My Interview with Artist/Paige Young Friend Richard Sample. 1964-1969. Malibu. Venice. Celebrity Connections. Cult Characters. PART 1. Updated 1/20/2023

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.

LAT Feb. 20, 1965

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.

Richard and Paige met in the Art World of Malibu in about 1965.

“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.”

LAT July 19, 1964. This house has been famously known at the “Wave House” for decades. Sample called it “the Cooper House” which was the name used in earlier decades.

“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.)

Detail of photo with artists Richard Sample, left, Paige Young, Harry Gesner. Thank you to Ellen Sample for use of this photo.

Richard and Paige “immediately hit it off” and began dating.

Harry Gesner passed away in June of 2022 at the age of 97.

Jonathan Winters

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.

Taken at my visit to the now closed Paley Media Center in Beverly Hills.

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.

Bill Cosby

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.

Vintage Postcard. Playboy building on the right. It had the club, offices and a suite on the top floor Hugh Hefner while he was in LA.

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.

Back of postcard. This Playboy Club was opened on New Year’s Eve 1964

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.

One of many newspaper articles on legendary Charlie/Charles Sample. Santa Maria Times Oct. 4, 1993.

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
The Brooklyn Rail May 2019 Interview with DeWain Valentine

See chapter on Pasadena Art Museum for much more on DeWain Valentine.

Cars

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.

1973

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.

Playboy magazine November 1968

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.

The painting at right looks like the start of a self portrait

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.”

Malibu fire

“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.

1963 Marriage & 1964 Divorce to Mark F. Segal. Marvin M. Mitchelson Lawyer. Headlines.

1963 October 1st Paige Young marries Mark Frederick Segal in Las Vegas, per nearly impossible to read ledger records found on ancestry.com.

Notice in the Valley News December 25, 1964

An elopement likely in one of those 24-hour Las Vegas wedding chapels.

The record shows only the date and names.

 Paige’s new husband Mark F. Segal, born in 1942, is the son of WW2 veteran Harold Segal and his wife. They resided in Sherman Oaks at 4518 Vista Del Monte, at one time.  Mark was a marine private who took combat training in 1961 at Camp Pendleton.

  Segal was also a car dealer at “Sea-Gull Motors,” a business started by his father according to newspaper ads in the late 1950s and Segal friend Rex Ramsey. Sea-Gull Motors either has several locations or moves locations several times in the Sherman Oaks/Van Nuys area in the 1950s and 1960s: 7211 Balboa Avenue, 4425 Van Nuys Blvd. and 6738 Sepulveda Blvd. Or they

Ramsey told me that father Harold Segal also owned Fox Auto Service in the SFV and the Segal family had several brothers in addition to Mark. He mentioned that the family was “pretty well-off.”

1963-1964 Paige and Mark live together as husband and wife at 4133 Crisp Canyon Road in Sherman Oaks, “South of Ventura.

Paige continues to board her horse Hamish at Sepulveda Stables.  A young friend at the stables emailed this information and wrote to me about Paige’s connection to her home on Crisp Canyon. It’s very close to the neighborhood where Diana Cotterell lived and attended elementary and junior high school.

The young friend of Paige’s from told me that when she was 12 years old, Paige (19/20 years old), drove her to the house on Crisp Canyon Rd. to hang out and drink lemonade.

1964

August 28, 11 months after her Las Vegas marriage, Paige and her attorney file for divorce from Mark F. Segal. Paige is represented by rising Beverly Hills attorney Marvin M. Mitchelson.

NEW YORK, NY – CIRCA 1979: Marvin Mitchelson, Celebrity divorce lawyer circa 1979 in New York City. (Photo by Robin Platzer/IMAGES/Getty Images)

Below are just a few of the dozens of divorce documents I obtained from a records department located in Downtown LA.

 The filing below states that Mark threatened Paige and her animals with bodily harm “on numerous occasions,” and on August 17, 1964, “brandished a knife in her presence,” and “Plaintiff’s profession is that of an artist and painter and on or about June 15, 1964, defendant maliciously and with intent to destroy plaintiff’s artwork drove nails through plaintiff’s prized paintings and further did mischievous damage by driving nails through plaintiff’s personal belongings including an expensive fur stole.”

Divorce document Declaration of husband to determine Mark’s income, shows address where Paige and Mark lived in Crisp Canyon south of Ventura. A small, rustic, weekend cabin for Hollywood types says Rex Ramsey, friend of Mark and Paige.

Paige requests and is granted a temporary restraining order from the court.

Mark quickly countersues and denies all of Paige’s claims of abuse. He claims that she is the one who caused him mental anguish and suffering.

Marvin Mitchelson, on behalf of client Paige, asks for alimony, lawyer’s fees and court costs: “Plaintiff is not employed and presently embarking on a career as a painter, therefore needs the money from Defendant who is able bodied and employed.”

