1960-1964. Paige Young “Miss Panorama City.” Robinson’s of the Valley. Childhood Home Razed.

1960-1961  I have not been able to locate where Diana/Paige was living at these years.

However, I do find some clues in a SFV phone directory where there is a Virginia Young LaRocca, (widowed in 1959) listed at 13204 Riverside Drive. A 6-plex (at that time) on the corner with Atoll Ave.   Diana could have lived here with her grandmother, as she was only 16 years old in 1960.

Josephine Young Harker, Virginia’s sister and Diana’s great aunt, is also listed with this address in a 1960 LA phone directory.

It’s also the address on Ned LaRocca’s death cert. 1959.

Diana’s mother Donna and stepfather Jack Holroyd, are listed at 12835 1/2 Oxford Ave., very near Grant High School in 1960, 61 and 62. Diana could have lived here as well.

12385 Oxford Ave. Van Nuys

Panorama City

From the Van Nuys News and Green Sheet., Feb. 6, 1962 There were big plans for the city of Panorama City at this time. It was to be a retail mecca.
Van Nuys News and Valley Green Sheet. Feb. 6, 1962

Close up on page 2

Van Nuys News and Valley Green Sheet Feb. 6, 1962 Entire article bottom of page.

This was Robinson’s first store in the SFV and it opened June 27, 1961.

July 1961 LAT Where Paige would have worked if she worked in sales.

This is the earliest date I have found of Paige’s usage of the name Paige Young: 1962 when she was 18.

The latest date I have seen Paige associated with her birth name, Diana Cotterell, is her 9th grade picture listing in the Van Nuys Jr. High yearbook, 1957, age 15 or 16.

Quite a bit of evidence that Paige, Virginia, Donna and Jack moved to this booming city in the Valley around 1962.

1963 and 1964 Both Virginia LaRocca and Jack Holroyd are in the phone directory with an address of 8533 Ventura Canyon, Van Nuys.  This address is also listed as Panorama City.

Virginia LaRocca listed at 8533 Ventura Canyon “VN for Van Nuys” At this point living with Jack and Donna.

Here you can see Donna’s Husband Jack Holroyd (H is cut off) listed at 8533 Ventura Canyon Sherman Oaks, but it’s really Panorama City

Donna Holroyd is not listed these years, only her husband.

Donna may have started her studies at UCLA around this time majoring in Early Childhood Education.

It is probable that Grandmother Virginia Young LaRocca, mother Donna Holroyd and stepfather Jack Holroyd, were living at 8533 Ventura Canyon Ave at this time-1962. If Paige was living with them, it would have been a very short drive to her job (as stated in above article) at the Panorama City location of J.W. Robinson’s, a legendary LA department store.

The article above states Paige is an “accomplished equestrienne,” and a model.

It is probably the only one I’ve read that doesn’t mention her devotion to oil painting.

I’ve seen dozens of newspaper photos accompanied with brief write-ups of model/starlets, beauty contest winners and runners up, from the 50s and 60s. Almost always it includes where the young women attended high school. Many times, they were still in high school. Note that in this write-up of Paige, no high school is mentioned. She has a “background in modelling and drama.”

In 1969 interviews, Paige told reporters she graduated from Van Nuys High School. I have found no school photos of Paige at VNHS. (see 1969: Most Public Year)

I’m really thinking now that Paige dropped out of high school after the 9th or 10th grade.

Paige would be married in Las Vegas 1 1/2 years (Oct. 1, 1963) after this article appeared. The marriage lasted for 11 months (Aug 27, 1964).

In 1964, Paige filled out a divorce questionnaire ( below) stating that she had moved out of the marital home and was “living with family”. Family would have been living at 8533 Ventura Canyon Ave. according to phone listings. Her answer to employment record says clerical-secretary.

Paige says clerical-secretary here–Was this at Robinson’s in the Valley or was she a salesgirl there? Unclear.

Some of Paige’s quotes from Playboy are about disliking the “9-5 doldrums” and her distaste “working for impersonal corporations.”

See chapter on Marriage and Divorce to Mark F. Segal 1963-1964.

 Meanwhile

by 1963, Diana’s childhood home on Moorpark had been razed.  Records show a city permit (below) requesting a 6-unit apartment to be built. Notice it says NONE (highlighted) for “existing buildings on lot.” I’m not sure when the house was actually torn down.

Did a developer make the LaRoccas an offer for the Moorpark house back in the late 50s when Ned was sick with lung cancer? Many older houses were now being razed for multi-unit housing to meet demand for higher density populations. If you can call a 6-plex multi-housing.

Nearby Ventura Blvd. continued to thrive with many businesses of all kinds.

 SFV continued to experience massive population growth and housing development throughout the 1960s and beyond.

 

Context: Photographer Peter Gowland and 1950s Pinup. Paige Young. Playboy. Under Construction.

Peter Gowland

Accompanying book to an exhibit in Germany by curator Thomas Shirmbock, a few years ago. Model is Venetia Stevenson aka Mrs. Russ Tamblyn.
San Francisco Examiner Aug. 18. 1957

1963-1965

It was around this time I think, Paige meets and models for famous photographer Peter Gowland.

By this time, Peter and Alice Gowland had already enjoyed a thriving photography business for over a decade. This includes many Playboy Playmates.

Richard Sample confirmed what I had suspected, that Paige had known and modeled for Gowland already several years before her Playboy centerfold issue, November of 1968. See chapter on Richard Sample interview.

In the 1950s:

The Gowlands were part of a larger group of mainly male glamour/pinup photographers, based in the LA area. Chapter coming soon.

