PART 2: Richard Sample Interview

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

Richard shows me this photo of him painting with Paige’s portrait of him hanging prominently. It hangs along with some kind of a Paige Playboy plaque. Mid to late 1960s Malibu or Venice.

To open our interview, I promised Richard on our 2nd day we would end after one hour. It 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.

Malibu Friends:

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

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

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

I had never heard of Don Dwiggins and neither have most people It turns out he was a longtime LA reporter, prolific author, pilot, stunt pilot and aviation historian. And a man of numerous hobbies apparently.

Dwiggins lived in Malibu for decades where he was a legend. 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 who spotted Huston and Hefner playing backgammon, probably at Pips and possibly Paige Young.

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.

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

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

Richard brought up Hugh Hefner.

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

Richard Sample

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

Yes, he nodded 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. Richard expressed to me and reporter Ryan Parry that he had a distaste for Hefner and “that crowd.” And he let that be known to Paige.

In my opinion, Paige took this into consideration when sharing things about Hefner and “that crowd.” She avoided telling Richard about it. I think she must have been very distressed to share these particular incidents.

Paige personality:

Did Paige have an opinion about the Vietnam war?

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

Did she attend any anti-war demonstrations?

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

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

Several minutes long pause.

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

“Teddy, brother of President John Kennedy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 7th 1974 is a Palm Sunday.

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

Paige's garage apartment in WESTWOOD.

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

Below is the account neighbor Melanie gave to reporter Ryan Parry of the Daily Mail.

“She was terrified of it coming out, in that day you knew your career was going to be over once it got ‘round.”

“For weeks all she could think about was getting hold of that tape, she thought it was going to ruin her.”

Melanie

“Paige had the whole thing planned down to the last detail…  It was Palm Sunday and she came to tell me she was going to kill herself. She stayed in the back of the house where we (B.J.) lived and I was at the bathroom window. She comes up to the window and calls out to me “I want to show you something.” I couldn’t be bothered by any more of her drama. But she was like, “No, you’ve gotta come and see it.” So I go to her apartment and she gave me a guided tour …of her suicide scene in her bedroom….It was chilling..there was a large American flag draped across her bed and there was a pentagram laid out on the wooden floor…I remember her showing me around it because it was somehow important, but I didn’t know what it meant.”

But it was the bedroom was that shocked Myers the most.

“It was covered floor to ceiling with photos of Hugh Hefner, there were news clippings, magazine articles, everything you could think of. Written across it was something like “Hugh Hefner is the devil.” The whole wall was a shrine saying, ‘I hate Hugh Hefner,’ the crux of her anger was against him. That was the message she wanted to get across to me. She was pointing up at things, showing me around it.  She’s put a lot of work into this, it must have taken her days.

Myers said that Young then calmly explained that she planned to kill herself.

She produced a gun and put it into her mouth…lay back on her bed and said, ‘this is how I’m going to do it.’

“It was chilling. We were friends but not the best of friends, I was always bitching about her and her dog, so I was scared.  I thought maybe she could shoot me, you know, take me with her, it was all so weird.  I thought, I’ve got to get out of here.”

“Myers quickly retreated to her apartment and called the police. LAPD officers arrived soon afterwards and cordoned of the whole of Eastbourne Ave.”

Myers said, “The cops didn’t want to go in her apartment first, so they asked me to go check on her, so I did.”

“I walked into her apartment and they were behind me. I walked into her bedroom and she was lying dead on the bed. She had shot herself in the head as she told me she would. There was a huge mass of blood, her whole bed was soaked red, it was shocking. But she looked happy and very peaceful, she didn’t look in distress.” 

“The cops had Paige’s suicide note and read some of it to me…the whole thing was about her anger towards the men who she believed had chewed her up and spat her out.  The two men who got the most attention were Hugh Hefner and the director John Huston. I know she dated Huston for a while and had just gotten back from a trip to Ireland with him.”

Paige expressed anger to other Hollywood stars who had used her.

“I believe Paige was making a huge statement in a bid to get at the elite of Hollywood…She thought the story of her death would spark a big scandal, but it didn’t. Sadly no one cared.”

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

Melanie says she was told by Paige Young that a member of Hefner’s entourage filmed her in a sexual situation at the Playboy mansion. And she was very afraid of it “getting out.”

Below is a photo of the death certificate copy I obtained. A partial autopsy/police report copy is included in the Daily Mail story, but not the death certificate.

Reporter Ryan Parry of the Daily Mail discovered that Paige did not die of a drug overdose as is stated in “The Playmate Book” and several websites, but actually committed suicide from a gunshot wound to the head, per an autopsy report and death certificate as one can see.

On April 9 Price-Daniel Mortuary handles Paige’s death services. Her cremation takes place at Roosevelt Memorial Park in Gardena. Burial of her ashes to take place at sea near Santa Monica shoreline.

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

It is unknown how the false story of Paige overdosing on drugs started to be written and repeated on the internet so much that it became her “official” means of suicide.

Is the Playmate Book the original source? (the Playmate Book is a compendium of all the Playmates who have appeared in the magazine since the first issue in 1953, up to the date of publication. An update on the lives accompanies each woman’s entry. I’m guessing that the Playmate Book is updated and released every 5-10 years.)

Paige’s suicide appears to have never been reported in the Los Angeles media, in 1974 or since.

I haven’t found any death, obituary or memorial announcement.

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

This is one reason I was motivated to research more about Paige Young.

Back to 1974……..

What about this alleged sex tape? Was Hugh Hefner or those close to him involved somehow?

A well known part of Hefner’s biography is that he was fascinated by audio and video technology.

