Posted on June 15, 2021
Close up of a small copy: Richard Sample as painted by Paige Young.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
Category: 1960s, 1970s, LA Locations, Playboy, PMOM, Popular Culture Tagged: Art Gallery, Aviation history, Barney's Beanery, David Shane, Don Dwiggens, Hollywood connection, Hollywood History, Hugh Hefner, Jack Bailey, Jack Bailey Gallery, Jack Kennedy, Jonathan Winters, LA History, Los Angeles History, Malibu, Malibu History, Paige Young, Queen for a Day, Rex A. Ramsey, Rex Ramsey, Richard Sample, Secrets of Playboy, Smothers Brothers, Teddy Kennedy, Vietnam War
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 December 10, 2020
Also See chapter LAPD Report Paige Young Suicide. I eventually obtained a copy of the report.
The first request I made was done through the mail in 2016.
This is the letter I received.
Below are two responses to the one online request I made in March of 2020, to LAPD Public Records Request Dept:
Your request was for “Paige Young 1960-1974.” Absent any further information, we assumed you were interested in the Paige Young, former Playmate of the Year, that reportedly died in 1974 in her home in West Hollywood. The Department has no records as that incident occurred outside the City of Los Angeles and you were referred to the local law enforcement agency for the City of West Hollywood, which is the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
If you are interested in another Paige Young, please clarify and we can conduct another search.
LAPD Discovery, CPRA Unit
Request Closed HidePublic
It wasn’t West Hollywood!
We reviewed your request, which we understand to be for reports concerning the 1974 death of former Playmate of the Month, Paige Young.
The location of that incident is not under the jurisdiction of the Los Angeles Police Department. Therefore, we are unable to respond to your request. Please contact the appropriate jurisdiction for further information, which we understand is the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department on 780 N. San Vicente, 90069 or at (310) 855-8850.
If you have any questions, simply respond to this email.
LAPD Discovery Section, CPRA Unit March 17, 2020, 12:27pm
Paige did not die in West Hollywood, she died in Westwood. The UCLA area.
I knew this but I went ahead and called the number they gave me.
They answered and the person had never heard of Eastborne Ave.
Melanie discusses the police aspect briefly in the documentary Secrets of Playboy.
Many people mix-up or confuse West Hollywood and Westwood, I have learned. And this includes people who live in Los Angeles.
In the documentary Secrets of Playboy, Melanie Myers refers to where she and Paige lived at “West Hollywood.”
I still maintain the area is Westwood if you see the proximity from Eastborne Ave. to UCLA.
It’s a 10 minute by car drive to the Playboy Mansion, top marker, in Holmby Hills.
Paige and Melanie’s home close on the other side of Santa Monica blvd. from Century City.
In Secrets of Playboy Melanie says she was invited/recruited at her place of employment in nearby Beverly Hills for a Playboy party.
UCLA was also a destination for to recruit pretty and young women and girls for Mansion parties. And that makes sense sense because UCLA just right there. UCLA is called Westwood.
Posted on August 21, 2020
Nick Lees, a writer for the Edmonton Journal, wrote the following article in 1981.
Nick Lees returned to his job at the Edmonton Journal 7 years after he was fired for leaving on his unscheduled vacation with Paige.
Is Nick the reason Paige missed her contracted appearance at the winter sports show? Did she make up this“sudden illness” excuse?
The part in Lees’ article about Paige Young being from Sacramento and a dental assistant, I don’t buy it. There is too much proof that she was born and lived in Los Angeles her entire life. Plus, I don’t see her going through the rigors of dental school and the “9-5 doldrums.” Paige may have told this fib to Lees or he remembers incorrectly.
Lees had a long career at the newspaper as a popular columnist.
The text at right is from an article about Lees, written by journalist Michael Hingston. The article appeared in Canadian Avenue magazine sometime in the early 2000s.
I thank Edmonton writer Michael Hingston for sending me this portion of his notes that were not included in his published story.
Lees’ opinion of Paige seems to have softened over the years. He sounds more resentful in 1981.
Lees specifies the Colorado Rockies as the mountains he and Paige escaped to (Vale above actually spelled Vail) rather than the Canadian Rockies as he says in 1981.
Nick doesn’t indicate any knowledge of Paige’s suicide in 1974, either in his 1981 column or his more recent interview with Michael Hingston.
