Posted on August 29, 2021
I obtained a copy of the LAPD report on Paige Young’s suicide, I have transcribed below.
The report is difficult to read; it looks like a copy of a copy of a copy, several words are faded almost beyond recognition. Someone familiar with police codes and reports may understand it better.
I have placed ??? for words and codes I can’t decipher.
EDI (PDI?) is witness and neighbor Melanie. I/D is the Investigating Detective.
I/D responded to a D/5 call at the above location. Upon arrival at 1500 hrs. I/D was met by 8A53 Ofcc’s Sullivan FI5452 and Peckins #15665. Death was pronounced by CA#92 at 1431. 8A53 upon arrival at the scene were met by EDI, who stated that the deceased was upstairs with a gun and was going to shoot herself. 8A53 at this time phoned for a backup unit. 8L/??and 8L10 responded. Ofccs at this time spent approx. 2 hours attempting to contact the deceased via the telephone and by calling ?? HEC? Offcs during this period were informed that a “SWAT” team was enroute and to stand by for their arrival. While Ofccs. were waiting for “SWAT” EDI suddenly ran into deceased’s apt. Ofccs fearing for EDI safety also entered the apt. Offcs. at time obs. the deceased lying on the bed with what appeared to be a gunshot wound to the head. Ofccs at this time phoned for an ambulance.
EDI stated that she last saw the Dec. alive on 4-7-74 at approx. 10:30. Deceased stated at this time that she was going to end her life. Dec. at this time placed the barrel of her gun in her mouth. EDI attempted to talk Dec. out of taking her life. Dec. asked EDI to phone the police because she wanted to kill herself in front of the police. EDI at this time left and returned to her apartment and started to call friends of the Dec. Approx. one hr. later (1130) EDI contacted the PD. EDI further stated that deceased had been in a constant state of deep depression for the last two years.
Wit-2 stated that on 4-7-74 at approx. 0930, he rec a phone call from Dec. who requested that he come to her and pick up her (Dec) dogs. Dec. also stated she would leave a note explaining about the dogs. Wit. went to the above location and obs. the dogs in their pen. Wit also obs what appeared to be a note which had been torn up ?? the dogs. Wit took the dogs and the note to his home. Once there Wit pieced the note together. The note instructed Wit. what to do with the dogs. At the bottom it read, “don’t come up call the police.” Wit at this time contacted the LAPD and then returned to the above location.
I/D obs. the deceased lying on her back in bed with her her feet resting on the ?? Dec. head was pointed in a S/E direction. I/D obs. no evid of foul play. An inspection of weapon showed it to be A 2? .38 caliber S/W B/S bed 5 shot chief. The weapon was fully loaded with one spent gund(?) directly under the hammer. This weapon was BKD? at ???? and rigor mortis were obs. I/D obs. no evid of an exit wound.
2H22 of SID was at the scene and took photos.
It is the opinion of the I/D that the Dec. committed suicide by firing a single shot from the above described weapon. This opinion is based of the statement of the EDI, and lack of evid to indicate otherwise. This death will be ???? as a suicide pending the final result of the cor. invest. The shot was fired into Dec. mouth and did not exit.
Since there was noone to ??/Dec. Prod, ???sealed the location.
“Decedent found in residence by friend Melanie Myers, decedent lying on bed w/38 revolver in rt. hand. Investigation by IHD. Possible Note at scene.” Brought in to Metro for recover of missile as requested by Dr. Mall. Signature.”
This corroborates Melanie’s story that she was read part of Paige’s suicide note by the police at the scene and that Paige wrote about Hollywood powerful men who used and abused her, including Huston and Hefner.
Suicide note not mentioned in LAPD report.
Occupation listed as “model” and reason for suicide “extreme depression.” Paige is listed as “artist” on her death certificate.
Officers called to Paige’s suicide scene: Sullivan and Perkins or Peckins
Investigating Detective I/D : Reddish, probably Richard M. Reddish who handled at least 2 other suicides in LA in his career per newspapers.com.
Police photographer on scene: Unknown
Coroner: Dr. Mall
Coroner’s office, removed Paige’s body from her home: Tim Gee.
2nd Witness: D DeWitt. Called by Paige on the 7th to take care of her dogs. According to this police report, this witness went to Paige’s house, retrieved the dogs and took the torn up note with with instructions for the dogs(?) Went to his house, pieced the note together. Note said “don’t come up call police.” Witness then returned to Paige’s house.
