PART 2: Richard Sample Interview

Close up of a small copy: Richard Sample as painted by Paige Young.

Richard shows me this photo of him painting with Paige’s portrait of him hanging prominently. It hangs along with some kind of a Paige Playboy plaque. Mid to late 1960s Malibu or Venice.

To open our interview, I promised Richard on our 2nd day we would end after one hour. It end up being two.

I asked Richard if Paige ever used LSD, the drug that inspired the label “the Psychedelic Era.” Richard said no, not that he ever witnessed or heard.

(Melanie Myers, neighbor who found Paige dead, said on the documentary Secrets of Playboy, that she never witnessed Paige using drugs; she was more into “clean living.”)

I brought up the sex tape mentioned in the Daily Mail article, and I brought up David Shane, who was not mentioned in the article.

Richard said, “I think that that is something Dennis (from a Los Alamos, California art gallery) told me about Jonathan Winters. And that tape. I think Dennis knows something about that tape.”

Richard said this is all he can remember.

He has not heard of David Shane.

Richard again mentioned how he and Paige were regulars at Barney’s Beanery and added that they sometime socialized there with the Smothers Brothers.

Malibu Friends:

“In Malibu we hung out a lot with Don Dwiggens. He wrote the book ‘The Life and Loves of Frank Sinatra’. Another one was ‘The Bachelor.’ “Dwiggins took a lot of pictures of Paige.”

Richard does not know if these photos were were ever published. “His wife still lives in Malibu.”

“He was killed in a car accident.” (1988)

I had never heard of Don Dwiggins and neither have most people It turns out he was a longtime LA reporter, prolific author, pilot, stunt pilot and aviation historian. And a man of numerous hobbies apparently.

Dwiggins lived in Malibu for decades where he was a legend. There is an in depth tribute for Don Dwiggins that appeared in the LAT, at the bottom of this page. It is written by Jack Smith, one of Don’s good friends. Smith is a legendary Los Angeles columnist and writer who spotted Huston and Hefner playing backgammon, probably at Pips and possibly Paige Young.

More Malibu friends:

“I had my paintings in Jack Bailey’s (Queen for a Day host) gallery and many of my paintings sold when his gallery was shown on a TV show.”

Jack Bailey resided in Malibu during the mid-60s where he ran the Jack Bailey Gallery for about 2 years. There are articles in the Malibu newspapers to support this.

“He owned about 65 of my paintings.”

Vincent Price was another patron of Richard’s. Price is well-known for his art collection.

About the ending of his relationship with Paige: “I had moved out of the studio in Venice and moved to Solvang, and Paige stayed there. (Venice) She was supposed to pay me rent, but she never did. I went and asked her to leave.”

Paige had moved out and and at some point moved onto a houseboat in Marina Del Rey. (See chapter: Paige’s Most Public Year 1969)

“I only talked to her on her houseboat for about 10 minutes. I don’t know who owned it.”

I got the feeling it was an uncomfortable and sad conversation.

We again discussed Rex Ramsey, who tried to steal Richard’s Corvette and Paige’s Mustang.

The Corvette that Rex Ramsey tried to steal: His wife got a flat tire in the Corvette and was on the side of the freeway, when a semi-truck flattened it.

I have spoken to Rex Ramsey briefly on the phone. He said he does not remember Paige, but does remember her husband of one year, Mark F. Segal, his long time friend.

A SFV newspaper 1968. The address is the home of Mark F. Segal and Paige Young when she and Mark were married.

He hasn’t answered or returned any of my phone calls since that first one.

Richard brought up Hugh Hefner.

“Paige told me she overheard a conversation, with Hefner, about selling women to business men from a foreign country. They were talking about the money.”

Richard Sample

I responded “For what, like, sex or types of sexual favors, or….?”

Yes, he nodded without elaborating.

I prompted with “When Paige told you this, did she seem shocked, upset or…?”

“She said ‘I hope that doesn’t happen to me.'”