I have been unable to get in touch with Nick Lees.
He was in the hospital a few years ago per a facebook post.
Below is an entry from a website of the late Bob Sanders who blogged about his lengthy and diverse career.
He has some fascinating stories about Hugh Hefner and working for Playboy as well as TV Guide. He was hired to help promote Hefner’s new TV Show “Playboy After Dark” which led him to meet Paige Young in the late 1960s. Sanders was a regular American working man with a family.
I never learned her real name, but Paige Young, Playboy magazine’s “Miss November” of 1968, was absolutely perfect for a rather challenging assignment: Creating interest in a mediocre TV series.
“Playboy After Dark,” was a follow-up to “Playboy’s Penthouse” which also starred Hugh Hefner, pipe in hand. In both the original and the reincarnation, an elevator whisked viewers to a penthouse where host Hefner, his free arm wrapped around his then current squeeze as we called them, feigned surprise at another drop-in, finally announcing who was in the house to perform. It was pretty awkward stuff.
I met Paige late in January, 1969. That was three months after her appearance in the magazine; an illness had prevented what would have been a timely trip to Chicago. Page was in town to collect $10,000 then awarded Playmates who now receive $25,000 with $100,000 going to the Playmate of the Year. They got to stay a week or so at the Playboy Mansion, attend parties, make personal appearances and meet Hefner, a cultural summit for most. One of my contributions to the process was to interview each of them to determine if they could be of promotional help. Among a year’s monthly winners, you could count on two being particularly good or outstanding. Paige was one of the latter and who could forget either her center-fold or the woman in person? Peter Gowland did the photography in Los Angeles posing a prone Paige, back scratcher in hand. The flashing brown eyes did no harm to the overall effect.
It was a few months before I met Paige that Hefner’s reclusive lifestyle began undergoing a change. The not-so-poor-man’s Howard Hughes had come out of his shell swearing off the uppers and downers that enabled him to stay awake editing his magazine three days at a time. Not only had Hefner hit the streets to observe police outrage during the 1968 Democratic National Convention but he would soon return to the TV trough with “Playboy After Dark” scheduled for Screen Gems release.
Owned by Columbia Pictures, the first major studio to learn to live with the new medium through the creation of a subsidiary, Screen Gems not surprisingly realized the series was a tough sell. They backed off midway through production refusing to promote the show for an additional good reason. Screen Gems had a huge backlog of product including a boatload of Perry Masons–271 to be exact. Up to that point, my involvement was little more than choosing pictures from contact sheets provided by a Hollywood photographer. I soon learned Hefner had little use for black and white photography, perhaps because Playmates’ skin tones looked much more ravishing in color. It was as though black and white was O.K. for Citizen Kane and little more in Hefner’s opinion. I began to bootleg photography; pictures I used to promote the firm’s Lake Geneva resort via newspapers were actually shot by a Chicago Tribune snapper assigned to a narrowly focused feature about the hotel. I paid him $100 after his gig to shoot what I needed: pictures that went beyond architectural renderings ordered by my predecessor. I was never questioned by my management about the photos I used because it was assumed the pics were transferred from color to black and white. Had I gone that route, the shots would have lost about 20% of their sharpness.
Corporate expenses will always be a subject of much conjecture. During what turned out to be 40 years spending other people’s money, I was questioned but once. That was while working for TV Guide in St. Louis, my first gig for the magazine. The year was 1955, eight months after we opened; the office manager, a hopeful sort, had determined we should send parents of newborn children copies of the magazine. Names and addresses of the parents were gleaned from pages of local newspapers and the copy, set in five point agate type, required a magnifying glass to determine accuracy. It was regional manager Arthur Shulman who asked me what the hell was I doing spending $1.99 of TV Guide’s money in such strange fashion?
Playboy was far and away the least concerned of my employers about spending money. Hefner made it clear that he wanted things done in the best possible manner. It was terrific working for a firm striving for promotion efforts done, as Hefner suggested,” first class.” I never took advantage of the situation there or anywhere else.
That early contact sheet assignment for “Playboy After Dark” involved work by an independent photographer, a rather strange determination considering the number of excellent snappers on the payroll. Admittedly, they were rather specialized.
