1974 #1. Death. Witness. Sex Tapes. Hefner. Questions. Cremation. Ocean burial. Documents. Secrets of Playboy. UPdated 10/17/22

March 16, 1974 is Paige Young’s 30th birthday.

April 7th 1974 is a Palm Sunday.

On that day, Paige commits suicide with a gunshot to her head at her residence, picture below.

Paige's garage apartment in WESTWOOD.

During the weeks and months leading up to her suicide, Paige confided in Melanie that she was fearful of a “sex tape” that “a relative of a major celebrity had made of her.”

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 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.”

In the A&E channel documentary Secrets of Playboy, Melanie is interviewed by the director.

Melanie says she was told by Paige Young that a member of Hefner’s entourage filmed 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.

Mother Donna Holroyd signs of with a shaky signature as “Donna Cotterell.”

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.

 In the weeks and months after the Daily Mail article was published, no one spoke out publicly about knowing or having met Paige Young. No one came forward on social or entertainment media to shed any more light on what could have driven or influenced her to take her own life.

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, like a Cadillac or Picasso painting might.

The A&E 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; see interview with former head of Playmate Promotions Miki Garcia showing her personal notes about Tony Curtis. Curtis and his lawyers were highly upset about Tony’s appearance in sex tapes filmed at the mansion.

There are also reports of Hefner ordering the tapes and films destroyed before his death, by sinking them in the ocean. Hefner had become more fearful after friend and frequent Playboy model Pamela Anderson had her and husband Tommy Lee’s sex tapes stolen, and released to the public.

Former Playboy employee Lisa Loving Barrett says in the same documentary Secrets of Playboy, that she heard the the ocean burial story and has reason to believe it is true.

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.

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.”

Mother Mrs. Donna Holroyd signature.
Math figures determine Paige’s age.

Lone surfer along Santa Monica shoreline at sunset. 2022

1963 Marriage & 1964 Divorce to Mark F. Segal. Marvin M. Mitchelson Lawyer. Headlines.

1963 October 1st Paige Young marries Mark Frederick Segal in Las Vegas, per nearly impossible to read ledger records found on ancestry.com.

Notice in the Valley News December 25, 1964

An elopement likely in one of those 24-hour Las Vegas wedding chapels.

The record shows only the date and names.

 Paige’s new husband Mark F. Segal, born in 1942, is the son of WW2 veteran Harold Segal and his wife. They resided in Sherman Oaks at 4518 Vista Del Monte, at one time.  Mark was a marine private who took combat training in 1961 at Camp Pendleton.

  Segal was also a car dealer at “Sea-Gull Motors,” a business started by his father according to newspaper ads in the late 1950s and Segal friend Rex Ramsey. Sea-Gull Motors either has several locations or moves locations several times in the Sherman Oaks/Van Nuys area in the 1950s and 1960s: 7211 Balboa Avenue, 4425 Van Nuys Blvd. and 6738 Sepulveda Blvd. Or they

Ramsey told me that father Harold Segal also owned Fox Auto Service in the SFV and the Segal family had several brothers in addition to Mark. He mentioned that the family was “pretty well-off.”

1963-1964 Paige and Mark live together as husband and wife at 4133 Crisp Canyon Road in Sherman Oaks, “South of Ventura.

Paige continues to board her horse Hamish at Sepulveda Stables.  A young friend at the stables emailed this information and wrote to me about Paige’s connection to her home on Crisp Canyon. It’s very close to the neighborhood where Diana Cotterell lived and attended elementary and junior high school.

The young friend of Paige’s from told me that when she was 12 years old, Paige (19/20 years old), drove her to the house on Crisp Canyon Rd. to hang out and drink lemonade.

1964

August 28, 11 months after her Las Vegas marriage, Paige and her attorney file for divorce from Mark F. Segal. Paige is represented by rising Beverly Hills attorney Marvin M. Mitchelson.

NEW YORK, NY – CIRCA 1979: Marvin Mitchelson, Celebrity divorce lawyer circa 1979 in New York City. (Photo by Robin Platzer/IMAGES/Getty Images)

Below are just a few of the dozens of divorce documents I obtained from a records department located in Downtown LA.

 The filing below states that Mark threatened Paige and her animals with bodily harm “on numerous occasions,” and on August 17, 1964, “brandished a knife in her presence,” and “Plaintiff’s profession is that of an artist and painter and on or about June 15, 1964, defendant maliciously and with intent to destroy plaintiff’s artwork drove nails through plaintiff’s prized paintings and further did mischievous damage by driving nails through plaintiff’s personal belongings including an expensive fur stole.”

Divorce document Declaration of husband to determine Mark’s income, shows address where Paige and Mark lived in Crisp Canyon south of Ventura. A small, rustic, weekend cabin for Hollywood types says Rex Ramsey, friend of Mark and Paige.