From there, nothing is said about witness DeWitt.
Members of SWAT team not recorded.
We can see what is not described in the report by Reddish: the suicide note and mural created by Paige Young about hatred towards Hugh Hefner. (This was what Melanie described to the Daily Mail Dec. 2014.)
Both witnesses in the report corroborate Melanie’s statement in 2014: Paige wanted to make a statement about these men who abused her. This is emphasized further in the A&E documentary “Secrets of Playboy.” Episode 8.
Suicide note NOT mentioned in this police report.
Location of police photographs taken of Paige’s suicide scene is unknown. Destroyed?
Category: 1970s, LA Locations, PMOM, Popular Culture Tagged: .38 caliber gun, 1970sLA, 1974, A&E, Documentary Series, Gun death, Investigation, LAPD, LAPD1970s, Los Angeles History, Paige Young, Police ID, Police report, Secrets of Playboy, suicide, Suicide by gun, SWAT, Westwood, Witnesses
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 we would end after one hour. It did 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; 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 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.
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 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 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 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 Sample gave me permission to publish what he said during our interview.
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 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. (confirmed independently)
Richard was in the military but he “Never made it to Vietnam, just Ft. Bragg North Carolina.” I saw his military ID.
Richard’s father was Charlie/Charles Sample, a well known artist, an eccentric Los Angeles and California character. Known as a talented goldsmith/jeweler to the “Stars.” Especially the Western ones. Charlie in more detail later. Many newspaper articles about him.
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 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.”
He sent Gesner 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 asked me why I asked him about Jonathan Winters, in one of my letters to him.
I told him about the newspaper interviews with Paige from 1969, for promoting Playboy around the country. Some of the articles mention 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:
“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.
I have since learned 2 thing about Jonathan Winters: He painted as a hobby and even published a book of his paintings entitled “Hang-Ups.”
And he had a residence in Santa Barbara which is quite close to the “artsy” town of Los Alamos.
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. As well as 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,” (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 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) Plus 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 moved to Venice Beach, around 1966-67 motivated by the thriving art scene. His father artist Charlie Sample was already there. Paige joined Richard not too long after he moved.
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.
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.”
“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 DeWain Valentine in art magazines.
Dec. 2019 by Desiree Milton in Whitewall: Beyond the Walls.
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
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. 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.
“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 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 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 video. I haven’t checked lately. 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 also read it was a local Miami man who gave Morrison the lamb.
The arrest is supposedly one reason Morrison left for Paris.
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 pinup 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.
Without mentioning his name, Paige 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.”
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/ 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 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 A. Ramsey, Rex Ramsey, Robert Carl Coehn, SFV, Sunset Strip, Sylvia Nicolosi, Tony Dow, Venice, Venice Beach, Venice California, Vietnam, Virginia LaRocca, Westwood
Posted on August 14, 2020
According to Melanie, Paige was afraid of a sex tape being seen by certain people or a certain person. (This was a non-consensual tape made of Paige and an unknown partner according to Melanie.)
I have to wonder if the person or persons in Paige’s mind was Desmond Guinness (and his crowd?)
It’s nothing I can confirm at this point but it is enough for a lead.
But it is interesting that Desmond was in Los Angeles again rather soon after October 73; he was back in 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. The next 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 July 21, 2020
The occasion was a gala for the new Andy Warhol exhibit, focusing on his use of repetition of images.
Warhol himself makes an appearance, obviously a big deal.
From the Los Angeles Evening Citizen 5/16/1970
According to this article, Paige Young and Andy Warhol discuss a role for Paige in an upcoming Andy Warhol film.
Marvene Jones says that Mr. and Mrs. DeWain Valentine made up a foursome with Paige and Bill Gardner, former manager of Jonathan Winters.
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. (see above)
Valentine played a major part in the “Light and Space” art movement, along with artists Larry Bell, Robert Irwin, Helen Pashgian, James Turrell, John McCracken and more.
Many of these artists lived in Venice Beach due to the cheap rent.
Before the Light and Space artists, the Cool School or Ferus Gallery artists, had already established themselves in the early 1950s, many of them in Venice. This group includes: Ed Keinholz, Wally Berman, Billy Al Bengston, Ed Ruscha, Robert Irwin, Ed Moses, Craig Kauffman, and the curators and owners of the Ferus Gallery who helped bring them to renown, Walter Hopps and Irving Blum.