It was while looking at pictures of the fifth show that I found the best shots–maybe ever–of Hefner. All of them found him next to one of the show’s chickie poos. Soon my hunch was verified. Barbie Benton, then a theater major at UCLA–had become a regular on the show eventually attaining status as Hef’s significant love of eight years. I ordered a dozen of one picture of the adoring couple I had cropped from a group shot.
On a trip to Los Angeles, promotion director Nelson Futch and I learned at a meeting called by Screen Gems that its management had determined a preference for releasing “Perry Mason” starring Raymond Burr, then successful in keeping quiet his homosexuality, over the ultimately virile Hefner. It was regarded as a savage blow and Futch, unperturbed, turned the project over to me immediately following the meeting. That was when I thought of Paige Young.
A couple of months passed during which I worked my ass off concentrating on the show. One day Futch and I got a hurry up call to meet with Hefner at The Mansion. Oh, yes. Bring the promotion work. After waiting four hours during which Futch put the Benton/Hefner photo on top the pile of my creativity, we finally entered his office. Our meeting followed one between Hef and his editor-in-chief A.C. Spectorsky–the man who, among many things, coined the word “exurbanites.” Moments later, Hefner spotted the photo, held it up to the light and did a series of gyrations reminiscent of Charlie Chaplin’s examination of the world in The Great Dictator.
“Where did you get this?” he asked–a pretty dumb question under the circumstances unless a UCLA photo-journalist had grabbed a shot of the Bunny King attired in a silly Edwardian suit while visiting one of Barbie’s acting classes.
“The fifth show,” I replied.
“Can I have one?” he asked in very boyish fashion as if I were the editor of the high school yearbook and he, infatuated by a photo of his best girl.
“Would you like six? I can get you at least five more.” That was it. He never looked at any of the rest of my promotional efforts. Apparently, he had decided the Hef/Barbie choice was sufficient. The picture became paramount in the print promotion of the show.
The series played in something like 21 markets with the stations located north and south from Minneapolis to Miami and east to west from New York to Los Angeles. Among them were two Lafayettes–Indiana and Louisiana–plus other locations across the fruited plain and Canada where the program was seen in Montreal. The series had but one show worth viewing; it starred Sammy Davis, Jr., Anthony Newley, Jerry Lewis and Peter Lawford, the latter of unique adroitness: dressing up a set.
Hefner’s published comments on the series and his host role give pause: “It’s better than the ‘Johnny Carson Show’ or the ‘Joey Bishop Show’ and I do a better job hosting than Ed Sullivan does.”
KTLA, the then Gene Autry-owned independent channel , bought the series and we scheduled a party for what was then called the Playboy Building at 8560 Sunset Boulevard. Built in the early 1960s, it had a parking lot to the west set beneath 10 stories of reinforced concrete. It is now part of the Sunset Millennium Project–three buildings totaling approximately 300,000 square feet of office space.
Back then, my attention was captivated by a huge windowless area of the building’s west façade. Recalling all the “Playboy After Dark” color photos taken on the set, I wondered if we could project pictures on the wall in a rotating series of six or so with enticing copy to promote the show. I found a Swedish company with equipment about the size of a small TV set which we secured at the entrance to the parking lot.
My idea had unusual origins. Years before, comedian Red Skelton had a neighbor in Palm Springs he didn’t like or so the story went. The guy, a moralistic type, had a white stucco home with a large wall visible to the street. In reaction to the neighbor’s latest outrage, Skelton began showing adult movies on the fellow’s home.
In the fall of 1969, eastbound Sunset Blvd. motorists were confronted by color photos of scantily clad young ladies in addition to 30-ft pipe-clutching Hefs and bug cute Barbies.
We had a minor “Playboy After Dark” promotion problem which never surfaced. Paige Young had not appeared in the series having turned down a request. Thoughtful and intelligent, she had other things to do, notably painting. Horses were a subject dear to her as I learned during time out on the north side of Phoenix where many Arabian thoroughbred farms used to exist.
Paige was a total delight. One time she flew to Minneapolis where I met her at the airport before we moved on to newspaper, magazine and broadcast interviews. After a couple of days, we flew to Miami for more of the same. Phoenix was particularly productive offering a good example of the Playboy mystique. Shortly after our arrival, I learned a local PR representative hired by us had not set up any interviews. I made five phone calls to the TV stations then located in the area and placed Paige on each channel for interviews–mostly on news programs. It may have been a very slow news day, but getting that kind of attention on such short notice with little going for us except the Playboy mystique was absolutely amazing; the series was about to be carried on one of those five stations. The trick was to set up the interviews along different lines emphasizing such things as the magazine and Paige’s appearance in it, her life and travels, and what Hugh Hefner was really like.