He added, “If I could I would shoot Hugh Hefner and probably get away with it.”

I pressed but he didn’t answer.

Sample just said “Hefner ruined a lot of good women.”

Anything else you can recall that Paige said about Hugh Hefner or anyone connected to him? “Not that I can remember.”

Richard said he never met Hefner nor hung out with any of his crowd. Richard expressed to me and reporter Ryan Parry that he had a distaste for Hefner and “that crowd.” And he let that be known to Paige.

In my opinion, Paige took this into consideration when sharing things about Hefner and “that crowd.” She avoided telling Richard about it. I think she must have been very distressed to share these particular incidents.

Paige personality:

Did Paige have an opinion about the Vietnam war?

“She said ‘ They should just bomb it and get it over with.'”

Did she attend any anti-war demonstrations?

Richard shook his head no and kept shaking his head no as I asked, “So that wouldn’t have been something she would have ever done?

Because I have not found any voter registration records for Paige, but I have found many records for her family members, I asked if he ever knew Paige to have voted for President.

Several minutes long pause.

“Who is the president that had a brother who let that girl drown in Chappaquiddick?

“Teddy, brother of President John Kennedy.

“Well, we had a picture of Teddy Kennedy hanging up that we would throw darts at, Paige was there (visiting) and she said ‘I hope he gets what he deserves.'”

I looked around at Richard Sample’s art work. He showed me some of his paintings that are “copies” of famous artists like Picasso, Miro, Kandinsky. He said he paints these because it pays well.

I apologized to Richard if I told him any information about Paige that was upsetting. He said it didn’t.

For example, Richard did not know that Paige was born Diana Cotterell or anything at all about her childhood. (Everyone I have talked to was unaware that Paige was ever Diana Cotterell who grew up in the San Fernando Valley.)

Richard misses Idaho and wishes he were still living there.

He mentions John Chapman, President of the NEA.? “I worked for him. And he bought many of my paintings, He owned a mansion in Sun Valley.”

Info: Don Dwiggins. Paige and Richard’s Malibu friend. Richard says Paige modeled for him several times. It was hard to choose which article about Dwiggins to include, there were so many of them. Lots of reviews of his Hollywood aviation stunt pilot books.

Lower article by legendary LA writer Jack Smith.

Eagle Rock Sentinel OCT.31, 1968

Chilling the timing of his accident….

LAT March 29. 1989.

1966: July Paige Transfers From Marvin M. Mitchelson To New Law Firm. Donna and Virginia New SFV Location.

July 1966

Paige gets transferred from the Marvin Mitchelson law firm of Beverly Hills, to the law firm of Silverton, Ruderman and Graf of Studio City. Her new law firm is located at 12345 Ventura Blvd.; a 5 minute drive from her childhood home at 13055 Moorpark St.

This may have happened because Marvin Michelson was busy climbing the ladder of success in 1966.

He continued to represent Hollywood and Beverly Hills “soon-to-be-divorced-wives.”

LA Herald-Examiner gossip columnist Harrison Carroll 1966.

(66 also brought Marvin international work in London from a rock band.)

Aldo Ray spoke bitterly about his ex-wives. I have several more articles about him not included here.

Oakland Paper 1964

Marvin Michelson may have grown tired of Paige’s divorce case by 1966 and the non-payment. Her “interlocutory” ex-husband, Mark F. Segal hadn’t paid more than the one payment in 64, despite his legally being in contempt of court.

Any publicity for “weird headlines” (see chapter on Segal-Young Divorce Makes Headlines) had long since ceased to be of any benefit to MMM.

There are divorce documents dated all the way into 1969 showing Paige and her lawyers still trying to collect the unpaid, court ordered alimony and lawyer’s fees.

1966 Paige’s Mother, Donna Holroyd, and her grandmother, Virginia Young LaRocca, are listed in the phone directory at 5760 Hazeltine. It’s an apartment building on the corner of Hazeltine and Hatteras in Van Nuys. Jack Holroyd is not listed at this location.