The Ferus Gallery gang famously interacted with Warhol during his well documented stay in Los Angeles in the early 1960s. Warhol drove with? from NYC to LA.
The Ferus ‘Studs’ the new generation of artists, young abstract painters, ceramicists and assemblage makers who had been flying under the wire now were the featured artists at the Ferus Gallery.The Gallery was ripe for the adventurous artists who would set the new bar in contemporary styles. The Ferus Gallery had belief in the performance of their work and was one of the first galleries to support it.
The Light and Space movement emerged from the Cool School in the mid-1960s.
DeWain Valentine developed a type of polyester resin that allowed him to make large scale pieces like the one below. Previously the material would crack when making a piece this size.
Richard Sample told me that said after he moved to a studio-home in Venice (late 1960s) he invited Paige to move in with him there.
I asked Richard the location and he said he could not remember it, but that it was close to the ocean and his artist neighbors and friends were DeWain Valentine and Larry Bell. (See Chapter: Interview with Richard Sample)
Paige refers to her “new Venice art studio” in many interviews with Playboy magazine and US newspapers in 1969 and 1970. (See chapter: Most Public Year 1969)
Richard Sample and Paige Young joined the community of Venice artists but were “not working with the new materials” to quote Paige in a 1969 interview referring to Valentine, Bell and Irwin, not named.
I believe I have found location of this Venice studio: 62-68 Market St.
Research shows that Robert Irwin lived across the street from Valentine. This was not mentioned by Sample, I asked him if he knew Ruscha or Irwin and some others and he did not recognize those names, he was definitive about Bell and Valentine though.
Richard Sample’s niece Ellen remembers visiting her uncle and grandfather Charles Sample at the art studio/home in Venice. Charles also had a retail storefront in addition to his studio.
Richard and Ellen both recalled being able to see the beach from the studio. 62-68 Market St. is a large structure and was divided amongst many artists who rented their own studio according to Ellie This is why the address lists a range of numbers.
Richard Sample is listed with an address of 63 Market St. Venice, in a newspaper marriage announcement, 1968.
Ellen texted me a story: her Uncle Richard sublet the studio to Paige at one point. Ellen recalls tension with Paige and Ellen’s aunts, the wives of Charles Sample and his sons.
Ellen said her own 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” about Paige. Ellen says the most tense time was when Paige’s Playboy issue was current.
DeWain Valentine has spoken about this Venice studio in several art magazine interviews; the influence on his art and his many artist neighbors and friends, including Larry Bell and Robert Irwin, particularly the early years of the 1960s and 70s.
DeWain Valentine lived in and eventually purchased the 62 -65 Market St. building.
Several records with his signature and name can be seen in public building archives from LA County, now available online. Copy of one seen below.
61-65 is the address listed.
DeValentine spent a couple decades living in Hawaii as well.
I have attempted to interview DeWain Valentine, and ask about his evening at Pasadena Art Museum with Warhol, Paige, Bill Gardner and others. I’d also like to know what he remembers about Paige, Richard, Charlie Sample and their time living and painting in the Market St. studio.
I have left several phone messages and mailed him a copy of the Marvene Jones column but have not as of yet heard back.
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/Broad Beach area of Malibu. This is the home where she would end her life in 1974.
Category: 1970s, LA Locations, PMOM, Popular Culture Tagged: #Paige Young, 1970sfad, 1970sLA, 1972, Alice Gowland, Andy Warhol, Bill Gardner, Billy Al Bengston, Carolyn Rowan, Cool School, Dennis Hopper, DeWain Valentine, Ed Keinhoz, Ed Ruscha, Elsworth Kelly, Glamour Photography, Jonathan Winters, Larry Bell, Light and Space Art, Los Angeles architecture, Los Angeles History, Norton Simon, PAM, Pasadena, Pasadena Art Museum, Richard Sample, Robert Irwin, Robert Rowan, Rudi Gernriech, Santa Monica Blvd., Venice Art scence, Venice Beach, Venice Beach artists, Venice California, Wally Berman, Westwood
Posted on July 15, 2020
Paige’s photo appears in the January 1969 issue of Playboy magazine (it’s also the 15th anniversary issue) along with all 12 Playmates of 1968, a brief update accompanies each one.
