Posted on June 8, 2021
UPDATE: Richard L. Sample passed away on August 10, 2021
Recently, I interviewed Richard Sample, Paige’s ex-boyfriend, painter, sculptor and assemblage artist.
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 where Parry heard his name in association with Paige Young.
I am so appreciative 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.
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 some woman in a red car was in front of her Uncle Richard’s house.
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.
Ellie unlocked the gate and as we walked toward the house, she told me that Richard doesn’t hear very well now.
Richard warmly greeted me with a hug as did his dog Tolly. Ellie left us to the interview.
After we sat down to talk, Sample told 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 it as our time together progressed.
I would 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 about my journey with this story about Paige.
This chapter and the next will be a mixture of exact quotes from my tape recorder as well as transcribed hand notes. I will make a few personal observations and I will write more of my thoughts at a later date. I might make short videos.
Richard Sample gave me permission to publish what he said during our interview.
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 was in the military but he “Never made it to Vietnam, just Ft. Bragg North Carolina”.
Richard’s father was Charlie/Charles Sample, a well known artist, an eccentric Los Angeles character and talented goldsmith/jeweler to the “Stars.” ( Charlie in more detail later.)
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 long Rudi Gernreich dress and is barefoot.
“She is the only person I’ve ever known who ate ice cream with a fork,”
I asked about Hamish the horse and Richard says she did not keep a horse in Malibu.
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 Gessner. 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.”
He sent Gessner and Paige to my studio in Malibu, “to see my art.”
(I found one mention 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.
Richard asks me why I asked him about Jonathan Winters, in one of my letters to him.
I told him about the archival newspaper interviews with Paige from 1969, while promoting Playboy around the country. Some of the articles mention that Paige has appeared as an extra or “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:
“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 (Winters) but Dennis could tell you all about it. Dennis never met Paige, but he did know about her.”
Presumably because of Jonathan Winters.
Paige did not tell Richard 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.
Bill Cosby: Richard said he would occasionally pick up Paige at the Sunset Strip Playboy Club, after her shift. She worked at the club “for about 3 months,” he said.
A frequent visitor and performer at many Playboy Clubs was Bill Cosby.
“Bill Cosby was always trying to put the make on Paige. She didn’t want anything to do with him, she ignored him.”
Richard said one time when he was picking Paige up from the club, 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 said I have a copy of her death certificate with the 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.” (suicide) 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 DeWitt listed as a “2nd witness” on the police report, the police at Paige’s house and coroner’s office. 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 moved to Venice Beach, around 1966-67 motivated by its’ thriving art scene. Paige joined Richard not too long after he moved.
Like many artists, his house doubled as his art studio.
He said about famous “Light and Space” artists, “De Wain Valentine had a studio next door to Paige and me.” “He was a friend of mine. Another friend, Larry Bell, lived across the street from us, on Market.”
“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 a quote from both Larry Bell and DeWain Valentine in an art magazine.
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
Dec. 2019 by Desiree Milton in Whitewall: Beyond the Walls.
Cars: Paige owned a yellow Mustang, a recent model and Richard owned a Corvette.
“A guy named Rex Ramsey stole our cars, but Paige got them back.”
I already knew about Rex Ramsey; he’s connected to Mark F. Segal through renting Segal’s (where Paige lived as his wife) house at 4144 Crisp Canyon in Sherman Oaks. Both men spent a career heavily involved with cars: sales, importing cars, car parts and race cars, and 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.)
“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 using Charlie Sample designs: horse saddles and bridles, spurs, belt buckles, bolo ties, rings, bracelets etc.
“Paige liked my father, he made some jewelry for her.”
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 say 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 presumably the Raincheck Room, to be determined, 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 the 3rd parents’ 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 film.
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 also read it was a local Miami man who gave Morrison the lamb, this is the same concert where Morrison allegedly exposed his penis on stage and was arrested..