Paige requests and is granted a temporary restraining order from the court.

Mark quickly countersues and denies all of Paige’s claims of abuse. He claims that she is the one who caused him mental anguish and suffering.

Marvin Mitchelson, on behalf of client Paige, asks for alimony, lawyer’s fees and court costs: “Plaintiff is not employed and presently embarking on a career as a painter, therefore needs the money from Defendant who is able bodied and employed.”

 Marks balks at this request and states he can’t afford it.

(divorce documents in collection of author)

The divorce filing is a bit out-of-the-ordinary and was picked up by a wire service and appears in a handful of newspapers across the country.

Some examples below:

August 28, 1964 The Desert Sun-Palm Springs
South Bend Tribune Aug. 28, 1964
Los Angeles Evening-Citizen News Aug. 28, 1964 Only article I have found that mentions lawyer Marvin M. Mitchelson and the couple’s home address.
Dayton Daily News Aug. 28, 1964
Dayton Daily News. Here Paige is an “Artist’s Model” This may have added interest for local newspapers, when reading their wire service stories.
Cincinnati Post and Times. Aug. 28, 1964

There is a high probability that Marvin Mitchelson was behind the above stories.

We might call these headlines “click-bait” today.

Apparently, early in his career, Marvin looked for ways to garner publicity for himself:

“..In the early days, when his client list was still thin, he could gin up publicity by filing an oddball lawsuit himself…this was 1964 and he had to work with what material was sent him.” From the book “Ladies Man, The Life and Trials of Marvin Mitchelson” by John A. Jenkins.

 This is likely the reason Mitchelson took Paige’s case despite her lack of ability to pay him any money upfront.  The case was unusual or “oddball” enough for it to be of use to him.

 Hollywood History/Celebrity Connections: Only a few days after the articles about Paige’s divorce filing is published in a few newspapers, news breaks that Beverly Hills society matron and LA talk show host, Pamela Mason, has won the unprecedented amount of 1 million dollars, for her divorce settlement from husband of 20 years: actor James Mason.

  

Her lawyer is Marvin Mitchelson.

Sept.1, 1964 Pasadena Independent, Pasadena, California.

Jenkins details the Mason case:

“Afterward in the courthouse corridor, “James (Mason) called the settlement ‘a flea bite.’ After all, he was getting off the hook without giving her any alimony at all. But Pamela was ecstatic. Her settlement was one of the first to break the magic million-dollar mark, and Mitchelson had gotten her, and himself, a ton of publicity about it.” “Pamela was so grateful she did everything she could to make Marvin Mitchelson a household name. Pamela introduced Mitchelson to her divorcing friends…she became his entrée to those rarefied upper brackets of Beverly Hills and Hollywood.”

The Mason case was a first as far as Hollywood divorces go, and a breakthrough for Marvin Mitchelson’s career.

Later this same year, Michelson represents legendary lyricist Alan Lerner’s estranged wife, Micheline.

LAT Dec. 22, 1964

Mark F. Segal came from a fairly well off Sherman Oaks family. Father Harold Segal owned a thriving car business according to friend and possible car thief Rex Ramsey. Still he wasn’t in a league with rich and famous genius of My Fair Lady composer Alan Lerner.

However, both did have a couple things in common: estranged wives represented by rising lawyer Marvin M. Michelson. The other is being found in contempt of court by failing to pay alimony to these estranged wives.

 Mark’s attorney is Bernard Echt from Sherman Oaks. Echt, a few years down the road, would represent the milkman who was being sued by Vincent Bugliosi for suspected impregnation of his wife. Strange yet true.

Mark’s attorney is Bernard Echt. Mark files a cross complaint about Paige and states that she is the one is abusive to him.

 An initial agreement is reached pretty quickly: Sept. 18,1964 . Mark is required to pay Paige alimony, but only for six months.

This would be about $1000 in 2017, so the equivalent of $6000 total in today’s money.

1964 November 24:  Paige and her grandmother Virginia LaRocca are sworn-in for testimony in a Los Angeles courthouse, probably 111 Hill Street, for the divorce trial; Mark is a no-show. Virginia LaRocca testifies for the plaintiff, her granddaughter Paige. An interlocutory decree of divorce is granted to Paige on grounds of extreme cruelty.

 Paige waives her right to any further alimony payments beyond the six months.  Mark is also ordered to pay Marvin Mitchelson $300 (about $2072 in 2017 dollars) and $15.00 in court costs around $100 today.   Paige is awarded a 1953 MG Roadster; Mark is ordered to sign the title over to her.  Paige gets to keep certain antiques and wedding gifts.  Mark gets to keep his home at 4133 Crisp Canyon in Sherman Oaks.