UPDATE 7/18/2022: Donna and Jack Holroyd had a baby boy in August of 1960. Diana would have been 16 years old.

A relative told me he did not see Diana or Paige in this family unit when he visited Donna, Jack and the baby in the early 1960s. “They had an apartment with a swimming pool that had no heat.”

1940s Los Angeles. PARENTS’ Marriage. Hollywood Wedding Chapel. Los Feliz. Family. WW2. P.O.W. Divorce. Updated 11/30/2022

Diana/Paige’s parents: Robert M. Cotterell was 23 and Donna LaRocca 19 when they were married in 1940.

Certificate of marriage for Robert M. Cotterell and Donna Virginia LaRocca. Mildred K. Marinell signature listed on next to last line. Mildred is the daughter of Joseph LaRocca’s only sister Kathryn LaRocca Marinelli. Yes Mildred dropped the i from her birth name. Mildred and Donna are first cousins.

Below is the Hollywood Wedding Chapel where Robert and Donna were married as stated on the marriage certificate.

The location is on the Sunset Strip, about one block from the infamous and historic Chateau Marmont hotel. 

The famed Garden of Allah apartment building was across the street.

Located a stone’s throw to Chateau Marmont. Found on the internet.
Hollywood Citizen Nov. 15, 1940 Miss Penny Pepper?

This Hollywood Wedding Chapel building was purchased by famous director/writer Preston Sturges in 1940; he transformed it into “Players” restaurant, a movie business watering hole.

Players has its’ own interesting Hollywood and LA history.

Donna and Robert must have been one of the last couples to marry at the chapel before Sturges took over.

Currently this location is a Pink Taco restaurant. 

Diana’s father Robert Morgan Cotterell was born around 1917 in Algon, Iowa. He moved to Los Angeles around 1938 to follow his interest in aviation.

Donna’s parents Ned and Virginia LaRocca, were musical vaudevillians who travelled the Pantages, Orpheum and other vaudeville circuits for about the first 10 years of her life. (For more see Family History Chapters)

LA Voter’s Registration 1934. Joseph the only Republican amongst his wife, his neighbor and brother Frank and Frank’s wife Rose. Daughter Donna would have been 13 years old. Virginia would always be listed as a Republican beginning in the 1940s.

Diana’s mother Donna Virginia LaRocca was born in 1921, in Peoria, Illinois, hometown of her father. 

She moved with her parents to Los Angeles around 1934.

 1944 Second Lieutenant Army Air Diana and her sister’s father was Corps Heavy Bomber Robert M. Cotterell, he was captured on May 27th and imprisoned in a German POW camp.

Recently found article: Robert Cotterell goes from MIA to POW.

LAT Aug. 19, 1944 listed at Arbolada here.

 (Robert Cotterell is listed with the Evans address on his daughter Diana Lee’s birth certificate.)

City Document dated 1943. Owner of 3834 Evans St., J.N. LaRocca, is having an outside closet built, “in which a hot air heat will be installed.”

Robert Cotterell’s daughter Constance is 2 years old, and Diana only 5 months, on the date the POW announcement was published.  

1945 Robert Cotterell is liberated from the German Camp.

Public military record found online.

1947

Donna LaRocca Cotterell files for divorce against Robert Morgan Cotterell.

Los Angeles Times September 16, 1947

1947 The Cotterell’s divorce is finalized.

Los Angeles Times Novemeber 6, 1947

Historic Context: Robert and Donna Cotterell were one couple out of thousands who made up a nation-wide spike in divorce rates after WW2.

Statistics show that in 1946 one in four US marriages ended in divorce.

A 1946 article written on the subject in the New York Times:

“More than half of America’s 1,500,000 war-wed G.I.s have returned. Already one out of every four of these 800,000 men is entangled in divorce proceedings. Experts are predicting that by 1950, 1,000,000 of these wartime marriages-or two out of three-will end in divorce.”