The contestants are in the running for the soon-to-be-named Playmate of the Year 1969. The Playmate of the Year was a big deal. A higher status title than Playmate of the Month; more photos, more publicity, more money with a PMOY win.
The winner was Connie Kreski: a Michigan nursing school graduate, Playmate in January of 1968 and quickly turned starlet owning a camera ready face. She appeared to look 16 but was in reality 21. Which is why Anthony Newley cast her in his 1969 released film “Can Heironymus Merkin Ever Forget Mercy Humppe and Find True Happiness?” Connie plays Mercy, Anthony is Heironymus and his wife Joan Collins plays his wife in the film named Polyester Poontang. It was pretty much a flop and skewered by the critics.
Connie Kreski had gone to London and dated Hefner’s partner and close friend at Playboy: Victor Lownes. Lownes was head of the Playboy Club and casino in London during the Swinging Sixties.
Famously, Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate were married at the London Playboy Club in 1968; they were all friends.
Connie and Victor are seen together with many mourners on youtube film footage of Sharon Tate’s funeral.
Victor Lownes is the person seen in a famous photo holding up a collapsing Roman Polanski at Sharon Tate’s funeral.
Connie has about 10 TV and film appearances after “Hieronymus.”
She appeared as a guest on the Merv Griffin and Joey Bishop talk shows.
She go-go danced on Laugh-In, was introduced on Playboy After Dark TV show by Hugh Hefner as “Connie Kreski, our Playmate of the Year.” Connie does not say one damn word the entire show.
Connie made several visible but non-speaking appearances on Playboy After Dark. Anthony Newley appeared on the show at least once and was known to hang around Mansion West.
Kreski’s newspaper press indicates she was signed to a 7 year contract with Universal Studios
Universal signed an extraordinary number of models, beauty contest winners and starlets in the 50s and 60s.
After a few years Connie’s contract with Universal was dropped which merited one sentence in a Hollywood gossip column.
Connie Kreski died of cirrhosis of the liver at age 48 in 1995.
What happened in her life that it ended this way? I am beginning my research to answer this question. Like Paige, Connie’s cause of death is incorrectly listed on the internet. It usually says “blocked Carortid artery, or cancer. I don’t know what cause of death is listed in “The Playmate Book,” on Connie’s entry, but I do know it does not say “Cirrhosis of the liver.”
Ridgid Tool Company became famous for its’ 2-year calendars featuring images of bikini-clad models holding various tools made by Ridgid. I’m guessing Ridge sent these calendars every year to clients who purchased their tools.
Paige appears in the 69/70 edition, cover below.
Many more models, starlets and Playboy Playmates were unnamed models in these Ridgid Tool calendars over the decades. One did go on to great fame: Raquel Welch.
From 1964 until 2002, Peter and Alice photographed models for the Ridgid Tool Calendar (Ridge Tool Company). Some of the models who appeared in those calendars include Raquel Welch, Stephanie Drake, Kathy McCullen, Cindy Margolis, and several Playboy Playmates, including Renee Tenison, Nikki Schieler, Barbara Moore, Heidi Sorensen and Penny Baker.from Michael at glamourphotographers.yolasite.com
Category: 1960s, 1970s, LA Locations, Playboy, PMOM, Popular Culture Tagged: 1969, 1970, 1970sLA, Alice Gowland, Anthony Newley, Cheesy, Connie Kreski, Constance Joanne Kornaki, Daily Mail December 2014, Elvis, Girlie Calendar, James Caan, Joey Bishop, Laugh In, London Playboy Club & Casino, Los Angeles History, Marilyn Cole, Mercy Montello, Mercy Rooney, Merv Griffin, Paige Young, Peter Gowland, Playboy After Dark, Playboy Calendar, Playboy magazine, Playboy Playmate, Playmate of the Year, Playmate of the Year 1969, PMOY, Ridge Tool Company Ohio, Ridgid Tool Calendar, Roman Polanski, Scott Caan, Sharon Tate, Sheila Ryan, Starlet, TV shows, Universal Studios, Victor Lownes, Vintage LA, Vintage Playboy Playmate
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. Photography team, married couple and contributors to Playboy since the 1950s, Peter and Alice Gowland were the photographers.
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 before their time. (See “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 promoting the TV show Playboy After Dark (PAD). And basically 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 topic of weight gain/loss for centerfold approval.
