gave Morrison the lamb.
The Miami arrest hanging over his head is supposedly one reason Jim Morrison left for Paris where he fatally overdosed on heroin. He was already in bad health due to alcohol abuse.
Shortly after I returned from California, I rented Mondo Hollywood on Amazon. I was unable to specifically identify Richard’s sculptures in the film–a sculptor named Valerie Porter is one of the “main characters” and the movie is heavy on a variety of her sculptures and many other sculptures and structures.
I did an ending credit:
Moonshadow sculpture: Richard Lauren Sample..
Famous pinup and 1950s, 60s Playboy photographer Peter Gowland
Peter Gowland called Richard (in 1974) looking for Paige because she hadn’t been seen for a while. He called Richard back some time later to tell him that Paige had committed suicide. Peter did not tell Richard the method that Paige used to kill herself.
According to Richard: Peter Gowland is the one who suggested and encouraged Paige to try out for Playboy. The two had met a few years previous, Paige had already modeled for Gowland several times.
Without mentioning this to Richard, I knew that Paige had said in a few 1969 interviews “my photographer friend suggested” the idea and submitted her photos to Playboy.
Richard opened Eros Gallery in Westwood in the late 60s. He can’t remember the location beyond that.
The next several photos are all from Playboy magazine November 1968, taken by Peter Gowland. I went through them with Richard.
Richard said this photo below shows him helping Paige carry one of her paintings into his Eros Gallery.
Richard says the seated woman on the left is “Mrs. Burke, my partner in Eros Gallery.” Mrs. Burke was a local patroness of the Arts. He said that Peter Gowland is the man in between Mrs. Burke and Paige.
If it is Gowland, I don’t know who took the shot; Richard said Peter’s wife and co-owner of their photography business, Alice Gowland, was not there that day and he never met her.
According to Richard, this photo of Paige running with her dog Joshua was taken at the Malibu Colony.
Richard said he has no idea who any of these people are at the cookout or in the room with Paige painting. He doesn’t recognize the location.
Richard said that when he was living with Paige he “never questioned where she was going, what she was doing” or with whom she was doing it. “And she never questioned me. That is just the way the relationship was.”
“Me and Harry Gesner went to Paige’s house during the Malibu fire (he’s not sure which year in the 1960s.) and hosed everything down. Paige’s house didn’t burn but everything around it did.”
I then asked a couple of my questions about Paige’s family.
Was there ever an indication that Paige had grown up with a grandmother (Virginia Young LaRocca) who was a Christian Science practitioner/ 1st Reader in the Church for decades? Richard answered, “Nope, nope, not at all.”
Richard said that Paige never talked about her childhood in the SFV, her family, that her birth name was Diana Cotterell, or her marriage to Mark F. Segal. She never said she used Marvin Mitchelson as her lawyer, Richard had never heard of Marvin Mitchelson anyway.
Richard said he met Paige’s sister (Constance/Connie) one time only, when Paige drove him to a visit with her. He said he doesn’t “think that they had a close relationship.”
Richard looked quite exhausted so I ended the interview for the day. I felt bad about telling him too much of Paige’s background that he never knew.
He said it didn’t bother him.
He shared one last thing:
“I introduced Paige to Tony Dow, a good friend of mine. He drove a Porsche. He liked my Vette. He lived in the Valley. “
Tony Dow purchased some of Richard’s art .
Tony Dow died July 27, 2022, just a little over a month after Harry Gesner. He was 77 years old and had decades of pursuing his hobby of sculpture.
Part 2 of the interview is posted.