During my Playboy Enterprises days there was a story, probably apocryphal, told about Hefner by Victor Lownes who was, in my opinion, a promotional genius responsible for a lot of the magazine’s (and later the clubs’) success. Lownes had introduced a young woman to Hefner, referring to him as “a living legend.” The couple wandered off to a nearby bedroom where, scant minutes later, the woman emerged commenting to Lownes: “And you call that a living legend?” Hey, nobody bats 1.000.
It was no secret Lownes had been run out of Chicago after dallying with a teenage TV star. Adding to the speed of his departure was her being the daughter of a high profile newspaper columnist. Lownes settled in London where he established the London Playboy Club, then gained a gambling permit. It wasn’t long before he had created a lifestyle many thought at least the equivalent of Hefner’s; included was Stocks, an impressive manor house. While Benny Dunn was dressing up Hefner’ Chicago Gold Coast home with people from the entertainment world, Lownes was attracting a much broader spectrum of notables.
Things went nicely for Lownes. Treated as a company hero as Playboy Enterprises peaked during my years there, his short returns to Chicago were largely joyous occasions although Lownes could be a jerk. Circulation of the magazine hit 6,000,000, the hotels were showing promise, and the clubs were doing well thanks to Victor’s London gambling license. Suddenly, in 1981, England’s gaming commission yanked the permit. Some Arabs, among the club’s highest rollers, had been given markers by Lownes and the license was pulled. To this day, Lownes denies the charges. No question the timing was dreadful. Hefner was in the midst of what turned out to be an unsuccessful attempt to get a gambling permit for Atlantic City and the London catastrophe played a major role. An earlier New York City liquor license obtained under questionable circumstances was another.
The relationship between old friends Hefner and Lownes cooled. The latter eventually left the organization and wrote a tough but largely accurate book about his former pal and a public company having difficulty adjusting to a world enormously changed since Hefner planned the magazine in his kitchen nearly 30 years before. The magazine business was undergoing upheavals of its own. Penthouse, inspired by Hefner but tawdry by comparison, offered full frontal nudity and Playboy met the challenge. Marilyn Cole, who later married Lownes, was the first Playmate to be so photographed.
While my association with Paige Young remained purely professional, I’m sure a lot of people in the home office and air travelers thought otherwise. The airport scenes were rather wondrous. Paige wore big floppy hats in a great variety of singular colors. We arranged our airport meets so that scheduled arrivals in those halcyon days of dependability were very close. I could spot her hat from impressive distances and she could do the same with me although I never wore a floppy hat. The last half of our promotion tour found us running toward each other in airports and embracing in corny displays suggesting to many that we were something we weren’t.
So many memories remain including a rainy night in New Orleans during which we ran barefoot through the French Quarter (she was a physical fitness nut) and were later entertained by the Playboy Club’s musical director, Al Belletto, one of the few non-Dixie musicians in town. A Stan Kenton discovery, Belletto introduced us to such people as Al Hirt, Pete Fountain and Eddie Miller, the Fred Astaire of tenor saxophonists. When I met Miller, I made the observation and he said: “I think that’s the nicest thing anyone has ever said about me.”
West Bank Guide May 1969.
Paige and I lost track of each other and I attempted to find her on the internet some five years ago. I wish I hadn’t. She had committed suicide at age 30, six years after we stopped promoting Hefner’s TV show.
I can’t recall a single clue that might have suggested such a splendid blithe spirit was capable of such a decision.
A woman contacted me by e-mail about 4 years ago and said she was the daughter of the late Bob Sanders.
She told me that when the Daily Mail article was published, she was relieved that her father was not alive to learn that Paige’s method of suicide was a gunshot to head, not an overdose of drugs. She said learning that would have greatly upset him.
Bob’s daughter also wrote that she thinks despite what her father wrote in his blog post, there many have been a fling of sorts between Bob and Paige.
Because of the Nick Lees story, I don’t think Bob Sanders travelled with Paige to Edmonton, she was likely travelling on her own at this point.