This was one reason Morrison left for Paris. (Supposedly)
Shortly after I returned from California, I rented Mondo Hollywood on Amazon. I was unable to spot Richard’s sculptures in the film–a sculptress 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 see his ending credit as:
Moonshadow sculpture: Richard Lauren Sample
Famous pin-up and 50s, 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.
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.
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 has no idea who any of these people are at the cookout or in the room with Paige painting what looks like the start of a self-portrait. 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.”
Malibu fire: “Me and Harry Gesner went to Paige’s house during the Malibu fire (he’s not sure which year in the 1960s) and hosed everything down. Paige’s house didn’t burn but everything around it did.”
I then asked a couple of my questions about Paige’s family.
Was there ever an indication that Paige had grown up with a grandmother (Virginia Young LaRocca) who was a Christian Science practitioner and a 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 “feel “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 remembered and 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 .
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, Charlie Sample, Corvette, cultmovie, DeWain Valentine, Donna Holroyd, Early 1960s, Eros Gallery Art Gallery, Family, Green Stamps, 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 Ramsey, Robert Carl Coehn, SFV, Sunset Strip, Sylvia Nicolosi, Tony Dow, Venice, Venice Beach, Venice California, Vietnam, Virginia LaRocca
Posted on July 12, 2020
1968 November Paige Young appears as Playboy Magazine’s Playmate of the Month.
This will be her primary “claim to fame” in popular culture. Well-known pin-up photography team and married couple Peter and Alice Gowland were the photographers. Alice has said she clicked the shutter on the “back-scratch” centerfold. (From Playboy interview with Alice Gowland)
The Playmate story of Paige Young is that of a full-time painter who admits to the difficulty of this endeavor, but loves the fact that “My time is my own.” Paige lives in Malibu, is a scuba diver and gourmet cook who loves to host beach cookouts for friends. She can often be seen running on the beach with her Weimaraner named Joshua.
Paige hates the “9-5 doldrums.”
Maybe you already know that Paige Young’s other “claim to fame” is appearing on internet lists and articles about Playboy Playmates who died young and/or committed suicide. (See my “About” page.)
1969 is clearly Paige’s most documented year: She travelled the US, Canada and Japan, as part of her contract with Playboy to make appearances and give interviews to promote the TV show Playboy After Dark (PAD). And basically to function as a brand ambassador.
What follows are several articles I found from 1968 and 1969 on a newspaper archive website.
Take the time to read the articles, if you want a little insight into the person that was self-named Paige Young. I apologize for the quality of a few of them.
Some articles are revealing and appear to be truthful. Paige gives a few contradictory answers on the subject of her body and weight for centerfold “acceptability.”
I think this trip to the Boston Auto Show was her first stop on the tour, Oct. 26-Nov. 2, 1968. That makes Paige the Playmate of the current issue of Playboy magazine during the event.
“I met Paige when I was 14. She was signing autographs at the Boston car show. in late 1968. We talked about art. She was intelligent, beautiful, and kind. I’m looking to find original art by her as I think she was a great artist who was hobbled by her beauty. ” Feedback left by a reader, Daniel, he describes more details in the e-mail below:
I vividly remember Paige. She was beautiful and intelligent.”
” I was 14 years old. My friend had dared me to ask her to sign the centerfold, but she politely demurred and signed the first page of her pictorial which was a headshot. She also gave me an autographed photo. Unfortunately, my grandmother was horrified and it was all confiscated and thrown away.I told her that I admired her portrait of Truman Capote and she immediately brightened. She said art was what she “really wanted to do.”
I would love to find paintings by her to buy. But I imagine that not many survived.
Daniel- Thank you for sharing your memory, it’s very much appreciated!
ALSO in 1969...
Paige continued to battle ex- husband Mark F. Segal, who had yet to pay for 5 of the 6-months alimony he owed her and Marvin M. Mitchelson since 1964. By now her law firm was Silverton, Ruderman and Graf of Studio City.
Paige visits NYC in June of 1969
1969 In March and April, images of Paige wearing a polka dot bikini appeared in dozens of USA newspapers; she was named “Queen of the Fleet” for the first annual Desert Sailboat Regatta, to take place in the fairly new city of Lake Havasu City, Arizona. (LHC)
I think some context is important, so briefly...