A trip to the Boston Auto Show was likely her first stop on the tour, Oct. 26-Nov. 2, 1968. It 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 reader Daniel.
More from Daniel:
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, 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 the lawyers fees owed to Marvin M. Mitchelson. Segal had made one payment to each in 1964 and that’s all.
By now Paige’s 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 definition
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!
This article (April 16, 1969) 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, all high schools near VNHS.
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, and that she only remembers her with the name Diana Cotterell.
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 wire service photos never mention Paige’s title of Playboy Playmate, but the local Lake Havasu City paper does.
Notice the references to Playboy “Bunny.”
Note 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 Paige and 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 the 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.
Please see chapter Richard Sample interview for more on Jonathan Winters and a possible connection to Paige Young.
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.
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
Last sentence of article reads: “safe to assume she knew she was on a fools errand. One might also assume that puts her one up on the man from Playboy.”
Article says Paige met Hefner only once briefly at a stop at the Chicago mansion.
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.
August of 1969, this photo appeared one week after the Tate/LaBianca murders in Paige’s hometown of Los Angeles.
Many people, mainly celebrities, around at the time, have talked about the impact the murders had on the residents of Los Angeles. The fear. The Manson murders probably affected the whole vibe of that city.
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”*
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 at 3400 Wilshire Blvd.
Category: 1960s, LA Locations, Playboy, PMOM Tagged: #Paige Young, 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, Playboy Playmate, 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
Posted on May 12, 2020
San Fernando Valley abbreviated SFV.
The newly released 1950 census gives us
more information about the LaRocca/Cotterell family unit: listed at a residence in Gardena. Joseph’s occupation, Radio Orchestra Manager, Virginia, Christian Science Practitioner, Donna has an empty box for occupation, Head of House granddaughters Constance S is listed as 7 years and Diana L as 5 years.
With this new information I now have to ask:
When did Diana and family leave Los Feliz? late 1940s?
How long did they live in Gardena?
And when did Diana and her family move to 13055 Moorpark St?
I first connected the family to 13055 Moorpark St. address by an online city building permit dated in Dec. of 1952.
This house was located on the west side of Studio City close to the eastern border with Sherman Oaks. Specifically, off of the intersection of Coldwater Canyon and Ventura Blvd.
The Los Angeles River is nearby as is Sportsman’s Lodge; a classic Hollywood and SFV landmark. Apparently you could fish there.
The family knew about the area for some time because Joseph’s only sister Kathryn Marinello, and her husband Anthony. opened a food store at 13251 Moorpark in 1947.
There is a 1947 City document I have been unable to download; indicating a “food store” at 13251 Moorpark St. The building was not owned by the Marinellos.
This 1950s image below the Hughes Market that stood on the intersection of Ventura Blvd. and Coldwater Canyon Blvd. I believe it is the southeast corner.
Meanwhile..Diana’s father Robert Morgan Cotterell also moved to the SFV around this time, but further west of his daughters and ex-wife. His current wife Patricia/Pat and their two children, born in 1950 and 1951, (while his first 2 daughters were in Gardena according to the 1950 census) start out in the Canoga Park/Winnetka area on Lurline Ave.
It’s the first of many moves for them around Los Angeles due to Bob Cotterell Sr.’s career at Douglas Aircraft.
It is unknown exactly why the The LaRocca/Cotterell family moved to the SFV, but we do know that they were part of a massive migration to the area after World War 2, from both inside and outside of Los Angeles.
“The end of WW2 transformed the Valley and vastly accelerated its growth: vast tracts of suburban housing, shopping centers and industrial parks where chicken ranches, orchards and cattle ranches and wheat fields once existed. The 1940s and 50s, when I was growing up, the Valley was full of movie cowboys, beautiful ranches and fine horses.”Jerry England at cowboyup.com
“In the five years after the war, the population (of SFV) more than doubled to 402,538 residents-the pastoral San Fernando Valley was suddenly the ninth-busiest urban area in the nation. Valley society was a mix of young suburbanites, older families who had come west to try their luck as engineers, animators, or pioneers in the new field of television, and ranchers trying to hang on in the face of the new hordes.”The San Fernando Valley: America’s Suburb by Kevin Roderick
I discovered that Ned LaRocca spent most of the 1950s working as an orchestra manager for composer/conductor Leith Stevens, through Ned’s death certificate.