Category: 1960s, 1970s, LA Locations, Playboy, PMOM, Popular Culture Tagged: #Celebrity connections, #Paige Young, #Richard Sample, 1960cultfigures, 1960s, 1960s history, Barney's Beanery, Bill Cosby, Charles Sample, Charlie Sample, Corvette, cultmovie, DeWain Valentine, Donna Holroyd, Early 1960s, Eros Gallery Art Gallery, Family, Green Stamps, Harry Gesner, Harry Gesner architect, Hollywood connection, Hugh Hefner, Jim Morrison, Jonathan Winters, Jonathan Winters Show, Joseph Nicolosi, LA, LA History, Larry Bell, Lewis Beach Marvin, Lewis Beach Marvin III, Los Angeles History, Malibu, Malibu Fire, Marina Del Rey, Mark F. Segal, Mark Frederick Segal, Marvin M. Mitchelson, mid-1960s, Mondo Hollywood, Mustang, Peter Gowland, Playboy magazine, Rex A. Ramsey, Rex Ramsey, Robert Carl Coehn, Robert Irwin, SFV, Sunset Strip, Sylvia Nicolosi, Tony Dow, Venice, Venice Beach, Venice California, Vietnam, Virginia LaRocca, Westwood
Posted on July 21, 2020
The occasion was a gala for the new Andy Warhol exhibit.
Warhol himself makes an appearance, obviously a big deal.
From the Los Angeles Evening Citizen 5/16/1970
More on Paige’s date Bill Gardner.
William Louis Gardner was born in Minnesota and finished school there. HeFrom Bill Gardner’s website.
joined the US Air Force and worked at the Pentagon in the Target Library of the world. Went on to the Pasadena Playhouse to learn television and movie making. He got a job with actress Marion Davies at her home. There He met a movie agent and started a career in Hollywood. William Louis Gardner has worked in Hollywood as the agent, personal secretary, PR advisor and manager for for Mickey Rooney, Jonathan Winters, Jill St.John, Bobby Van and director, John Huston. William Gardner is the author of two books, “Confessions of a Hollywood Agent,” and “The Games End.”
According to the article, Paige Young and Andy Warhol discuss a role for Paige in an upcoming Andy Warhol film.
Marvene Jones also says that Mr. and Mrs. DeWain Valentine made up a foursome with Paige and Bill Gardner. Valentine had an exhibit of his large size cast polyester resin pieces at the Pasadena Art Museum, right along with an exhibit of Warhol’s use of repetitive images.
DeWain Valentine was a rapidly rising artist in the 1960s Venice art scene.
He was a major player in the new “Light and Space” art movement, along with artists Larry Bell, Robert Irwin, Helen Pashgian, James Turrell, John McCracken, Fred Eversley, Doug Wheeler and more.
Many of these artists lived in Venice Beach due to the cheap rent.
Before the Light and Space artists emerged, the Cool School or Ferus Gallery artists, had already established themselves beginning in the early 1950s. Many of them lived in Venice Beach, a dilapidated beach town dotted with oil rigs and and trash in the once beautiful canals. The rent was dirt cheap. Nobody in respectable society would want to live there and it was considered dangerous.
The Ferus Group, of (mainly) men, includes: Ed Keinholz, Wally Berman, Billy Al Bengston, Ed Ruscha, Robert Irwin, Ed Moses, Craig Kauffman, and the curators and owners of the Ferus Gallery who helped bring them to renown, Walter Hopps and Irving Blum.
These artists loved the freedom to explore and experiment with their art because they far away from the competetive New York City Art scene the snobbish art critics.
Alongside the underground ground art scene in Venice Beach the 1950s and 60s. the “Beatnik Scene” was flourishing. Along with the Beatniks in San Francisco North Beach and Greenwich Village NYC., anew pop-cultural icon was born.
This was the beret wearing, cigarette smoking, poetry spouting, establishment thwarting Beatnik. They Beatniks started in San Francisco, Greenwich Village along with the LA version of Venice Beach..
The Ferus Gallery gang famously interacted with Warhol during his well documented stay in Los Angeles in the early 1960s. Warhol drove with Taylor Mead, assistant Gerard Malanga and painter Wynn Chamberlain from NYC to LA. This was for Warhol’s 2nd showing and 1st appearance at Ferus. In fact it was Warhol’s first trip to LA.
The Ferus ‘Studs’ the new generation of artists, young abstract painters, ceramicists and assemblage makers who had been flying under the wire now were the featured artists at the Ferus Gallery.The Gallery was ripe for the adventurous artists who would set the new bar in contemporary styles. The Ferus Gallery had belief in the performance of their work and was one of the first galleries to support it.