“Lake Havasu City is in western Arizona. It’s known as a base for trails in the nearby desert and water sports on Lake Havasu. London Bridge, relocated from England, links the mainland to marinas and a looped path in an area known as the Island.” wikipedia
Lake Havasu City, Arizona was established in 1963 after businessman Robert McCulloch purchased the land in 1958.
McCulloch bought the London Bridge in 1968 when the City of London placed it for auction. He had an idea that it would be a successful lure for tourists and potential home buyers.
McCulloch bought 100s of ads in different newspapers across the US, from LA to Davenport, he promoted a vacation to LHC, and as a land investment. Just two examples below.
LHC placed the London bridge about 1 year after Paige appeared as “Queen of the Fleet.” McCulloch was advertising it way before.
Queen Paige Young and the Regatta Sailing event, were designed by McColloch to advertise the marvelous boating and water recreation activities available in LHC.
And hey, maybe you will enjoy yourself so much you will want to live in Lake Havasu City year round!
As you can see, this particular photograph of Paige as “Queen of the Fleet,” was a popular one.
This article (April 16, 2021) mentions Robert McCulloch as regatta chairman and details information about the boats entered. Probably because it’s in the “Outdoor” section of the paper.
With the exception of the last, this next set of clippings refer to Paige as “graduating from Van Nuys High School.”
I have researched classmates.com for many hours, in the years she would have attended and/or graduated: 1959-1962.
I have been unable to find any Paige Young or Diana Cotterell in the VNHS yearbook, nor can I find her class photo in yearbooks of Grant High School, North Hollywood High School or Birmingham High School.
These high schools were all very near where Paige was living, if she lived with Virginia or Donna and stepfather Jack Holroyd. And according to directories and voter registrations, they lived a few blocks from Grant High School on Oxford and then in Panorama City at 8533 Ventura Canyon Blvd. between 1960-1964.
Her name is Joan Edwards and she attended and graduated from Van Nuys High School in 1962. This should have been Diana/Paige’s graduation year also. She told me that she doesn’t remember seeing or talking to Diana after the end of their VNJH years.
It’s possible Paige dropped out of high school after the 9th grade, 1959. Her grandfather, Ned LaRocca, died in November of that year. Many of the interviews from 69 state she began painting professionally at age 16.
Could it be related? I don’t know. But possibly.
If she did attend or graduate from a high school, it definitely wasn’t Van Nuys High School.
The UPI photos never mention Paige’s title of Playboy Playmate, but the local Lake Havasu City paper does.
Notice the references to Playboy “Bunny.”
ALSO Notice the information of Paige’s appearance on the Jonathan Winters Show in the Lake Havasu article.
The terms Playmate and Bunny became interchangeable in the media very quickly. Here is another example; ad from a Fresno mall appearance with Playmate Lisa Baker.
Playmate of the Year 1967, Lisa Baker, was also supposedly on the Winters show.
I’ve been unable to find any credits for Paige or Lisa on the Jonathan Winters Show 1967-1969. The show was filmed at CBS Television City on Fairfax, as was Playboy After Dark. PAD ran from 68-70.
Paige and Lisa’s roles may have been as extras or “background décor.” I viewed several episodes of the show at the Paley Center for Media in Los Angeles and I could not spot Paige Young.
I haven’t yet been able to find Paige as an extra on Playboy After Dark; I have not viewed every episode though.
(I did find images of a dancer on Winters show that looked strikingly like Paige. It was eerie. The choreographer of the show was Robert Banas.)
The Paley Center does not own every episode of the Jonathan Winters show and neither does UCLA.
There have been several incarnations of Jonathan Winters show. The one from 67-69, had guests stars: The Doors, Barbara Eden, Vic Damone, Della Reese, The Smothers Brothers, Ray Charles, Nancy Sinatra, Tom Jones and many others.
