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.
“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
Below is the account neighbor Melanie gave to reporter Ryan Parry of 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.”
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? Why the mural dedicated to Hugh Hefner exclusively?
Evidence points to at least one factor being the sex tape she appeared 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 (or Sweethearts) who have appeared in the magazine since the first issue in 1953, up to the date of publication.
An update on the lives of the women accompanies each 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 have not yet 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 sexual acts being filmed by Hugh Hefner at his mansion in Holmby Hills. (See interviews with Sondra Theodore, Butler Stefan Tetenbaum and many 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 of the Secrets of Playboy show, features a 1970s Hugh Hefner talking to reporters about all the “electronic equipment in the mansion,” including cameras and “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.” END.
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,” or even possibly “revenge porn,” 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 the team had learned the existence of 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 scene, mural and notes left behind naming Hefner and his friends and others, and a chance it could go public, 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 long-time, 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 feeling increasingly 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 as 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 trafficking crime she did not commit; it was a set-up, even though 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 of this would have made it to the Mansion in short order. Probably to the “female fixer,” even before Hefner himself.
Math figures show Paige’s age on mortuary paperwork. 1974-1944
At the end of the year 1974 Hugh Hefner appeared with girlfriend of several years Barbi Benton, on the cover of People Magazine. His Chicago secretary Bobbie Arnstein would commit suicide in about 6 weeks from the publication date.
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 May 12, 2020
San Fernando Valley abbreviated SFV.
more information about the LaRocca/Cotterell family unit: they are listed at a residence in Gardena at 1830 W. 147th.
Joseph’s occupation, Radio Orchestra Manager, Virginia, Christian Science Practitioner, Donna has an empty box for occupation, granddaughters Constance S. is listed as 7 years and Diana L. as 5 years.
The above is an online phone directory from Gardena 1951. It has a listing for Virginia LaRocca, CSP, at this same address but no Joseph is listed. Why no Joseph and Virginia listed together, as every other year for decades in directories and voter registrations.?
When did Diana and family leave Los Feliz? late 1940s?
How long did they live in Gardena?
About two years.
When did Diana and her family move to 13055 Moorpark St. in Studio City/Sherman Oaks?
I first connected the family to 13055 Moorpark St. address by an online city building permit dated in Dec. of 1952.
This house on Moorpark Street was located on the west side of Studio City close to the eastern border with Sherman Oaks. Specifically, off of the intersection of Coldwater Canyon and Ventura Blvd.
The Los Angeles River is nearby the house as is Sportsman’s Lodge; a classic Hollywood and SFV landmark.
The family knew about the area in the SFV for some time because Joseph’s only sister Kathryn Marinello, and her husband Anthony opened a food store at 13251 Moorpark in 1947.
There is a 1947 City document I have been unable to download; indicating a “food store” at 13251 Moorpark St. The building was not owned by the Marinellos.
Meanwhile……Diana’s father Robert Morgan Cotterell also moved to the SFV around this time, but further west of his daughters and ex-wife. His new wife Patricia/Pat and their two children, born in 1950 and 1951, (while his first 2 daughters were in Gardena according to the 1950 census) start out in the Canoga Park/Winnetka area on Lurline Ave.
It’s the first of many moves for them around Los Angeles due to Bob Cotterell Sr.’s career at Douglas Aircraft.
It is unknown exactly why the The LaRocca/Cotterell family moved to the SFV, but we do know that they were part of a massive migration to the area after World War 2, from both inside and outside of Los Angeles.
“The end of WW2 transformed the Valley and vastly accelerated its growth
with: vast tracts of suburban housing, shopping centers and industrial parks where chicken ranches, orchards and cattle ranches and wheat fields once existed. The 1940s and 50s, when I was growing up, the Valley was full of movie cowboys, beautiful ranches and fine horses.”Jerry England at cowboyup.com
“In the five years after the war, the population (of SFV) more than doubled to 402,538 residents-the pastoral San Fernando Valley was suddenly the ninth-busiest urban area in the nation. Valley society was a mix of young suburbanites, older families who had come west to try their luck as engineers, animators, or pioneers in the new field of television, and ranchers trying to hang on in the face of the new hordes.”The San Fernando Valley: America’s Suburb by Kevin Roderick
I discovered that Ned LaRocca spent most of the 1950s working as an orchestra manager for composer/conductor Leith Stevens, through Ned’s death certificate.