For much more detail on this art movement which established the Los Angeles art scene as one on par with New York City or Europe, see the documentary “The Cool School,” available on Netflix.
The Light and Space movement emerged from the Cool School in the mid-1960s.
DeWain Valentine developed a type of polyester resin that allowed him to make large scale pieces like the one shown above. Previously the material would crack when making a piece this size: approx: 17 1/4x 17/4 x 7/8.
I think it was his father, artist and western jewelry maker Charlie Sample, who was able to get Richard the studio space in Venice Beach.
I asked Richard the location and he said he could not remember it, but that it was close to the ocean and his artist neighbors and friends were DeWain Valentine and Larry Bell. (See Chapter: Interview with Richard Sample)
Paige refers to her “new Venice art studio” in several interviews with Playboy magazine and US newspapers in 1969 and 1970. (See chapter: Most Public Year 1969)
Richard Sample and Paige Young joined the community of Venice artists, but were “not working with the new materials,” to quote Paige in a 1969 interview. She was referring to her neighbors and friends, Valentine, Bell and Irwin, not named.
I have found location of this Venice studio: 62-68 Market St.
Research and interviews show that Robert Irwin lived across the street from Valentine. This was not mentioned by Richard Sample, I even asked him if he “knew Ed Ruscha or Robert Irwin” and some others. He did not recognize those names, he was definitive about Bell and Valentine.
Richard Sample’s niece Ellen remembers visiting her uncle and grandfather Charles Sample at the art studio/home in Venice. Charles also had a retail storefront in addition to his studio.
Richard and Ellen both recalled being able to see the beach from the studio. 62-68 Market St. is a large structure and was divided amongst many artists who rented their own studio according to Ellie. This is why the address lists a range of numbers.
Ellen, a child at the time, remembers hearing a lot about a man named “Valentine.”
Richard Sample is listed with an address of 63 Market St. Venice, in a newspaper marriage announcement, 1968.
Ellen texted me a story: her Uncle Richard sublet the Venice studio to Paige at one point.
Ellen recalls “tensions” with Paige and Ellen’s aunts about Paige. These women were the wives of Charles Sample and his sons.
Ellen said her own mother was not bothered by Paige living at the studio, but that she did “go with her sister-in-laws to see what was going on at the studio. ” Ellen says the most tense time was when Paige’s Playboy issue was currently and shortly after.
I asked Ellen if it was possible that this issue resulted in Paige being asked to leave, by Richard?
Ellen said she thought it was possible.
DeWain Valentine has spoken about this Venice studio in several art magazine interviews; the influence it had on his art and on the art of his many fellow famous artists. This includes Larry Bell and Robert Irwin, particularly the early years of the 1960s and 70s.
DeWain Valentine lived in and eventually purchased the 62 -65 Market St. building.
Several records with his signature and name can be seen in public building archives from LA County, now available online. Copy of one seen below.
61-65 is the address listed.
DeWayne Valentine spent a couple decades living and creating art in Hawaii as well.
He passed a year ago as I write this, February 2, 2022.
From the Documentary “The Cool School.” Market St, where Valentine, Bell and Irwin had studios. And Richard Sample and Paige Young lived briefly.
Category: 1970s, LA Locations, PMOM, Popular Culture Tagged: #Paige Young, 1970sfad, 1970sLA, 1972, Alice Gowland, Andy Warhol, Beatnik, Bill Gardner, Billy Al Bengston, Carolyn Rowan, Cool School, Dennis Hopper, DeWain Valentine, Ed Keinhoz, Ed Ruscha, Elsworth Kelly, Ferus Gallery, Glamour Photography, Irving Blum, Jonathan Winters, Larry Bell, Light and Space Art, Los Angeles architecture, Los Angeles History, Norton Simon, PAM, Pasadena, Pasadena Art Museum, Richard Sample, Robert Irwin, Robert Rowan, Rudi Gernriech, Santa Monica Blvd., Taylor Mead, Venice Art scence, Venice Beach, Venice Beach artists, Venice California, Wally Berman, Walter Hopps, Westwood