I can confirm two Leith Stevens projects that have a credit as “contractor” for Ned LaRocca: A Doris Day album recorded in 1951 at 1032 Sycamore Street; a studio known at that time as “The Annex.” Found on youtube.
The website careerexplorer.com defines an orchestra contractor is: “He or she has the job of finding the appropriate musicians for Broadway shows, television episodes and commercials.”
Ned had experience adapting to a new mass medium, when his first industry Vaudeville, died in the early 1930s during the Great Depression.
One significant factor that changed the popularity of radio programming was the rise of TV in the 1950s. Drama and comedy and musical variety shows moved to TV.
In 1950, just under 20 percent of American homes contained a TV set. Ten years later, nearly 90 percent of homes contained a TV—and some even had color TVs. The number of TV stations, channels, and programs all grew to meet this surging demand.encyclopedia.com
Ned LaRocca also has a credit on Leith Stevens 1953 score to the Marlon Brando movie “The Wild One.”
This record was a hit; released by Decca records, it remains Leith Stevens most well-known and well-regarded creation. J. Ned LaRocca is credited as “Contractor” on the project. Per Discogs.com.
Besides composing and conducting “The Wild One” soundtrack, Leith Stevens composed numerous scores for radio shows, movies and T.V. from the 1930s until his death in 1970.
IMDB indicates that many of Stevens’ compositions go uncredited.
Category: 1950s, LA Locations, Popular Culture, Radio City, CBS, NBC, Robert Morgan Cotterell Tagged: #Gardena, 1032 Sycamore St., 1950 Census, 1950sLA, Defense Industry, Doris Day, Douglas Aircraft, Gardena, LA Recording Industry, Leith Stevens, Los Angeles History, Marlon Brando, Ned LaRocca Grandfather, Rise of TV, Robert Morgan Cotterell, SFV, Sherman Oaks, Stevens, Studio City, The Annex recording studio, The Wild One
Posted on May 6, 2020
Frank LaRocca, brother of Diana’s grandfather and defacto father Ned, was a violinist and music director in Decatur, Illinois.
1930 Ned and Virginia are listed in the census as living in Peoria, Ill. Ned a musician and Virginia a housewife.
Phone directories list a Frank LaRocca and wife Rose in Los Angeles. The couple resided at 2303 Gatewood.
Ned, his wife Virginia LaRocca and their 9-year-old daughter Donna, joined Frank and Rose in Los Angeles. The family moved into a house located at 2234 Shoredale Ave. located about two blocks away from Frank and Rose on Gatewood.
Ned and Virginia had performed their vaudeville acts in the Los Angeles area many times in the teens and 20s, so they had familiarity with the area.
(Per LA phone directories seen in the LAPL and voter registration ancestry.com)
This neighborhood is very close to Elysian Park, the LA River and Riverside Drive. This was well before “the 5” freeway was built.
Brothers Frank and Ned LaRocca are listed as “music teachers” in the LA phone directory in the mid–1930s.
1937: According to his death certificate, Frank is admitted to Methodist Hospital with peritonitis/perforated duodena. After one week in the hospital, Frank dies, having contracted pneumonia two day previous.
He is buried in his home town of Peoria, Illinois.
Frank’s find-a-grave page includes an obituary. It states that brother Ned LaRocca lives in LA and is a harpist in a Hollywood radio orchestra.
This sensational streamline moderne building was the new west coast headquarters of NBC radio and opened in 1938. Architect was John C. Austin. Austin was also architect of the Griffith Park Observatory along with Frederick M. Ashley.
The National Broadcasting Company originally used the phrase Radio City to describe their studios at Rockefeller Center in New York City. When NBC opened their new Hollywood studios at Sunset and Vine in 1938, they placed the words Radio City prominently on the front of their new building. However, the area between Hollywood Boulevard and Sunset Boulevard on Vine Street became known as Radio City for tourists and locals alike who visited the many radio studios and radio themed cocktail lounges and businesses in the area.radiocityhollywood.com
Veteran performing artist Ned LaRocca found a steady paycheck at both NBC and CBS as I discovered from this document found on ancestry.
