1974 #1. Death Cert. Witness. “Sex Tapes.” Cremation. Ocean burial. Secrets of Playboy. Questions remain. Updated 1/24/23

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

April 7th 1974 is a Palm Sunday and on that day, Paige commits suicide with a gunshot to her head, the location was her residence, pictured below.

Paige's garage apartment in WESTWOOD.
From a real estate listing several years ago. An apartment built over a garage in 1941.

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’s neighbor.

“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.”

Why did Paige Young “blame” Hugh Hefner for her decision to commit suicide? Along with the others mentioned in her suicide note.

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

and says she was told by Paige Young that a member of Hefner’s entourage filmed and owned the tape of 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, and other men, like a Cadillac or Picasso painting might.

The docu-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 shows an interview with former head of Playmate Promotions Miki Garcia reading her personal notes about actor Tony Curtis. Curtis and his lawyers were quite upset about Tony’s appearance in sex tapes filmed at the mansion.

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.

There are also reports of Hefner ordering the tapes and films destroyed before his death, by sinking them in the ocean.

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.”

Allegedly, Hefner had become fearful after friend and frequent Playboy model Pamela Anderson had her (and husband Tommy Lee’s) sex tapes stolen and released to the public.

What happened to Hefner’s collection of sex tapes?

Article From Page Six Nov. 23, 2018

“Hugh Hefner dumped a casket full of his private sex tapes into the sea before he passed away, insiders have revealed.

The Playboy founder chucked his collection of sex tapes into the Pacific ocean because he feared that his most famous and secret conquests would be exposed, sources told The Sun.

It comes as the Playboy founder’s most personal belongings are being auctioned off later this month.

But while his signature pipe, dressing gowns and other items are currently on show to the public before they go under the hammer, paranoid Hefner made sure his dirtiest secrets would never be found.

The veteran Hollywood lothario, who passed away in 2017 at the age of 91, gathered up his entire hidden collection of tapes, X-rated photos and even intimate notes from superstars.

He then threw them all in a specially-made casket lined with cement and had his aides dump them in the sea.

Hefner’s trusted head of security at the Playboy Mansion Joe Piastro – who died in 2011 – is believed to have overseen the burial.

“Hugh was terrified of the world finding out everything about his past,” a source revealed. “He had kept a treasure chest of memories of his life with all these beautiful women dating back from the 1950s to the mid-1990s.”

“He only shared a few of the stories with his aides, but kept his personal items of his time with many famous beauties a secret.

“There was a batch of tapes, shot on 8 mm and cinefilm, which were filmed during some of the orgies he enjoyed in the 70s.

“Some famous male movie stars too were in those videos and had that come out it would have been a huge scandal.

“Hef also had thousands of photographs taken at photo shoots or given to him by the girls over the years.

“Marilyn [Monroe] was definitely in them as well as many superstars who graced the pages of his magazine.

“Some of the women were in relationships and others never even made the magazine, but simply were partying with him.

“He had hundreds of other photographs of women who were not famous, but he had enjoyed one nights stands with or even short relationships. There were also audio tapes too.

“In the 1990s, he had concerns about these personal items being stolen and sold around the world … it filled him with dread.

“What actually sparked his concern was when Pamela had her tape with Brett Michaels aired and then Tommy Lee.

“He got so upset and paranoid that he decided it was best to have them disappear. He didn’t trust people to burn them in case they got stolen, so he charged Joe with getting rid of them in the ocean.

“Joe had been his trusted head of security for years and had saved Hugh from many embarrassing situations in the past.

“So he decided that Joe should go out in the middle of the ocean with the cask and dump it all.

“Hugh explained that he didn’t want anyone’s lives, marriages or careers to be destroyed by what he had In his library. Joe did it and never told anyone.”

Hefner decided to take action in the late 90s as parties at the Playboy mansion were becoming wilder.

“The parties at the mansion were becoming grander affairs and it was difficult to control where guests were going,” the source added.

“He was terrified that some of this material would be stolen and the leaked out.

“After what [Anderson] had told him, he was certain that this material was best lost rather than locked away.

“He even worried that if anything happened to him it could get in the wrongs hands and hurt those who were still alive.”

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

I am going to conclude that Paige Young’s case is an early example of what became known as “sex tape scandals,” although it was one that never went public. It seems to have remained firmly swept under the rug by people at Playboy, at the time that it happened and subsequent decades.

I was told by an individual working on the documentary that there was a “female fixer” working for Playboy/Hef in Los Angeles in the early 1970s.

And Paige’s suicide and notes left implicating Hefner and his friends, presented a problem that needed to be fixed.

April of 1974 was certainly not a good time for bad publicity to be attached to Hefner as Bobbie Arnstein, his loyal and troubled Chicago secretary, had been arrested for drugs in front of the Chicago Playboy Mansion, only two weeks previous to Paige’s suicide.

Hugh Hefner was spending time more often in Los Angele by 1974 and Bobbie felt a little left out. She was supposed relocate on the west coast and continue to be Hefner’s secretary, from all accounts he was dependent on her assistance.

After Bobbie’s suicide in 1975, is always cited as finalizing Hugh Hefner’s move to the mansion in Holmby Hills found by “constant companion” Barbi Benton.

Paige’s home in Westwood was 10 minutes by car to the Holmby Hills location of the Playboy Mansion. The local police were friendly with Hef and welcomed at the mansion as several former employees said in Secrets of Playboy.

Mother Mrs. Donna Holroyd signature.

Math figures show Paige’s age on mortuary paperwork.

Santa Monica Beach Fall 2022