Please see chapter Richard Sample interview for more on Jonathan Winters and a possible connection to Paige Young.
1969 travels continued…
In the summer of 69, Paige is interviewed for an article in “West,” an LAT magazine, featuring a few young people who reside in the “geographically desirable” community of Marina Del Rey.
Article tells about hip Marina Del Rey, considered “G.D.” It stands for “geographically desirable.”
(As opposed to the SFV or Pasadena?)
Paige lives in a houseboat in Marina Del Rey.
Wait, doesn’t she live in Malibu!?
This is the only reference to Paige living in Marina Del Rey that I found, so far. Update on May 19, 2021: Richard Sample told me that this is when he last saw Paige, living in her houseboat on the Marina. 69 or 70
1969 continued, still touring…..Montreal
Article says she met Hefner only once briefly in response to the writer’s slightly provocative question.
By the end of her life she knew Hefner more closely in her hometown of Los Angeles.
Shippy, long-time columnist, has a conversation with the chaperone and Playboy PR man accompanying Paige Young. We know it is Bob Sanders. Shippy derisively refers to Sanders as a “flack.” Not in person I presume.
During their conversation Shippey notices Paige “sitting there looking lovely and trying not to fall asleep. ” The attention goes back to Paige.
She says she is a self taught artist turned actress, with an art studio in Venice and drama lessons with Jeff Corey. So far though, she has only had a non-speaking role on the Jonathan Winters show and as an audience member on the set of PAD.
UPDATE May 19, 2021 Richard Sample (see my interview with him) told me that Paige knew Hefner while she worked at the Playboy Club on the Sunset Strip, mid to late 1960s. Hefner had not yet moved to LA full-time. When this article was published it was almost certainly her first time visiting the Chicago Playboy mansion.
August of 1969, this photo appeared one week after the Tate/LaBianca murders in Paige’s hometown of Los Angeles. Many people around at the time, have talked about the traumatic impact the murders had on the residents of Los Angeles.
September 1969: Japan
September 1969 Edmonton
Several local ads announcing the first annual “Winter Fun and Snowmobile” show in Edmonton.
As you will see by the following news articles, the scheduled appearance by November 1968 Playmate Paige Young was publicized as a highlight of the show.
But when it gets to the big day……
Devin Sheedy, women’s snowmobile speed record holder, steps in for an ailing Paige Young.
*For more information a possible reason for Paige’s illness in Edmonton, see the chapter on Nick Lees”*
1969 The articles show us that most of Paige’s year is taken up with Playboy promotional traveling and appearances; autograph signings at car shows, Playboy Clubs, TV stations, Battle of the Bands, radio interviews, newspaper interviews, etc.
The Edmonton Winter Sports show in late September of 69 is the latest date I’ve have found for her promotional appearances. (So far.)
Boston Auto Show: late Oct. 1968 to the Edmonton show: late Sept. 1969, is just under one full year. Perhaps Paige completed the contracted one-year to Playboy. Seems like she had really “had it” by the end.
Or was it just a ruse to run off with Nick Lees?
I don’t know how many people know that Sirhan-Sirhan’s hometown was Pasadena.
RFK of course, had been assassinated in Los Angeles June of 1968. Location: the famous Ambassador Hotel.
Category: 1960s, LA Locations, Playboy, PMOM Tagged: #Paige Young, #PlayboyPlaymate, 1969, alimony, Bob Sanders, Boston Auto Show, Bunny, Dick Shippy, Divorce, Geographically Desireable, Jonathan Winters Show, LA History, Lake Havasu City, LHC, Lisa Baker, Los Angeles History, Marina Del Rey, Mark F. Segal, Peter Gowland, Playboy After Dark, Playboy Bunny, Playboy History, PlayboyClub, Playboymagazine, polkadot bikini, Queen of the Fleet, Regatta Queen, Robert Banas, Robert P McCulloch, Snowmobile show, Vintage LA, Vintage Playboy, Vintage Playboy Playmate, Winter Sports Edmonton