I can confirm two Leith Stevens projects that have a credit as “contractor” for Ned LaRocca: A Doris Day album recorded in 1951 at 1032 Sycamore Street; a studio known at that time as “The Annex.” Found on youtube.
The website careerexplorer.com defines an orchestra contractor is: “He or she has the job of finding the appropriate musicians for Broadway shows, television episodes and commercials.”
Ned already had experience adapting to a new mass medium when his first industry Vaudeville, died in the early 1930s during the Great Depression.
One significant factor that changed the popularity of radio programming was the rise of TV in the 1950s. Drama and comedy and musical variety shows moved to TV.
In 1950, just under 20 percent of American homes contained a TV set. Ten years later, nearly 90 percent of homes contained a TV—and some even had color TVs. The number of TV stations, channels, and programs all grew to meet this surging demand.encyclopedia.com
Ned LaRocca also has a credit on Leith Steven’s 1953 score to the Marlon Brando movie “The Wild One.” The Los Angeles recording industry was growing by leaps and bounds in the 1950s.
This record was a hit, released by Decca records, it remains Leith Stevens most well-known and well-regarded creation. J. Ned LaRocca is credited as “Contractor” on the project. Per Discogs.com. As I understand, it was the first soundtrack entirely made up of Jazz music.
Besides composing and conducting “The Wild One” soundtrack, Leith Stevens composed numerous scores for radio shows, movies and T.V. from the 1930s until his death in 1970.
IMDB indicates that many of Stevens’ compositions go uncredited as “stock music.”
Diana’s grandmother. She started out life as a Mormon in Utah, but somewhere along the way became a Christian Scientist. She is listed as “Chr. Sci.pr.” (Christian Science Practitioner) in Los Angeles telephone directories in the 40 and 50s, and listed with her own telephone line. Read more about her early years as a vaudeville performer in the family history chapters.
A Christian Science practitioner is an individual who prays for others according to the teachings of Christian Science. Treatment is non-medical, rather it is based on the Bible and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (1875) by Mary Baker Eddy (1821–1910), who said she discovered Christian Science in 1866 and founded the Christian Science church in 1879. According to the church, Christian Science practitioners address physical conditions, as well as relationship or financial difficulties and any other problem or crisis.wikipedia
In 1955, an LA telephone directory lists a Ned J. LaRocca at 4414 N. Ethel and a Virginia Young LaRocca with the same address.
Donna Cotterell is listed with the 13055 Moorpark address. 13055 Moorpark is on a corner with Ethel St.
4114 Ethel St. doesn’t seem to be an “real” address; I don’t find a record of it anywhere besides the phone directory. This could be a result of the house modification for Donna, Diana and Constance.
1957 Virginia Young LaRocca is listed in the phone directory at 4414 N. Ethel State 4-7052 North Hollywood. Cr. Sci. Pr.
At some point, the Christian Science Church won the right to accept insurance for their practitioners, but I have been unable to find exactly what year.
So, I can’t tell how much income Virginia might have earned from her vocation as a CSP.
I’m sure Donna received child support and likely alimony as this would have been normal for the times.
However, it is probable that grandfather Ned LaRocca was the primary breadwinner of his household.
Category: 1950s, LA Locations, Popular Culture, Radio City, CBS, NBC, Robert Morgan Cotterell Tagged: #Gardena, 1032 Sycamore St., 1950 Census, 1950s LA, 1950s San Fernando Valley, 1950sLA, Christian Science Practitioner, Defense Industry, Doris Day, Douglas Aircraft, Gardena, LA Recording Industry, Leith Stevens, Los Angeles History, Marlon Brando, Ned LaRocca, Ned LaRocca Grandfather, Paige Young, Rise of TV, Robert Morgan Cotterell, SFV, Sherman Oaks, Stevens, Studio City, The Annex recording studio, The Wild One, Virginia LaRocca