 Robert Cotterell remarried in approximately 1949 to Patricia Frick and the couple had two children in 1950 and 51.

 He had a job after the war working for Douglas Aircraft. The job took his family all over the San Fernando Valley and Laguna Beach.

I would imagine Robert paid alimony to Donna, common at the time, as well as child support for Constance and Diana.

 Virginia LaRocca is named owner of a “double” house at 3710/12 Arbolada Rd. on an LA building permit. This house is only one mile from the home on Evans St.

Donna has a voter registration record with this address in 1944 below.

Joseph LaRocca is listed in the LA telephone directory with this address in 1948.

Arbolada Rd. is a dead end street. It’s high on a hill with an incredible panoramic view of the area. It’s close to their Evans St. home and near Griffith Park.

Antonio LaBianca, father of Leno LaBianca, bought the Waverly house in 1940.  So the 2 Italian families (Joseph’s wife Virginia was not Italian but Mormon with English ancestry) were neighbors at one point, even if they never met.

Below shows the 1944 voter’s registration including the parents of Leno LaBianca: Antonio and Corina La Bianca on Waverly Dr. And right after them we see Joseph and Virgina La Rocca listed at the Arbolada address. Virginia’s listing leaves off “Christian Science” and just says her employment is “practitioner.”

 

The Marinellos and LaRoccas will live almost next door to each other in Sherman Oaks for several years in the 1950s.

Here we see the LaRocca’s in the same voter’s registration log in 1936. D and R seems to be reversed. Virginia became a Republican sometime the 1940s.
LAT May 25, 1938 Mildred “Marinell,” Kathryn’s daughter, did not marry Lewis E. Filman. We can see she is living with the LaRoccas at the Evans address
LAT May 25, 1938 Mildred “Marinell,” Kathryn’s daughter, did not marry Lewis E. Filman. We can see she is living with the LaRoccas at the Evans address

Virginia LaRocca had been a full time Christian Science Practitioner by the 1940s and a Christian Science Reader at some point.  Her income from this is unknown. She had her own phone per listing in LA phone books for many years for this purpose.

The city of Los Angeles experienced a housing shortage during the post-war years. More so than the usual housing shortage that seems to have always existed in LA.

This fact caused me to wonder as to how the LaRoccas could afford the 2 houses, or one right after the other, in the 1940s. 

I didn’t find an exact answer but the next several chapters may shed some light on the upwardly mobile direction of the LaRocca/Cotterell family.

Virginia LaRocca had been a full time Christian Science Practitioner by the 1940s and a Christian Science Reader at some point.  Her income from this is unknown. She had her own phone per listing in LA phone books for many years for this purpose.

The city of Los Angeles experienced a housing shortage during the post-war years. More so than the usual housing shortage that seems to have always existed in LA.

This fact caused me to wonder as to how the LaRoccas could afford the 2 houses, or one right after the other, in the 1940s. 

I didn’t find an exact answer but the next several chapters may shed some light on the upwardly mobile direction of the LaRocca/Cotterell family.

Van Nuys News and Valley Green Sheet Dec. 4, 1942 Mildred would name her daughter Donna Lee, Lee was Diana/Paige’s middle name, Bartlett, born in the early 1950s.

Virginia’s sister Josephine Harker, her sometimes singing/dancing partner back in the days of vaudeville, was listed in a directory at the Evans house around 1940.

And of course their daughter Donna, their son-in-law Robert, and granddaughters Constance and Diana Cotterell.

All these names (except for the young Cotterell girls)  were linked to the Evans address from 1938 through around 1944, per records I have shown or seen.

It’s easy to imagine that Evans house was too small to fit all those family members comfortably. I have seen city documents of the original house plan.

Donna and Robert’s divorce was final in 1947.

3710/12 Arbolada

View from Arbolada Drive is spectacular as is the original building itself.