He collected home video, film cameras and cutting edge stereo equipment before they were available to the mass consumer.

In the early decades of the magazine, Playboy magazine often featured a “bachelor pad” decked out with the finest stereo equipment and other electronic gadgets, sure to impress the ladies, like a Cadillac or Picasso painting might.

The A&E series Secrets of Playboy has revealed accounts of sex being filmed by Hugh Hefner at his mansion in Holmby Hills. See accounts by Sondra Theodore and Stefan Tetenbaum in Episode 8.

There are reports of video tapes of sexual encounters over the decades, with some involving celebrities.

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

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

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

These stories of “sex tapes” go back to the Chicago Playboy mansion days: an ex-girlfriend of Hefner’s, with help from one of his secretaries, snuck in the mansion and retrieved “her” tape. This incident was told to Russell Miller, author of the book Bunny.

One of the clips from the Secrets of Playboy opening also shows a 1970s Hugh Hefner talking to reporters about all the “electronic equipment in the mansion,” including cameras and that “sometimes stuff happens in the bedroom.”

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

Lone surfer along Santa Monica shoreline at sunset. 2022

1970/1 Pasadena Art Museum With Warhol Wearing A Rudi Gernreich Dress. Artist DeWain Valentine. Venice Beach Studio. Update 10/22/22

Around May 15, 1970, A Paige Young appearance at the Pasadena Art Museum was recorded by LA gossip columnist Marvene Jones and her photographer.

The occasion was a gala for the new Andy Warhol exhibit.

Warhol himself makes an appearance, obviously a big deal.

From the Los Angeles Evening Citizen 5/16/1970

Column #2 of article Richard Sample told me Paige was always barefoot. (And frequently topless)
Paige’s date for the Warhol opening, Bill Gardner, is shown on the set of the Jonathan Winters Show 67-69 CBS. Paige Young said in interviews that she was an extra on the Jonathan Winters show and Playboy After Dark. Both shows were filmed at CBS Television City in Fairfax section of Los Angeles.

More on Paige’s date Bill Gardner.

William Louis Gardner

United States

William Louis Gardner was born in Minnesota and finished school there. He
joined the US Air Force and worked at the Pentagon in the Target Library of the world. Went on to the Pasadena Playhouse to learn television and movie making. He got a job with actress Marion Davies at her home. There He met a movie agent and started a career in Hollywood. William Louis Gardner has worked in Hollywood as the agent, personal secretary, PR advisor and manager for for Mickey Rooney, Jonathan Winters, Jill St.John, Bobby Van and director, John Huston. William Gardner is the author of two books, “Confessions of a Hollywood Agent,” and “The Games End.”

From Bill Gardner’s website.

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

LAT May 31, 1970 Emerging artist and friend and studio mate of Paige’s and Richard Sample’s, DeWain Valentine was also showing at the Warhol exhibit.

Marvene Jones also says that Mr. and Mrs. DeWain Valentine made up a foursome with Paige and Bill Gardner. Valentine had an exhibit of his large size cast polyester resin pieces at the Pasadena Art Museum, right along with an exhibit of Warhol’s use of repetitive images.

DeWain Valentine next to one of his large works of art. I think this is the Market Street studio.

DeWain Valentine was an on-fire rising artist in the 1960s Venice art scene.

He was a major player in the new “Light and Space” art movement, along with artists Larry Bell, Robert Irwin, Helen Pashgian, James Turrell, John McCracken, Fred Eversley, Doug Wheeler and more.

Many of these artists lived in Venice Beach due to the cheap rent.

A brief Background of the Art scene:

Before the Light and Space artists emerged, the Cool School or Ferus Gallery artists, had already established themselves beginning in the early 1950s. Many of them lived in Venice Beach, a dilapidated beach town dotted with oil rigs and and trash. The rent was cheap. They were far away from the New York City “Art Scene” so they felt free to explore and experiment.

The Ferus Group, of (mainly) men, 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 “Beatnik Scene” was also flourishing in Venice Beach throughout the 1950s and early 60s, creating a new pop-cultural icon: The beret wearing, cigarette smoking, poetry spouting Beatnik.

The Ferus Gallery gang famously interacted with Warhol during his well documented stay in Los Angeles in the early 1960s. Warhol drove with Taylor Mead? from NYC to LA.

Picture

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.

Ferusgallery.com

For much more detail on this art movement which established the Los Angeles art scene as one on par with New York City or Europe, see the documentary “The Cool School,” available on Netflix.

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: approx: 17 1/4x 17/4 x 7/8.

What Paige would have seen that night at the Pasadena Art Museum in 1970.

Richard Sample

told me that 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 several 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. She was referring to her neighbors and friends, Valentine, Bell and Irwin, not specifically 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.

Ellen also remembers much talk of someone named “Valentine.”

Richard Sample is listed with an address of 63 Market St. Venice, in a newspaper marriage announcement, 1968.

Venice Evening Vanguard. Aug. 21 1968

Ellen texted me a story: her Uncle Richard sublet the Venice 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 fellow famous artist neighbors/ friends, including Larry Bell and Robert Irwin, particularly the early years of the 1960s and 70s.

Brooklyn Rail 2019 found online.

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.

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

DeWayne Valentine spent a couple decades living and creating art in Hawaii as well.

Valentine passed away on February 2, 2022.

Here is how 62-68 Market St. looked in September of 2022. Sold by Valentine approx. 20 years ago.

From the Documentary “The Cool School.” Market St, where Valentine, Bell and Irwin had studios.

The first white building facade you see in this clip, is Valentine’s studio, where Paige and Sample lived and worked for a while in 68/69. The ocean can be seen from the location on Market St, just as Ellen and Richard Sample described it.