From the book “Gowland’s Girls”
Petaluma newspaper July 25, 1957

The Gowlands were not unique in their husband and wife photography partnership: Another husband and wife photography team who also produced Playmate features: Bill and Melba Figge, based in Glendale.

The Figges were very busy with their wedding photography business, (500 per year) while living family life with four children.

They spotted or (scouted) many Playmates at weddings gigs, including Lisa Baker from Texas, Playmate of the Year, 1967. Lisa Baker and Paige would appear together in April of 1969 at a Fresno mall to sign autographs.

The two Playmates both supposedly appeared on the Jonathan Winters Show, probably as background decor. I’ve never found an actual credit for Paige or Lisa on the show.

Back to the 1950s: The “pin-up model” had been made into a mass media icon associated with patriotism during world war 2. She was evolving and keeping her mainstream status. This time coincided with advances in photography; cameras, lighting and other technology and increasing appeal as a popular hobby for the “average joe.”

glamourphotographers.yolasite.comsite.com Please checkout this website for an in-depth discussion of the Gowlands and other photographers from the classic era of postwar glamour/pinup photography.

Peter Gowland himself was often featured in magazines for amateur photographers, he not only built his own outdoor sets by hand at his Rustic Canyon home, he invented a large format 4×5 camera he named the Gowlandflex. Throughout the 50s and 60s,

Peter and Alice were at the forefront of the genre and the business and the technical side with Peter’s handbuilt sets and Gowlandflex camera.

Their specialty was selling these photos for use in different types of men’s magazines,  girlie calendars, mainstream commercial work and many photography instructional books.

Alice Gowland goes over a contract with model/starlet Mara Corday.

TV starlet Saundra Edwards is mentioned in the above article as a Gowland favorite model. She had several bit parts and uncredited appearances on TV and movies including Hawaiian Eye, 77 Sunset Strip, Maverick, Cheyenne and Troy Donahue starring movie Parrish.

Saundra was a Playmate for March 1957; photography by the Gowlands.

Popular cover girl and early Playboy Playmate Saundra Edwards.

Saundra killed her husband, actor Tom Gilson, in self-defense when he drunkenly approached Saundra during a separation, demanding to see his son. This happened in Oct. of 1962 in Van Nuys. Below is one of many articles on the incident. Saundra was cleared of any wrongdoing.

Ogden Standard-Examiner Oct. 11, 1962

Saundra Edwards had two children by a previous marriage. She also had a contract with Warner Bros. that she broke. The story goes the studio wanted Sandra to place her kids in a boarding school while they developed her star potential. She refused.

Other notable models or stars who worked for the Gowlands were model and swimsuit designer Barbara Osterman, mid-century pop culture phenomenon  Vicki “The Back” Dougan, Julie Newmar (pre-Cat Woman) Tina Louise (pre-Gilligan’s Island) cult movie actress Edy Williams, starlets Yvette Mimeux and Venetia Stevenson, Jayne Mansfield, famous men’s magazine and nudist model Diane Webber. Rosemarie Bowe and her husband Robert Stack, Rock Hudson and R. J. Wagner.

Rose Marie Bowe was hired many times by the Gowlands during the late 1950s.. From How To Take a Glamour Photo 1957. She appeared in the Golden Mistress with John Agar in 1954, The View From Pompey’s Head in 1955. In the 1960’s she appeared on Burke’s Law and several other TV shows. She married Robert Stack in 1956 and became a prominent Hollywood wife.

The Gowlands had a lucrative revenue stream with dozens of photography instruction manuals from the 50s through the 80s at least. Some were magazine format and others hardback books. 3 examples of magazine format below

1961 Meiling Gordon cover model
Interest in Figure or Artistic nude photography grew in the 1950s culture as did photography as a hobby for the masses. This edition is from 1961. Cover model is Colleen Whitman.

Many of these instruction manuals pushed boundaries for nudity (topless) standards or simulation or implied nudity, (naked back turned toward the camera, almost see-through garments etc.) for the times.

Alice Gowland wrote these books which include detailed instructions on lighting, camera settings, set design and construction, on location shooting and scouting, interviewing and signing contracts with models.

1969 No credit for cover model

Peter Gowland did publish photos with obvious frontal nudity in a small number of instructional books. (Later, Alice Gowland would say one reason they left Playboy, was the appearance of pubic hair in the early 70s.) Mainly though, it was swimsuit and beach attire.

FAME

Peter Gowland is well-known (Alice less so) for contributing to the Playboy Magazine Playmate feature in the 50s and 60s.

Most fans know Paige Young was the last of the Gowland’s Playmates with her feature in November of 1968.

Peter Gowland has a type of fame, both then and now, but not one that is mass fame. He has more of a cult status.

However, Gowland was more mainstream in the 50s and 60s when non-nude pinup models were used in a myriad of ways in mass media culture.

Pageant was not a “girlie magazine” but like many mainstream magazines in a flourishing 1950s publishing market, a pinup girl was on the cover. Model is Venetia Stevenson.

Part of the phenomena of the pinup cover model is the plethora of beauty contests, beauty contest winners and corresponding media coverage.

Southern California was a hub for all kinds of beauty contests and displays of physicality; for example the Venice Beach “muscle” scene also feature female beauty contests.

Lita Baron aka Mrs. Rory Calhoun and a commercial model, has a several page layout in Pageant magazine credited to Peter Gowland. Late 1950s.

This article was published around the time Paige met Peter and Alice Gowland.