If you read the chapter on 1969–there are several articles that mention Bob Sanders, not by name but by profession, as Paige’s “handler,” “assistant,” even “flack.”
# # # #
Category: 1960s, 1970s, LA Locations, Playboy, PMOM Tagged: 1960sPlayboy, 1969, Avenue Magazine, Bob Sanders, Edmonton Canada, Edmonton Journal, Hugh Hefner, Michael Hingston, Nick Lees, Paige Young, Peter Gowland, Playboy Clubs, Playboy History, Playboy Playmate, TVGuide, Victor Lownes, Vintage Playboy Playmate
Posted on August 14, 2020
According to Melanie, Paige was afraid of a sex tape being seen by certain people or a certain person. Melanie also said the tape was made of Paige at the Playboy mansion.
I have to wonder if the person or persons in Paige’s mind was Desmond Guinness (and his crowd?)
It’s just a hunch but enough for a lead.
But it is interesting that Desmond was in Los Angeles again rather soon after October 1973 when he was photographed with Paige at a reception honoring him in Santa Barbara; he was back in Southern California March of 1974 .
The following Suzy column was published 9 days before Paige’s suicide. Desmond in bold.
The article below is 7 days before Paige’s suicide.
There is proof that Desmond and Marina were also in Raleigh, NC on or around March 28th, 1974, see article below.
This article is unusual in that it brings up the uncomfortable subject of his mother Diana Mitford and step-father Oswald Mosely.
Did John Huston and Desmond Guinness know each other?
Given how much Desmond traveled around Ireland meeting people, restoring castles and seeking funds for the Irish Georgian Society, almost certainly. Desmond’s obituary below says they did.
A renowned socialite, party animal and generous host, Guinness entertained the international jet set at his home, Leixlip Castle. Those who visited included British royalty Princess Margaret, her husband Lord Snowdon, and Lord Mountbatten, A-listers such as Jacqueline Kennedy, film director John Huston, Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithfull, and his stepfather the British fascist leader Oswald Mosley, his mother Diana Mitford’s husband.From a Guinesses obituary in The Irish Times August 29, 2020.
This also makes me think Desmond and Mariga knew Ricki Soma Huston, John Huston’s 4th wife and mother to Angelica and Tony.
Rikki lived in St. Clerans in the 50s and 60s and raised her children there until she moved to London sometime in the late 1960s.
Anjelica Huston wrote a memoir about growing up in the St. Clerans estate.
Did Paige meet Desmond Guinness when she stayed with John and Celeste Huston at St. Clerans in 72-73 ish?
Category: 1970s, LA Locations Tagged: 1970sLA, 1974, Angelica Huston, Desmond Guinness, Hugh Hefner, Ireland, Irish Georgian Society, John Huston, Leixlip Castle, Los Angeles History, Marina Guinness, Mitford Sisters, Oswald Mosley, Paige Young, Ricki Soma Huston, SFV, Sportsman's Lodge, St. Clarens, St. Clerans, Studio City, Tony Huston
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 Shane’s name 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 as she wrote that Paige and David were sex partners as were David 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 also 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 and 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.”
“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.
“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.”
Why did Paige Young “blame” Hugh Hefner for her decision to commit suicide? Along with the others mentioned in her suicide note.
and says she was told by Paige Young that a member of Hefner’s entourage filmed and owned the tape of her in a sexual situation at the Playboy mansion. And she was very afraid of it “getting out.”
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 original source?
The Playmate 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. I’m guessing that the Playmate Book is updated and released every 5-10 years.
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? Was Hugh Hefner or those close to him involved somehow?
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 a “bachelor pad” decked out with the finest stereo equipment and other electronic gadgets, sure to impress the ladies, and 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 and Stefan Tetenbaum in Episode 8.)
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.
These 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, author of the book Bunny.
There are also reports of Hefner ordering the tapes and films destroyed before his death, by sinking them in the ocean.
One of the clips from the Secrets of Playboy opening also shows 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.”
Allegedly, Hefner had become fearful after friend and frequent Playboy model Pamela Anderson had her (and husband Tommy Lee’s) 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 became known as “sex tape scandals,” although it 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 documentary that there was a “female fixer” working for Playboy/Hef in Los Angeles in the early 1970s.