 Marks balks at this request and states he can’t afford it.

(divorce documents in collection of author)

The divorce filing is a bit out-of-the-ordinary and was picked up by a wire service and appears in a handful of newspapers across the country.

Some examples below:

August 28, 1964 The Desert Sun-Palm Springs
South Bend Tribune Aug. 28, 1964
Los Angeles Evening-Citizen News Aug. 28, 1964 Only article I have found that mentions lawyer Marvin M. Mitchelson and the couple’s home address.
Dayton Daily News Aug. 28, 1964
Dayton Daily News. Here Paige is an “Artist’s Model” This may have added interest for local newspapers, when reading their wire service stories.
Cincinnati Post and Times. Aug. 28, 1964

There is a high probability that Marvin Mitchelson was behind the above stories.

We might call these headlines “click-bait” today.

Apparently, early in his career, Marvin looked for ways to garner publicity for himself:

“..In the early days, when his client list was still thin, he could gin up publicity by filing an oddball lawsuit himself…this was 1964 and he had to work with what material was sent him.” From the book “Ladies Man, The Life and Trials of Marvin Mitchelson” by John A. Jenkins.

 This is likely the reason Mitchelson took Paige’s case despite her lack of ability to pay him any money upfront.  The case was unusual or “oddball” enough for it to be of use to him.

 Hollywood History/Celebrity Connections: Only a few days after the articles about Paige’s divorce filing is published in a few newspapers, news breaks that Beverly Hills society matron and LA talk show host, Pamela Mason, has won the unprecedented amount of 1 million dollars, for her divorce settlement from husband of 20 years: actor James Mason.

  

Her lawyer is Marvin Mitchelson.

Sept.1, 1964 Pasadena Independent, Pasadena, California.

Jenkins details the Mason case:

“Afterward in the courthouse corridor, “James (Mason) called the settlement ‘a flea bite.’ After all, he was getting off the hook without giving her any alimony at all. But Pamela was ecstatic. Her settlement was one of the first to break the magic million-dollar mark, and Mitchelson had gotten her, and himself, a ton of publicity about it.” “Pamela was so grateful she did everything she could to make Marvin Mitchelson a household name. Pamela introduced Mitchelson to her divorcing friends…she became his entrée to those rarefied upper brackets of Beverly Hills and Hollywood.”

The Mason case was a first as far as Hollywood divorces go, and a breakthrough for Marvin Mitchelson’s career.

Later this same year, Michelson represents legendary lyricist Alan Lerner’s estranged wife, Micheline.

LAT Dec. 22, 1964

Mark F. Segal came from a fairly well off Sherman Oaks family. Father Harold Segal owned a thriving car business according to friend and possible car thief Rex Ramsey. Still he wasn’t in a league with rich and famous genius of My Fair Lady composer Alan Lerner.

However, both did have a couple things in common: estranged wives represented by rising lawyer Marvin M. Michelson. The other is being found in contempt of court by failing to pay alimony to these estranged wives.

 Mark’s attorney is Bernard Echt from Sherman Oaks. Echt, a few years down the road, would represent the milkman who was being sued by Vincent Bugliosi for suspected impregnation of his wife. Strange yet true.

Mark’s attorney is Bernard Echt. Mark files a cross complaint about Paige and states that she is the one is abusive to him.

 An initial agreement is reached pretty quickly: Sept. 18,1964 . Mark is required to pay Paige alimony, but only for six months.

This would be about $1000 in 2017, so the equivalent of $6000 total in today’s money.

1964 November 24:  Paige and her grandmother Virginia LaRocca are sworn-in for testimony in a Los Angeles courthouse, probably 111 Hill Street, for the divorce trial; Mark is a no-show. Virginia LaRocca testifies for the plaintiff, her granddaughter Paige. An interlocutory decree of divorce is granted to Paige on grounds of extreme cruelty.

 Paige waives her right to any further alimony payments beyond the six months.  Mark is also ordered to pay Marvin Mitchelson $300 (about $2072 in 2017 dollars) and $15.00 in court costs around $100 today.   Paige is awarded a 1953 MG Roadster; Mark is ordered to sign the title over to her.  Paige gets to keep certain antiques and wedding gifts.  Mark gets to keep his home at 4133 Crisp Canyon in Sherman Oaks.

Both parties are ordered to not annoy, molest or harass the other.

1965

This year shows Mark has not been making his required alimony and lawyer’s fees since 1964.

Defendant Mark F. Segal is delinquent in alimony payments 64-65

Order to show cause that Mark is in contempt; alimony unpaid up to middle of 1965

1965-Marvin Michelson goes hard on Mark Segal this year. For every month Mark fails to make his monthly alimony payment to Paige and the lawyer’s fees, Michelson files a contempt suit in court.

And it turned out to be all 12 months.

More on this in the next chapter.