Both parties are ordered to not annoy, molest or harass the other.

1965

This year shows Mark has not been making his required alimony and lawyer’s fees since 1964.

Defendant Mark F. Segal is delinquent in alimony payments 64-65

Order to show cause that Mark is in contempt; alimony unpaid up to middle of 1965

1965-Marvin Michelson goes hard on Mark Segal this year. For every month Mark fails to make his monthly alimony payment to Paige and the lawyer’s fees, Michelson files a contempt suit in court.

And it turned out to be all 12 months.

More on this in the next chapter.

1950s #2 Diana Cotterell in the SFV. Grade School. Horses. Sepulveda Stables. Van Nuys Junior High.

Diana started grade school in about 1950. It appears she lived in Gardena in 1950 per the 1950 census. It’s unknown where she did start grade school in Gardena.

Grandmother Virginia LaRocca is listed in an online Gardena 1951 phone directory as a Christian Science Practitioner, see below. Husband Joseph is not listed. This is unusual. Had Ned already moved up to the SFV? Did the girls and Donna move with him or stay with Virginia another year in Gardena?

The family probably moved to the location 13055 Moorpark St between 1952-1954.

Riverside Drive Elementary is located at 13061 Riverside Drive, very close to the Moorpark house.a12333ef-762c-4bfd-9ab3-2b376db1a416_1_201_a

If the Cotterell girls walked to school from their house on Moorpark, all they had to do was turn north on Ethel Ave. and walk straight to the school. It could have only taken a few minutes.

There would have been no Ventura Freeway to walk under along the way.  I think that came in 1959.

UPDATE 5-20-20 I found this article.

Both Dixie Canyon and Riverside Drive elementary schools are the same distance to the Moorpark/Ethel house where Diana lived with her mother, sister and grandparents through much of the 1950s. Their house was basically right in the center between the two schools.

But Diana was definitely at Dixie Canyon in the 6th grade

It can be confirmed that she attended Van Nuys Junior High for the 7th and 9th grades.

This photo below is one of the first articles I found that showed me Diana Cotterell and Paige Young were the same person.

Valley News April 7, 1957
Diana Cotterell Age 15/16

1959 The above photo is from the Van Nuys Junior High yearbook. Diana Cotterell was in the 9th grade. Her grandfather Jospeh Ned LaRocca would die later that year. (separate post) I found these photos in the VNJH school library with the librarian standing over me as lunch was about to start. There were several yearbooks, more like paper notebooks, in a jumble. This was the only photo I could find of Diana on that day. I haven’t found a photo of her 8th grade year.

I have reason to believe that Diana Cotterell dropped out of school after the 9th grade.

Here is the photo in a larger context.

Yearbooks from 1956 & 1958 Van Nuys Junior High . Diana Cotterell attended here from 1957-1959. She is not in the 58′ yearbook that I can see, but is in the 59′ edition as shown above
Van Nuys News June 18, 1959.
Many SFV schools had graduation ceremonies, mid June 1959, including Van Nuys Junior High shown in the 3rd column. Diana Lee Cotterell would have been among the graduates that day.
Image I took of a hallway at VNJH 2016

Equestrian shows were held almost every weekend in the Los Angeles area in the 1950s.

Valley News and Green Sheet June 18, 1959

1953-1959 Like many kids living in 1950s San Fernando Valley, Diana Lee Cotterell is obsessed with horses. Diana rides and boards her horse at Sepulveda Stables, located at 5763 Sepulveda Blvd, on the corner of Hatteras.

There were commercial horse stables and riding trails all over the SFV in the 50s and 60s.

Horse husbandry was considered a wholesome activity for youth and thought to produce responsible America citizens.

And probably most importantly, it would keep kids and teens busy and thus away from the bad influences of “juvenile delinquency,” a growing social concern of the 1950s. 

source: Making the San Fernando Valley: Rural Landscapes, Urban Development and White Privilege by Laura R. Barraclough

Diana owned a horse named Hamish from junior high, 1957-1959, to at least 1964 when she was married to Mark Segal and living at his house at 4133 Crisp Canyon Rd. .

It is unknown if Diana ever participated in the many equestrienne shows performed by her fellow riders at Sepulveda Stables. 

Early 1960s and earlier: The future Mrs. John Huston and friend to Paige Young, Celeste Shane, (see chapters on her) also boards a horse at Sepulveda Stable as does actress Donna Reed and actress Jill St. John who was a close friend of Celeste’s.

Sepulvedastables.net where I got much of this information seems to have been removed. I spoke with the owner of the website a few years earlier who remembered Paige. This woman was 12 or 13 and Paige was probably 19 or 20 living with Mark Segal on Crisp Canyon Rd.. Paige invited this girl up for lemonade to this address.