The website radiocityhollywood.com describes vividly what must have been a fascinating “scene”overflowing with human activity, the many types of people who had a need or desire or both, to be there. From Radio City employees, to ticket holders to tourists from near and far, toThe radio industry in Los Angeles, and the world I imagine, was at its’ zenith in late 30s-1940s. This era was short lived. Television would soon replace radio as the mass entertainment medium of choice. (1950s)
The National Broadcasting Company, after moving from New York to San Francisco, opened its’ new Moderne studios at the intersection of Sunset and Vine in Hollywood, California.
A block away, the Columbia Broadcasting System opened it’s new modern studios at Columbia Square. Across the street, on December 26, Earl Carroll opened his premier nightclub and restaurant, with the glamorous neon sign proclaiming, “Through these portals pass the most beautiful girls in the world.”
The Hollywood Palladium opened two years later between NBC and CBS, with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, featuring band singer Frank Sinatra. Across Vine Street, on the northwest corner of Sunset and Vine, sat Music City and Capitol Records, operated by bothers Glenn and Clyde Wallich.radiocityhollywood.com
CBS radio aka “Columbia Square” opens just down the street from NBC. Also opened in 1938.
It’s the new home to KNX Radio, where Ned LaRocca performed.
Film-noirish look at Sunset & Vine. NBC on the right. 1940s. Capitol Records on the left, before the iconic new location was built at 1750 Vine St. by Welton Becket and Assoc. (Opened in 1956) found this on the internet.
The American Broadcasting Corporation set up shop a few doors north on Vine Street. Up the street was the Radio Room, Club Morocco, Mike Lyman’s and the famous Tom Breneman’s Breakfast in Hollywood restaurant. Even further up Vine, just before Hollywood Boulevard, Clara Bow operated her restaurant, the It Cafe. Across the street, south of the Boulevard, was the world famous Vine Street Brown Derby, more restaurants and bars, and at Selma Avenue, the RCA building. Further south, at the end of the block, at the intersection of Vine Street and Sunset Boulevard stood the radio flagship studio, NBC Radio City.
It was a glorious year, 1938, for Hollywood and for radio. And, while NBC called their new studios Radio City, the entire area became famous across America and around the world.Radio City Hollywood website.
1940s. Tom Breneman broadcast his popular show “Breakfast In Hollywood” from his restaurant on Vine off Sunset Blvd. I’ve listened to a few radio broadcasts and Breneman asks many audience members”where are you from?” It seems like the are a combination of locals and out of town visitors.
Ned LaRocca continued to work at NBC and CBS throughout the 1940s and made an important contact with Leith Stevens, conductor and composer.
The information about Jane Harker that you see on websites like imdb is incorrect. I’m attempting to correct it.
I have a lot of material collected about Jane Harker if anyone would like to collaborate on this project contact me.
. Jane Harker was the daughter of Josephine and George Truman Harker and a first cousin to Donna LaRocca, Diana/Paige’s mother. I write more about them in Family History chapter Part #1.
Category: 1940s, LA Locations, Popular Culture, Radio City, CBS, NBC Tagged: 1940s LA, Brown Derby, Columbia Square, Don Lee Mutual Broadcast System, Eleanor Parker, Errol Flynn, Hollywood Blvd., imdb, Jane Harker, John C. Austin, Joseph Ned LaRocca, KNX, LA architecture, LA History, LA Noir, Los Angeles History, Mary Jane Harker, NBC\CBS, pin-up models, pinup photography, Radio City, Radio City Hollywood, Radio Room Bar, Radio Row, Radio Row LA, Radio Shows, radiocityhollywood.com, Raul Morena, RCA, Starlet, Sunset & Vine, Tom Breneman, Warner Bros.
Posted on May 2, 2020
Census records, military records and local directories show that Joseph Ned LaRocca (Diana/Paige’s grandfather) was born in 1894 in Peoria, Illinois and grew up there.
Known as “Ned,” he was a harpist in a family of several brothers, oldest brother Roxy show above and below. The brothers were all musicians and many of them toured with the major vaudeville circuits like Orpheum and Pantages.
Ned began touring in vaudeville about age 14.
The LaRocca brothers supported their widowed mother in Peoria, after their professional musician-harpist father, Salvatore LaRocca, died at around age 40.
Salvatore LaRocca, was from Italy and settled in Chicago before raising a family in Peoria with Rose Ann, born Dunufrio. The couple moved to Peoria when Salvatore was offered the leadership of a local Italian band.
The oldest brother Roxy, became a “famous-at-the-time” vaudeville harpist, known affectionately as the “Wizard of the Harp.”