And Paige’s suicide and notes left implicating Hefner and his friends, presented a problem that needed to be fixed.
April of 1974 was certainly not a good time for bad publicity to be attached to Hefner as Bobbie Arnstein, his loyal and troubled Chicago secretary, had been arrested for drugs in front of the Chicago Playboy Mansion, only two weeks previous to Paige’s suicide.
Hugh Hefner was spending time more often in Los Angele by 1974 and Bobbie felt a little left out. She was supposed relocate on the west coast and continue to be Hefner’s secretary, from all accounts he was dependent on her assistance.
After Bobbie’s suicide in 1975, is always cited as finalizing Hugh Hefner’s move to the mansion in Holmby Hills found by “constant companion” Barbi Benton.
Paige’s home in Westwood was 10 minutes by car to the Holmby Hills location of the Playboy Mansion. The local police were friendly with Hef and welcomed at the mansion as several former employees said in Secrets of Playboy.
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 studied, which is nearly all 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 let her stay in a room in his large house along with other renters. The house was off Broad Beach Road. Paige told Henry that the “isolation” was interfering with her ability to paint.
This is the home where she would end her life in 1974.
According to the Daily Mail report, Paige complains to neighbor 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
John Huston owned and lived part of the year in an Irish estate named St. Clerans. The location is in Galway, Ireland and his ownership went from from 1953 to 1975.
Huston’s daughter, model, actress 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 until 1976, according to Celeste Huston in an online comment.
This is the same time frame of John Huston’s marriage to Celeste Shane Green, 1972-1975. It was Huston’s 5th marriage and CiCi’s 2nd.
Celeste’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.” 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)
One of CiCi loves was horses, just like John Huston and Paige Young.
Another love of CiCi’s in the late 1950s and early 1960s was famed Hollywood hairdresser Gene Schacove.
One of her best friends during that time and later was actress Jill St John.
After the blissful, sexually charged honeymoon phase experienced by Huston and CiCi, things turned for the worse in Ireland.
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 were taking advantage of Huston by overcharging him and using his money for their own personal shopping. Huston was frequently absent due to directing films all over the globe plus he was not that interested in managing money.
This created a lot of tension at St. Clerans.
Cici wanted most of the staff fired but Huston refused.
About their 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) given to Zoe.
Celeste and Paige both boarded horses at Sepulveda Stables. Celeste messaged me that she is the one who introduced Paige to Sepulveda Stables.
I happen to have already known that Paige boarded her horses there since grade school when she was known as Diana Cotterell. She gave 2 school photos to the owners of the Stables which were published on a website about Sepulveda Stables.
That would mean Cici knew Paige as Diana in grade school and I don’t see it. She gave no indication she knew her as Diana.
Diana lived nearby Sepulveda Stables located on Sepulveda Blvd. and Hatteras. Several of her classmates, like Joan Edwards, boarded a horse there. As did Celeste in the early 1960s but before then? As a child Celeste Shane lived in Beverly Hills.
Paige told nobody that she was born Diana Cotterell.
John Huston and Paige were both painters in addition to being horse lovers, these factors may have played a role in their “connection”.
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.
I read that he wasn’t one to indulge in “one-night-stands.”
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 story Melanie tells of Huston hiding Paige’s shoes. “It really bothered her,” even though “it was a little thing.”
Huston could also display great generosity.
I have read several John Huston biographies.
Information and quotes from Lawrence Grobel’s book: “The Hustons” published by Scribner’s.
I also found detailed information from the Huston biography Courage and Art by Jeffrey Meyers.
Check these books out for a look at one of our most legendary Hollywood directors and characters.
Given what Melanie said in the Daily Mail and the sale of St. Clerans, Paige’s visit likely was in 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 and in conflict over him.
I had an email exchange with Celeste Shane Huston and she confirmed that she and Huston knew Paige and “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 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
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 Roman Polanski.
This would have been the time 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 was documented in the Secrets of Playboy documentary.
These were the very last years of Paige’s life.
More about John Huston ahead.
Paige appears in some Electrochemical Company photographs, credited to Peter Gowland, probably taken 72/73.
There is an association between Electrochemical Company and the Ridgid Tool Company, Gowland’s long time clients.
Paige was one model of a few featured in this series which looks like it was a gift for special clients. 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. She is portrayed, 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