PART 2: Richard Sample Interview

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

Photo of a photo of Richard painting. Paige’s painting of him hanging prominently, along with some kind of a Paige Playboy plaque. 69/70.

To open our interview, I promised Richard I would end after one hour. It ended up two.

I asked Richard if Paige ever used LSD, the drug from the moniker “the “psychedelic era.” Richard said no, not that he ever witnessed or heard.

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

Richard said, ” I think that that is something Dennis told me about Jonathan Winters. And that tape. I think Dennis knows something about that tape.”

Richard said this is all he can remember.

He has not heard of David Shane.

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

Malibu Friends:

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

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

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

I had never heard of Don Dwiggins; it turns out he was a longtime LA reporter, prolific author, pilot, stunt pilot and aviation historian. And a man of numerous hobbies.

Dwiggins lived in Malibu for decades, well-known and admired in the community, and Los Angeles in general. 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.

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 as an avid art collector.

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 conversation.

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

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

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

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

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

Richard brought up Hugh Hefner.

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

Richard Sample

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

Yes, he nodded (for sex or sexual favors) 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.

My thoughts: soon.

Paige personality:

Did Paige have an opinion about the Vietnam war?

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

Did she attend any anti-war demonstrations?

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

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

Several minutes long pause.

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

“Teddy, brother of President John Kennedy.

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

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

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

For example, Richard did not know that Paige was born Diana Cotterell or anything at all about her childhood.

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

LAT March 29. 1989.

Chilling the timing of his accident….

My Interview with Artist/Paige Young Friend Richard Sample. 1960-1969. Malibu. Venice. Celebrity Connections. PART 1. Updated 10/30/2021

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.)

Richard Sample met Paige Young in the art world of Malibu in the 1960s.

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.”

LAT July 19, 1964 the famous Cooper house by architect Harry Gessner

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.

Jonathan Winters:

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.

Playboy building on the right. It had the club, offices and a suite on the top for Hugh Hefner while he was in LA.
Back of postcard. Club was opened on New Year’s Eve 1964

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.

The Brooklyn Rail May 2019 Interview with DeWain Valentine

Richard Sample
Detail of photo with artists Richard Sample, left, Paige Young and Rodney Rowland King. mid to late 1960s.

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.

TiRi

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.

1970/71 #1 Pasadena Art Museum With Warhol Wearing A Rudi Gernreich Dress. Artist DeWain Valentine. Venice Beach.

May 16, 1970. Paige Young makes an appearance at the Pasadena Art Museum recorded by an LA gossip columnist Marvene Jones and a photographer.

The occasion was an invitation-only gala for the new Andy Warhol exhibit.

Warhol himself makes an appearance, obviously a big deal.

According to this article, Paige Young and Andy Warhol discuss a role for Paige in an upcoming Andy Warhol film.

From the Los Angeles Evening Citizen 5/16/1970

Photo of Paige wearing her Rudi Gernreich dress with her date Bill Gardner. J Winters refers to Jonathan Winters, a show which Paige had appeared, according to some of her press.

DeWain Valentine was an emerging artist in the 1960s Venice art scene. He had an exhibit at PAM the same time as the Warhol exhibit.

LAT May 31, 1970
Column #2 of article Richard Sample told me Paige was always barefoot. (And frequently topless)

Marvene Jones reveals here that Mr. and Mrs. DeWain Valentine made up a foursome with Paige and Bill Gardner, former manager of Jonathan Winters.

Valentine played a major part of the west coast”Light and Space” art movement, along with artists Larry Bell, Robert Irwin, Helen Pashgian, James Turrell and John McCracken and more. Many of these artists lived in Venice due to the cheap rent.

The “Cool School” artists, set up shop in Venice Beach in the early 1950s. I watched a documentary of the same name for a deep dive into an art movement known as West Coast Abstract Expressionism, and the West Coast Style. The artists include now very well known names like Ed Keinholz, Wally Berman, Billy Al Bengston, Ed Ruscha, Robert Irwin, Ed Moses, Craig Kauffman, and the curator who helped bring them to renown, Walter Hopps. Dennis Hopper was friends with these artists and collected their works. Many of this group famously interacted with Warhol on his famous trip by car to the west coast in the early 1960s.

The Light and Space movement was like a subgroup of the Cool School. Apparently Irwin was in both.

Richard Sample said that he moved from Malibu to an art studio in Venice, late 1960s. Paige later joined him but Richard could not remember the location. He told me his artist neighbors and friends were DeWain Valentine and Larry Bell. (See Chapter: Interview with Richard Sample)

(I read that Robert Irwin lived right across the street from Valentine. Not mentioned by Sample.)

Paige refers to her “new Venice art studio” in interviews with Playboy magazine and US newspapers in 1969 and 70. This is the year she toured the US promoting the syndicated TV show Playboy After Dark. (See chapter: Most Public Year 1969)

I have found location of this Venice studio: 62-68 Market St. in Venice Beach.

Richard Sample’s niece Ellen Sample remembers visiting her uncle and grandfather Charles Sample at an art studio and home in Venice. Charles also had a retail storefront. Richard and Ellen recall being able to see the beach from the studi. It’s a large structure and was divided amongst many artists who rented their own studio according to Ellen.

This all describes 62-68 Market St from google maps and Valentine himself in published interviews.

Richard Sample is listed at 63 Market St. Venice, in a newspaper marriage announcement, 1968. Bride is Daryl Seybold from somewhere else in LA.

Ellen texted me that her Uncle Richard sublet the studio to Paige at one point, and she recalls some tension with Paige and Ellen’s aunts, the wives of Charles Sample and his sons. Ellen said her mother was not bothered by Paige, but that she did “go with her sister-in-laws to see what was going on at the studio” with Paige. Ellen says it was the most tension when Paige’s issue was released.

Art by DeWain Valentine around 1968
Brooklyn Rail 2019 found online.

Valentine has spoken about his Venice studio in several art magazine interviews; it’s influence on his art and his many artist neighbors and friends, including Larry Bell and Robert Irwin, particularly the years from the mid-1960s to mid 1970s.

DeWain Valentine lived in and eventually purchased the 62 -65 Market St. building as he says in this interview.

Several records with his signature and name can be seen in public building archives from LA County, now available online. 2 are seen below.

I hope to speak with DeWain Valentine about his evening at the Warhol opening and what he remembers about Paige living and painting in the Venice studio on Market St. I have left several phone messages and mailed him a copy of the Marvene Jones column. I have not yet heard back from him.

LOS ANGELES, CA – OCTOBER 2: Artist Judy Chicago (L) and De Wain Valentine (R) pose during the Pacific Standard Time: Art in LA 1945-1980 opening event held at the Getty Center on October 2, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ryan Miller/WireImage)

1971

It it was around this time that Paige moved into this garage apartment in Westwood after feeling “antsy” (as described by her friend Henry to me) living in the isolated Trancas area of Malibu This is the home where she would end her life in 1974.

Behind a duplex off of Santa Monica Blvd in Westwood. From a retail listing, 10 or more years ago. It painted a different color now and the lawn not as green, it still looks like this now.
This garage apartment was built in 1941. Duplex in front built in 1938. Owner/Builder was silent film bit player Kathryn Eddy.