I read literally of dozens of articles from the era about Roxy’s talent on the harp and his many performances. Here is just one example from 1925.
Joseph Ned LaRocca, Diana Cotterell’s grandfather and younger brother of Roxy, often used the professional name Ned Argo or just plain Argo, for his harp act. The ad below from 1925, performing for broadcast radio.
RCA corp. did a study in 1925 and found that 19% of homes had a radio. In 1930, it was 40%. Vaudeville was beginning to slide as a mass-media entertainment form. “Moving pictures” continued to be a reason for the lessening popularity of vaudeville. Ned was to have a future in performing for radio broadcasts in Los Angeles.
Ned’s wife, Virginia Young was born in 1898 in Salt Lake City, was also a vaudeville performer. Her grandfather was Brigham Young and grandmother one of his many wives: Emily Partridge Young. If you google Emily Partridge Young, you will see she and her sister Eliza hold an interesting place in Mormon history as two of Joseph Smith’s first “plural wives.” Virginia, seen at right, met Ned LaRocca on a Pantages tour where Virginia and her sister Josephine were performing in “The Wrong Bird,” a very successful Utah production that toured North America. I have saved dozens of articles on Virginia Young and her sister Josephine. They toured together in The Wrong Bird and eventually had their own act with Virginia’s husband Ned Argo LaRocca. I hope to post some of these articles soon. These folks had a minor kind of fame in vaudeville.
The married couple form a vaudeville act and tour the US in the late teens and most, if not all, of the 1920s. Ned continues to use the name Ned Argo or Argo.
Sometimes Virginia’s sister and fellow vaudeville performer Josephine, is part of the act. The girls went by the name “The Virginia Sisters” as seen in the ad from The Daily Oklahoman Oct. 25 1919.
(When this was published, Josephine had already been married one month to San Francisco businessman George Truman Harker)
1920 approx. Josephine quit touring with her sister and brother-in-law and moved to San Francisco with her husband George Truman Harker. The couple had a son, Jack Truman Harker in 1921, and a daughter, Mary Jane, in 1923 .
Josephine married George Truman Harker a year after her sister married Joseph Ned LaRocca. The marriage ceremony of Josephine and George took place backstage at LA’s Pantages theatre.
Ned and Virginia continued to tour vaudeville throughout the 1920s.
In the 1940s, Mary Jane Harker was known as Jane Harker, Warner Brothers starlet. Harker had small parts in movies with stars such as Joan Crawford, Ann Sheridan, John Garfield, Jack Carson, Errol Flynn, Eleanor Parker and more.
I will be working on a video about Mary Jane Harker soon. She is misidentified on the internet.
In the mid 1920s, The Harker family moved to South Pasadena, an affluent area then as now.
After Vaudeville died out in the early 1930s, the Great Depression was already in full swing.
Roxy LaRocca retired about this time to the LaRocca family hometown of Peoria, Illinois, where he started a magazine stand.
Frank and Rose, Ned and Virginia, moved to LA during the Depression early/mid 1930s.
Please see my next chapter Family History #2 for their history in the 1920s, move to Los Angeles in the 1930s, Radio City from 1938 through the 1940s and more on Jane Harker, model/starlet, who worked with some of Hollywood’s biggest stars. She appears in an obscure Noir film: The Unfaithful with Ann Sheridan and footage of Angels Flight. This film has been shown on TCM a few times. imdb has Harker’s filmography correct, but the biographical information described is someone else. A “Jane Ellen Harker” for starters. It’s wrong.
Category: 1940s, LA Locations, Peoria, Illinois, Radio City, CBS, NBC Tagged: #Dick Whittington, 1940s LA, Angels Flight, Ann Sheridan, Avon Theater, Dick Whittington Phographer, Elysian Park, Frank LaRocca, George Truman Harker, Harp, Harpist, Illinois, Jane Harker, Josephine Harker, Josephine Young, KNX, LA History, LA Noir, Los Angeles architecture, Los Angeles History, Mary Jane Harker, NBC, NBC\CBS, Ned Argo, Ned LaRocca Grandfather, Pantages, Peoria, Radio City, Radio Shows, Roxy LaRocca, South Pasadena, Starlet Warner Brothers, Studio 1 CBS, Vaudeville, Virginia LaRocca, Virginia Young, Warner Brothers